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1
1
Review by BScholl
Rated: ASR | (3.0)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

Opening sentences need a good action. Yours is only so so. Fell is too common of a verb. Try a bit more of an action verb. These describe the fall better -- I collapsed... I crumpled... I yawed and twisted to the ground.

Something like this:

Charlie's fist fell like a hammer upon my wispy frame. I crumpled to the ground upon impact. Instinct took over and I placed both hands over my head. My lips felt like oozing, red caterpillars, and I tasted the familiar faded iron of my own blood.

See how much I described the scene? You're right there with this guy.

Don't tell me (the reader) that you're bleeding. Describe it. Show it to me. Let me picture what you see as the writer.



"Wimp!"....

Here's another tell me instance. Something like this would give the reader a view of the scene and a great incite to what the character is feeling.

"Wimp!" He screamed as his Nike introduced itself to my ribs. The pain jabbed and pulsated through my body. I struggled to catch my next breath. My eyes welled with tears, but I held them back not wanting to give him the pleasure.

Loud noises assaulted me...

What loud noises? Describe them. Was it a jet? Screaming? An explosion?

Replace 'It took' to 'After'

Slowly standing up.. ADVERB.

You have a lot of adverbs. Words like slowly, suddently, luckily, shyly, nearly are all, as one reviewer of mine put it "lazy description", and should be avoided. Let the reader determine if it was slow or lucky. If you write the sentence well enough with great word choices, the adverbs become unnecessary. The reader will come to the conclusion that something was unexpectedly, fortunately, etc. A lot of time you can delete the adverbs and it often reads better too. Try it! You'll see. Search out all those -LY ending words.

"boys fighting and throwing punches, some were my friends and the others were not" Kind of like some rocks are rock and the others are not? Captain obvious!

"Stop. Please!" The girl...

You need to let the reader INTO the story. How did the girl cause the chaos? Stating it does little.

Tears sprung (Word choice?) from her eyes. ... imploring those around her to stop the violence. How so? Did she dance? Start prying people apart? Yell for help?

I stumbled towards...

I like stumbled. Great verb. You need to give the other boy a name. I'm sure our main character knows it. "the boy who had hit me" is just vague. So is Biology teacher. Give him/her a name. The character has to know it. Let us -- the reader -- know it too. Other staff members -- what were they doing? Tackling them? Putting handcuffs on them?


Passive verbs -- This piece contains many passive verbs. was, were, is, has, etc. are all passive. Replacing these with action verbs like: trembled, crashed, smeared, chuckled reveals the story so much more.


Verbs -- Action for the plot -- moves the story along. Keep me interested.


Detail -- sensory touch, see, hear, taste, smell... flavor to the story soup. Force me to see what your mind sees. Hear what your ears do.


Word choices -- emotion... pick that word that fits just OHHH.... so well. Slide it in there and steer that reader. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me angry.



I got through about 1/5th of the piece but I think I'll stop there. It needs much more description of what is happening and less telling me. SHOW me. I'm the reader -- I want to see what you see.



Plot (C) So far, there isn't a lot of compelling items. It's like any other story. Average but it could get interesting. Hard to tell with just one chapter.

Grammar & Spelling (B+) A few 'format' errors but overall it's quite solid.

Word Choices (C -) This is where you need to improve the most. Action verbs. Great adjectives. Get rid of adverbs. Choose the right words especially on 'Detail' above. Word choices give the piece emotion. Right now the reader feels little for the main character.


Character Development (C) It would help to know the thoughts of the character more.

Creativity (C) So far, quite average. A troubled teen who gets into a fight and has a less than stellar home life. Not new ground -- so far.

Overall (C) This is an average piece. It needs a serious dose of showing versus telling. Describe the events and actions.

Best Line: They sat on a rectangular table in the corner of the room. There was a TV, placed on their right side, that played Arabic music videos.

You can see this. Hear it too. There's what you need to insert into this story.



- ** Image ID #1516997 Unavailable **


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
2
2
Review of The Possum  
Review by BScholl
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

Opening Sentence: I'm always intrigued with opening sentences. This one is solid, but doesn't give the jolt or suddenness that someone would have if they were placed in this particular situation. I mean if I was driving and a large lump of something showed up in my headlights I'd be stomping on the brakes, swerving and/or screaming in the phone. The surroundings are missing too. Was this on a curve? Straight-away? Dark? Light? Raining? While the reader has to fill in a bit (and you want them to in many instances), don't depend on it. I read the whole story and I still don't quite know the setting fully. An alley? Nighttime? Not really sure, but putting as much description in the first paragraph or two really gets the reader IN the story.


Here's my rendition of the same paragraph only with more setting and descriptiveness.

I leaned forward. The glare of my dashboard lights reflected on my windshield and I squinted to see the darkened road before me. I pressed my cell phone tight against my ear while I heard Andy, my boyfriend, fiddle with his radio to find a good station. My anxiety eased somewhat as he followed me in his Grand Am. I scanned my dash to dim the lights when I glanced up and saw a black lump right in front of me! I sucked in a breath and stomped on the brakes while swerving to avoid it. My wheels missed it by a couple feet and I spun the steering wheel back and the car lurched back into my lane.

"What the hell wash that?"



Passive verbs -- This piece contains many passive verbs. was, were, is, has, etc. are all passive. Replacing these with action verbs like: trembled, crashed, smeared, chuckled reveals the story so much more.

To be aware of it is the main thing. I like to list the verbs in a piece. Here are your first ten verbs in the piece.

leaned
pressed
eased
saw
was
was
was
have passed
blurted
was

5 out of 10 are passive.... not good.


Verbs -- Action for the plot -- moves the story along. Keep me interested.
Detail -- sensory touch, see, hear, taste, smell... flavor to the story soup. Force me to see what your mind sees. Hear what your ears do.
Word choices -- emotion... pick that word that fits just OHHH.... so well. Slide it in there and steer that reader. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me angry.

"It was..." IMO is a terrible start to a sentence. It -- What is it? Was -- a passive verb. I don't have many hard and fast rules in writing, but starting a sentence with "It was..." is a NO. Why? Because often you can 'flip' that sentence, insert an action verb, and the reader will love it. It was... just lies there.


You don't have a lot of adverbs in the story but enough to mention. Words like earnestly, unexpectedly, likely, certainly, fortunately are all, as one reviewer of mine put it "lazy description", and should be avoided. Let the reader determine if it was unexpected or fortunate. If you write the sentence well enough with great word choices and descriptiveness, the adverbs become unnecessary. The reader will come to the conclusion that something was unexpectedly, fortunately, etc. A lot of time you can delete the adverbs and it often reads better too. Try it! You'll see. Search out all those -LY ending words.


Now let's get down to the nuts and bolts of the story itself.


"Oh my god...": I like to put thoughts into italics. You might try this.


"What": I'd put the swerved line first as that's what likely happened first.


"I'm going...": excitedly -- adverb. See above.


"No, Andy, please don't": Might be a bit more convincing with a !


"Dammit": echoing his sudden stop? How is cursing going to echo a car stopping? Word choice? Don't be wishy-washy on description -- make it a block. This sentence: I hated when he was right, but why he would never listen to me? doesn't make much sense.

Delete the "But he never got the chance." Don't tell us. SHOW us!

reword the "seemed to come from nowhere" line. The man arose and wheeled around fast as a cat. I could see the look of surprise on Andy's face when I saw the flash and heard the gunshot. The bullet ripped through Andy's chest.

I like the unforgiving pavement. Instead of fell how about crumpled?

I was froze...: Statue-like, I stood in the middle of the road.

I'll leave off there...



Plot (*Cool* Solid plot. I've read similar stories, but you must give it your own 'voice'

Grammar & Spelling (A) Well done. There were very few issues.

Word Choices (C) Not descriptive enough. Too many passive verbs.


Character Development (C -) Hard to do in such a short piece, but we really don't know anything about these characters. What is their history? How long have they been BF GF? Not even a physical description.

Creativity (C+) Again I've read similar. You must stamp it as your own.

Overall (C+) This piece needs to amp up the intensity! Be graphic in your descriptions. That's what makes it. ACTION verbs too. Fill it up. Stephen King is great at this.

Best Line: "...he slammed on his breaks, just short of where the man laid and I heard the silence which could only mean he’d hung up on me."



- ** Image ID #1516997 Unavailable **
3
3
Review by BScholl
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

Ruby took a two-pack of Excedrin off the shelf, tossed them to the back of her throat and swallowed hard. She made a fresh pot of coffee—extra strong, and poured herself a cup, two
sugars.


1) Opening paragraphs intrigue me which is why I almost always put them in my reviews. This one is a mix of showing and telling. Let's break it down.

2) The opening line is great. You really show this, but the second one is very much telling. SHOW me the actions of making the coffee. Don't just tell me it happened. For instance, "Ruby snagged a Folgers' Turkish blend coffee packet, dropped it into the maker and pressed 'Brew' She heard the familiar tap tap tapping of java flow into the pot. The aroma soothed her." I hope you see that scene.

3) I might offset the 'two sugars' with a dash for emphasis. Like so: She poured herself a cup -- two sugars. That's minor though.

Ruby dropped her head in her hands. The pain was excruciating. “Go fill the cigarette
case.”


4) Again a mix of showing and telling. The pain was excruciating is telling. You might rephrase like so: Her aching head throbbed to the beat of her palms.

Ruby went to the washroom, took a wet cloth to the back of her neck, leaned against the sink and momentarily closed her eyes. If only she could go home and go to bed.


5) Seems abrupt from the dialogue. I know she's 'ditching' Gary, but from the reader's standpoint this doesn't come across well.

6) You have a decent amount of adverbs. Words like earnestly, unexpectedly, likely, certainly, fortunately are all, as one reviewer of mine put it "lazy description", and should be avoided. Let the reader determine if it was unexpected or fortunate. If you write the sentence well enough with great word choices, the adverbs become unnecessary. The reader will come to the conclusion that something was unexpectedly, fortunately, etc. A lot of time you can delete the adverbs and it often reads better too. Try it! You'll see. Search out all those -LY ending words. The 'momentarily' for instance can be deleted. I think it's obvious this is a momentary reprieve from Gary's jabbering.

7) If only she could... This is telling. SHOW me what she's thinking. It can be simple like this: If only I could just -- go -- home. Not only do you show doing this, you deepen the character you've created -- drawing the reader in and keeping their attention. In other words, they can relate. A simple statement of 'If only she could...' doesn't do that. I hope you see what I'm saying.

8) Passive verbs -- This piece contains many passive verbs. was, were, is, has, etc. are all passive. Replacing these with action verbs like: trembled, crashed, smeared, chuckled reveals the story so much more.


Ruby checked her watch. Eleven o’clock. Gary was right. They hadn’t had but two
customers in the last hour. Besides, Gary was draining on her nerves.


9) SHOW me. Ruby glanced at her watch. Eleven O'Clock. Oh, God I can't take his jabbering! But he does have a point. We had two customers in the last hour. Do you see how different this is? The reader gets to 'get inside' Ruby's head. She is our window to this little world.

Gary disappeared into the men’s room. She smiled, thinking to herself, Granny’s
probably ‘preciating’ his manly stream this very minute from her throne on high. She shook thethought from her head with a shudder and groaned to herself, “I need to get a life.”


10) Put the thoughts in italics. I love the shook the thought from her head with a shudder line. Excellent showing there.

11) It was good advice... It was the tall one... It was hers. It was the same SUV...

"It was..." IMO is a terrible start to a sentence. It -- What is it? Was -- a passive verb. I don't have many hard and fast rules in writing, but starting a sentence with "It was..." is a NO. Why? Because often you can 'flip' that sentence, insert an action verb, and the reader will love it. It was... just lies there. For example: 'It was good advice and she intended to take it' could become 'Ruby prided herself on being independent, but Shirley's words rang in her head -- she intended to heed them.


From the back room where she was gathering packs of Marlboro’s a vehicle pull into the parking lot. Big & Rich were belting Save a Horse; Ride a Cowboy” on the radio. Her head throbbed again in pain. A youth staggered out of a Mercades-Benze Suv and vomited all over the front of himself.

12) Best showing passage! Look at the word choices here! Gather, Marlboros, (I think you meant pullED), Big & Rich, belting, throbbed, staggered, vomited. Great action verbs! Nice detail. Needs a bit of work on the passive verb conjugations, but nice choices and you can really see and feel and hear what's happening. Nice.

She glanced at the clock. Twelve-ten. Shirley was late for her shift and she found herself yearning for Gary’s presence.

The tall youth turned from Ruby and yelled, “Come on boys, the beer’s on me.”

“You got some ID cause we don’t sell to minors.”

“Did ya hear that, fella’s? She don’t sell to minors. Yes, I do indeed. I do have an ID.”


13) Fella's should be fellas. No possessive here so no apostrophe needed.

14) Twelve-ten would be better as thought. (Italics)

15) The 'Shirley was late'... sentence is all telling. SHOW me. This is a great 'use thought' moment here.

A mangy stray she called “Jake” came up behind her. “Hey, Jake ol boy, where ya been? Haven’t seen you in a while.” She gave him a friendly scratch behind the ears rubbing the scabs left by ticks, fleas and old wounds that comes from being a confirmed street-dog. “Good to see ya boy.”

He perked his ears at her touch, showing off fringes of hair that stood straight up then
drooped over like silver droplets on a spider’s web. He swallowed a piece of jerky whole. “If you’d learn to chew your food, you might enjoy it more,” she told him with a pat on the rump. Jake pressed his wet nose into the palm of her hand.


16) Putting dialogue inside a paragraph is tough to do effectively. Break the dialogue onto separate lines. It makes it easier to read and prevents 'blocks' of writing that readers usually avoid.

17) We have a story incongruity here. She put the jerky in her pocket and now the dog eats it?

18) I like the images you portray here. 'like silver droplets' 'pressed his wet nose into the palm of her hand'. Well done.

19) You need to watch your verb tenses throughout. You switch to present tense several times. Example, 'Picking up an old trashcan, she threw it at the vehicle, hoping...' Two present and one past tense. Most of the piece is in past tense. Just keep it there.


You have a solid piece here, but it needs a lot of work to show more than tell. I certainly hope that I've been helpful in that goal.



Verbs -- Action for the plot -- moves the story along. Keep me interested.

Detail -- sensory touch, see, hear, taste, smell... flavor to the story soup. Force me to see what your mind sees. Hear what your ears do. Use all the senses. It's what makes good authors, great.

Word choices -- emotion... pick that word that fits just OHHH.... so well. Slide it in there and steer that reader. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me angry.


Keep writing and good luck in the contest.


Review submitted as part of the
Small Contest logo



- Image #1516997 over display limit. -?-
4
4
Review of I Am The Unknown  
Review by BScholl
In affiliation with Rising Stars of WdC  
Rated: E | (3.5)
First let me say that I review only to be helpful. Please understand that I'm doing this to let you see what the reader sees. I am always much more grateful for reviewers that are perfectly honest with me. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:


Plot (C): Not every poem has a plot, but this one needs one and in my opinion is the weakness of this particular piece -- it is too vague as to what is being done. Who is this person? An angel? A ghost?

Structure (B +): I like the structure. Very nice with the "almost" repetition in the first and last lines.

Flow (B -): Decent flow, but rather vague as stated. Nebulous.

Grammar and Spelling (A): Well done here.

Word Choices (C): Not a lot of action words. The verbs used in particular don't provide that level of interest in your reader. For instance, your first five verbs are: walked, would, have, worry, can. Notice these are very passive. Walked could be sauntered, strolled, ambled for example. Add more image in the reader's mind.

Originality/Creativity (A): Love the creative aspect! Just needs some direction/plot and some spicier descriptions.
5
5
Review of Moving On  
Review by BScholl
In affiliation with Rising Stars of WdC  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

Strange, but I have a short story named exactly the same "Moving On". Totally different though.

Not a good first sentence. Way too non-descriptive. "sat at home" "relaxing" Perhaps: Jim eased down into his leather recliner. The coolness felt great through his light blue dress shirt. Several completed tasks from the long work day still flowed through his mind -- fixing the copier, writing that report on the company's newest radio, and submitting a draft itinerary to his boss.


Passive verbs -- This piece contains many passive verbs. was, were, is, has, etc. are all passive. Replacing these with actions verbs like: trembled, crashed, smeared, chuckled reveals the story so much more.

Verbs -- Action for the plot -- moves the story along. Keep me interested.
Detail -- sensory touch, see, hear, taste, smell... flavor to the story soup. Force me to see what your mind sees. Hear what your ears do.
Word choices -- emotion... pick that word that fits just OHHH.... so well. Slide it in there and steer that reader. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me
angry.

Delete the word 'very' from 'very busy'.

Starting a sentence with 'And' could is generally not used and this one could easily be avoided by rewording.

Stay away from colloquialisms like 'burned the candle at both ends'. While it makes sense to those who know the phrase you will confuse those that don't. (I know you put it in single quotes, but... the statement still stands)

"It was..." IMO is a terrible start to a sentence. It -- What is it? Was -- a passive verb. I don't have many hard and fast rules in writing, but starting a sentence with "It was..." is a NO. Why? Because often you can 'flip' that sentence, insert an action verb, and the reader will love it. It was... just lies there. A day is difficult to work in sometimes, but not generally. It was a Tuesday. Perhaps: The image of the grease pit at Taco Loco's popped in his mind until he realized his computer calendar read Tuesday -- his normal day off.

You have a lot of adverbs. Words like slowly, completely, immediately, unexpectedly, likely, certainly, fortunately are all, as one reviewer of mine put it "lazy description", and should be avoided. Let the reader determine if it was immediate, unexpected or fortunate. If you write the sentence well enough with great word choices, the adverbs become unnecessary. The reader will come to the conclusion that something was unexpectedly, fortunately, etc. A lot of time you can delete the adverbs and it often reads better too. Try it! You'll see. Search out all those -LY ending words.

His body was not the same... Way too blah here. SHOW ME! Don't just tell me. How was it different? Did he now stand three feet taller? When he looked down was he glowing? Could he see in all 360 degrees? Were his feet gigantic? Was his nose disjointed? Perhaps his hair was down to his knees?

He thought of his job, the things he had to get done that day... SHOW ME! Did he recall the new circuit board on the SX100 model? Write a report on the finer points of teaching soldering on the MM6 phone?

This was crazy! How could all this be? s/b in italics for thought.

Earth should be capitalized. Several instances...

Spacing issue after "Jim's roommate shook him gently to wake him."



Plot (B) A good story. One which could be much more enticing than it is currently. Actually, I was hoping a small bit of information would have come back with Jim and he helped further the advancement on Earth. Cut to the "others" in space and they laugh and say something like: "We've been feeding a little bit of information like this for millenniums. Their feeble brains can't take much more than crumbs, yet they think it's all them that's doing it." Humorous.

Grammar & Spelling (C plus) Spacing issues. Odd beginnings and endings to sentences. Stops and starts are jerky at times. Good spelling though.

Word Choices (D plus) Little description in this piece. I want to hear, see, smell, taste, feel things.

Character Development (B) For a short piece I like the character development. We know a fair amount about the main character in a short space.

Creativity (B plus) I'd give you an A here if I hadn't written a similar piece (since deleted) call the "Memory Clock". We are alike!

Overall (C) Very average piece overall. I liked the concept. I liked the character, but reading it was kind of Ho-Hum.

Best Line: "Fighting against his panic, he finally stopped his movements and found himself floating." I find the simplest descriptive sentences are the most powerful. We have an emotion: panic We have an action: stopped and another action: floating. I can feel this and see it. You just need more of it!



- ** Image ID #1516997 Unavailable **
6
6
Review of Dig a Hole  
Review by BScholl
In affiliation with Rising Stars of WdC  
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

Not a bad opening sentence. It holds some intrigue. Perhaps a little more descriptive though "had been" is passive. Be more active. Something like: The car lurched forward again from a dead standstill. I persisted in the habit of wedging my feet against the taillight bracket, and I just stopped my face from slamming into the trunk's frame again. Of course, with all the bruises I'm not sure it mattered much anymore. Where could I be now?

You need to break your paragraphs more frequently. You piece needs to be pleasing to the eye AND intriguing to read.

Italicize "Perhaps they had arrived?" (as I think you meant thought there)

Telling: Whatever torture would be inflicted upon her again; she was used to it by now. I know this would be difficult to go into (you'd likely have to change the rating), but part of the essence of this pieces NEEDS to be brutal. Describe the torture. Describe what she'd been through.

"Dust-covered ground"? Hadn't rained in a while? You might want to work that into the description of her in the trunk.

I like: grabbed, nipped, dragged, smashed... EXCELLENT action verbs.

Carcass? Word choice. Carcass USUALLY infers the body is dead.

You may want to do an old writers trick here and increase the rising action with the coming of the storm and ultimate climax of digging with the rain coming down harder and harder. For my attempt at this go to my port and read "The Darkness in her Soul".

Golf ball size drops? Golf ball? I've heard that description for hail, but not rain. Word choice.

"He loves me too much to kill me anyway." Here's a reference to something, but no real connection (at least in this piece). I'd suggest (if this is a take-off from another piece) to just combine them. So, it reads more smoothly.

Delete: No time for first aid. It's just not necessary. Seems too obvious.

I like: "before the warm sensation of fresh blood trickled down her face and into her mouth." Awesome!

I like the thoughts of the character. It really gives the reader an "in" to their personality. I would like to see more depth though. We really don't KNOW this person. Married? Single? Age? Hometown? Urbanite? We don't even have a physical description.

You have some adverbs, but try to keep them to a minimum. Words like earnestly, unexpectedly, likely, certainly, fortunately are all, as one reviewer of mine put it "lazy description", and should be avoided. Let the reader determine if it was unexpected or fortunate. If you write the sentence well enough with great word choices, the adverbs become unnecessary. The reader will come to the conclusion that something was unexpectedly, fortunately, etc. A lot of time you can delete the adverbs and it often reads better too. Try it! You'll see. Search out all those -LY ending words.

"and swung he his boot towards her;" I think you meant "and swung his boot towards her;"

"as her face exploded and she..." Exploded? Word choice.


Plot (B -) An intriguing story that could be more. The plot moves along and is interesting, but character depth needs a lot of work.

Grammar & Spelling (B plus) Not bad at all. Just the one "he his" thing. Not much else.

Word Choices (C) I like the descriptive verbs, but several word choices are just Odd.

Character Development (D) This is definitely the weakness of this story. I love the thoughts of the main character, but we know next to nothing about her.

Creativity (C plus) Several stories are like this but you could put your own stamp on it.

Overall (B minus) Not a bad story and I really waffled between a 3.5 and a 4.0. I'll stay with a 3.5 as it is above average for certain, but lacks a few items.

Best Line: "Dig!" he screamed and swung he his boot towards her; she felt her eyes thrown back into her skull and her nose snap inwards before the warm sensation of fresh blood trickled down her face and into her mouth.




- ** Image ID #1516997 Unavailable **
7
7
Review of Seasons of Life  
Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

Without reading a word, you need to make the piece a bit more "inviting" with more spacing. A wall of words is not what a reader wants to see. A space between paragraphs would help a lot here.

Belle was happy... Show me! Stay away from passive verbs especially in an opening sentence. Something like: "Belle's smile broadened to hear the blue jays screeching..."

... how Gran used to say 'the blue jays were the biggest...' Put single quotes for a remembered quotation.

Telling: "Fall was her favorite time of year."
Revealing/Showing: "I love the fall. The leaves are so pretty," she thought.

"...and it reminded her of the days she was able to help out at cutting time. " Elaborate. Show this to me. Get the character to recall a funny memory or a particularly hard day's worth of work.

"It was..." IMO is a terrible start to a sentence. It -- What is it? Was -- a passive verb. I don't have many hard and fast rules in writing, but starting a sentence with "It was..." is a NO. Why? Because often you can 'flip' that sentence, insert an action verb, and the reader will love it. It was... just lies there. "It was everything she loved about the season that day" could be "The sun filtered down through the reds of the maples, the browns of the oaks, and the yellow of the birch. A few leaves drifted toward Earth -- one nestling on her shoe. Perfect."

I hope you see the difference.

Passive verbs -- This piece contains many passive verbs. was, were, is, has, etc. are all passive. Replacing these with actions verbs like: trembled, crashed, smeared, chuckled reveals the story so much more.

Verbs -- Action for the plot -- moves the story along. Keep me interested.
Detail -- sensory touch, see, hear, taste, smell... flavor to the story soup. Force me to see what your mind sees. Hear what your ears do.
Word choices -- emotion... pick that word that fits just OHHH.... so well. Slide it in there and steer that reader. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me angry.

Use more of the other senses. I like that you took some pine needles, but how did they FEEL? What did they SMELL like?

Still a lot of telling: She'd taught her family about the importance of nature... how? Did she join an environmental group? Stand up to city hall when they were about to bulldoze the park? Take long walks in the woods?

Her grandchildren... brought her back wonderful treasures... What were they? Acorns? Dandelions? Blackberries? Pine cones? Let me see. Let me hear. Let me smell.

She closed her eyes and prayed... What was her prayer? Did she thank God for all her kids? Did she want her pain eased? Was she diagnosed with something and asked for healing? Show me!


Plot (B minus) A nice quiet story from an elder. A sort of reminiscent feel that didn't quite "get there" for me. The climax was not high as a result.

Grammar & Spelling (B) More issues with spacing than anything.

Word Choices (B minus) A mixture of good and passive. Some wonderful descriptions followed by a telling of the story. I can see the "bright blues of the jays darting back and forth" I can't see "the great memories..." Why? You didn't reveal them like you did with the jays.

Character Development (C) A grandmother who likes fall. She lives on a farm and helped out a bit when she was young. We don't know much about her. Flashbacks might help there. Specific grandchildren also. How many, where they live, what they do for a living, etc. would fill in those gaps.

Creativity (B minus) I've read similar stories, but you do describe things well when you put the action verbs and descriptive words in place.

Overall (B minus) Needs work with more action-oriented verbs and the use of all the senses. We get a picture, but not a Feel. The emotions will flow through once you accomplish that.

Best Line: "The sun filtered down through the reds of the maples, the browns of the oaks, and the yellows of the birch." Great picture.



- ** Image ID #1516997 Unavailable **
8
8
Review of sweet lies  
Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (2.5)
First let me say that I review only to be helpful. Please understand that I'm doing this to let you see what the reader sees. I am always much more grateful for reviewers that are perfectly honest with me. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

Reason why the title isn't capitalized?

Delete very in "more than the very air you breathe,"

were? I think you meant WHERE

Period after 'fresh'?

Capitalize You in You said you knew no one but me (period again?)

Baby! Capitalize.

Space after the comma.

Question mark after 'better'.

Capitalize You. I believe you're missing an 'I' in You said I am your one and only, (comma after only)

walls' heart (apostrophe on walls')

s/b it's not its in 'don't say its me'

Missing an 'I' in you said I am the best (thing?) that have (has?)...

'I' am scared and worried?

ill luck? Word choice.

Why the lower case i's?

Capitalize You again.


Plot (B minus): Love/relationship type of plot. Loose, but since it's poetry it doesn't have to follow so much of a rule.

Structure (C minus): Confusing as to when/why the stanzas break. Capitalization is mostly non existent, but I'm unsure as to why? OR is there a point to not?

Flow (C): No real rhyming patterns, but flow is ok.

Grammar and Spelling (D): Several (apparently) missing words and misspellings. Capitalizations.

Word Choices (C minus): I like a few in here. Vexed and ooze being a couple, but cliche phrases seem to permeate.

Originality/Creativity (C): I like the last two lines, but the relationship seems more of insecurity. Not bad. Just average. IMO.

9
9
Review of Over the Shoulder  
Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

Not an intriguing opening sentence. The sun lie down? Make model 01827 in some kind of action.

You are telling the story, but not writing to REVEAL the story.

Telling: He is one of the first of his kind, and his time has come to be put out of commission.
Revealing: 01827 appeared agitated to me. His lip quivered. His forehead filled with sweat. I peered into his face and knew that he knew. 01827's life cycle is coming to an end. After all, Rule 56B applied to everyone. I placed my hand on his shoulder.

Telling: His parts will be harvested and sold...
Revealing: I stood there admiring his courage. But my only thought that popped into my head at that moment was: Who would get his parts?

Telling: ... as the doctor prepared the barbiturate.
Revealing: as the doctor slid the syringe into the tiny bottle and pulled back the plunger. The barbiturate oozed into the gleaming white needle's housing. The doctor turned with the needle pointed to the ceiling and a small stream spurted into the air. I nodded to the doctor.

I hope you see the difference.

"... covered in blankness" Blankness? Word choice.

Telling: I nearly threw up on my way to the door.
Revealing/Showing: My stomach churned as I stumbled to the doorway. I could taste the vomit rising in my esophagus, but I swallowed hard and kept it down.

Passive verbs -- This piece contains many passive verbs. was, were, is, has, etc. are all passive. Replacing these with actions verbs like: trembled, crashed, smeared, chuckled reveals the story so much more.

Verbs -- Action for the plot -- moves the story along. Keep me interested.
Detail -- sensory touch, see, hear, taste, smell... flavor to the story soup. Force me to see what your mind sees. Hear what your ears do.
Word choices -- emotion... pick that word that fits just OHHH.... so well. Slide it in there and steer that reader. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me angry.

"It was..." IMO is a terrible start to a sentence. It -- What is it? Was -- a passive verb. I don't have many hard and fast rules in writing, but starting a sentence with "It was..." is a NO. Why? Because often you can 'flip' that sentence, insert an action verb, and the reader will love it. It was... just lies there. "It was beautiful..." Could be changed to "The simplicity of the plan created hope. Like Pavlov's dog, it worked with just a bit of stimulus. Every time we turned on the TV, he couldn't help but feel the need to purchase. Even I had to admit the utter beauty of it."

This story is begging for dialogue. With dialogue you can explain so much. Without it, you turn the reader off and everything becomes telling and tedious description.

"It occurred in only a ..." What's 'it'?

"I'll make sure your safe." s/b "I'll make sure YOU'RE safe."

Panned? Word choice.

You have a lot of adverbs. Words like earnestly, unexpectedly, likely, certainly, fortunately are all, as one reviewer of mine put it "lazy description", and should be avoided. Let the reader determine if it was unexpected or fortunate. If you write the sentence well enough with great word choices, the adverbs become unnecessary. The reader will come to the conclusion that something was unexpectedly, fortunately, etc. A lot of time you can delete the adverbs and it often reads better too. Try it! You'll see. Search out all those -LY ending words.

You need to put thoughts in italics. This reveals the inner-workings of the narrator's mind. He was right; he has no job skills, no knowledge... hole at the company.

Run-on sentence: "I had to send these out..." Break at "the company had to be ..." into two sentences.

Wrong doings? Word choice.

Don't like the ending. Issue: How could they change him into a model? They'd kill him first. IMO. Definitely needs a much better ending. Perhaps they shoot him up with drugs and he recants his emailed information? They kill him and One. They torture then kill One for his disobedience? He's drugged and is about to be injected and he sees the President on TV saying how the economy is doing very well due to consumer spending...


Plot (C plus) Good start. Rising action. Climax. Then THUD. No real resolution and the climax was lost.

Grammar & Spelling (C plus) Not too bad. Spacing is a problem along with the scant dialogue.

Word Choices (C) This is where this story could radically improve. You need to select better words for description. But in particular you need to have better action verbs. was, arrived, opened, sent, was... are all pretty blah.


Character Development (C) I don't really (as a reader) sense the emotional grip on this narrator. We don't even know the person's name. We need a lot more background and depth.

Creativity (B plus) I like the basics. It's creative and shows a lot of promise, but the writing needs to be much more exciting and the climax needs to swell and crash upon the reader and make the anticipation of it drip with excitement.

Overall (C minus) A shame. This story has a ton of promise. Action verbs, Word choices, dialogue, and a titillating climax and resolution would vastly improve this piece. Also, try using all the senses, not just sight. Smell, hearing, taste, touch, and the display of emotions and thoughts really get the reader "IN".

Best Line: "He began to writhe as if the needle and its poison had been administered." More descriptions like this! Stop telling the story and WRITE the story to REVEAL it. Write on!



- ** Image ID #1516997 Unavailable **
10
10
Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

I was part of the paper doll gang class right before you!

I like an opening sentence with action in it. This gets the reader "in" to the story quickly with a good "hook". A descriptive sentence sometimes gets there and sometimes not. "rotting wood and chipped, purple paint" is odd enough.

"... crookedness about ITS setting." No apostrophe in its here.

Spell out the number 1.

Toward the sky? Toward is the American usage vs. Towards is the British.

"Rain was coming." Show us. Don't tell us. "The blackening clouds formed a wall to the west and the wind hit Arnold in the face with the fact that rain would soon pelt down on him." I'm sure you could do better.

A little ambiguous who says: "What's going on, honey?" (put a comma after on)

"But IT'S not love, Emma." Remember its and it's. It's is just a shortened it is. Say it out loud with it is and if it makes sense it's with the apostrophe. Otherwise no apostrophe.

Telling: Emma knew she was dead.
Showing: Emma scanned his lifeless body and a strange sense of knowing his soul had departed swept through her heart.

Passive verbs -- This piece contains many passive verbs. was, were, is, has, etc. are all passive. Replacing these with actions verbs like: trembled, crashed, smeared, chuckled reveals the story so much more.

Verbs -- Action for the plot -- moves the story along. Keep me interested.
Detail -- sensory touch, see, hear, taste, smell... flavor to the story soup. Force me to see what your mind sees. Hear what your ears do.
Word choices -- emotion... pick that word that fits just OHHH.... so well. Slide it in there and steer that reader. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me angry.


You have a lot of adverbs. Words like earnestly, unexpectedly, likely, certainly, fortunately are all, as one reviewer of mine put it "lazy description", and should be avoided. Let the reader determine if it was unexpected or fortunate. If you write the sentence well enough with great word choices, the adverbs become unnecessary. The reader will come to the conclusion that something was unexpectedly, fortunately, etc. A lot of time you can delete the adverbs and it often reads better too. Try it! You'll see. Search out all those -LY ending words.

"...whispered back, "I love you, TOO." Too not to.


Plot (B) A witch whose life comes into focus, just as her memories are leaving her. A kind of Alzheimer's approach. I like it, but better word choices and descriptions would help move it along.

Grammar & Spelling (B) A few issues like spacing and it's vs its.

Word Choices (C minus) This is where this story could get a lot better. Using certain words (like iridescent) gives a good flavor to your story.

Character Development (B minus) I wish we knew a bit more background on both characters. Perhaps random thoughts pushing out of the pot? You could really do a lot with that here.

Creativity (A) A nice original piece. I liked the slant (pardon the pun in your first para!). The realization that love is not jusst an emotion, but a life of memories and duty too.

Overall (B minus) A good solid piece which helps when it's so creative. The weaknesses are character development and a lot of telling vs. showing what is going on. The reader wants to FEEL being there with emotion and all the senses, not just sight. Use more action-oriented verbs like tapping, clicking, warmed, etc.

Best Line: "Her tired bones ached, and she sat down next to the boiling cauldron which warmed her body." I'm there. i can feel her bones ache and the warmth of that fire. Add in her shadow dancing against the wall. The smell of a spring rain... etc.



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11
11
Review of The Birthday Bag  
Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)
A wonderful little story of office humor. It's always the quiet ones you have to look out for. They are the least suspected (and the most cunning).


Issues: One item that isn't resolved is the MGK moniker. Why MGK? Frame job?

Christy sounds fun and I'd like to know more about her as a reader. Why would Melinda automatically suspect her for instance?

Most people would quickly remove all objects instead of parading around the office with them on. What in the main character's personality would cause such an action?

It seems that adding things to the birthday bag would get cumbersome and eventually reduce it's appeal. Perhaps swapping out something in the bag instead?

A good read. Comical. Nice job, but a lot of unanswered Q's for me.
12
12
Review of The Birthday Bag  
Review by BScholl
Rated: E | (4.0)
A wonderful little story of office humor. It's always the quiet ones you have to look out for. They are the least suspected (and the most cunning).


Issues: One item that isn't resolved is the MGK moniker. Why MGK? Frame job?

Christy sounds fun and I'd like to know more about her as a reader. Why would Melinda automatically suspect her for instance?

Most people would quickly remove all objects instead of parading around the office with them on. What in the main character's personality would cause such an action?

It seems that adding things to the birthday bag would get cumbersome and eventually reduce it's appeal. Perhaps swapping out something in the bag instead?

A good read. Comical. Nice job, but a lot of unanswered Q's for me.
13
13
Review of Confession  
Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

Split out your dialogue on separate lines. It's much easier to read.

You are mixing verb tenses: she says is present tense... In the second paragraph you switch to past tense.

I like: "I held my breath feeling light-headed..." Very descriptive. Just extend the description and the next three sentences are unnecessary. Perhaps: "I held my breath and felt light-headed. My eyes darted from object to object and I contemplated a run for the door, but my mother's gaze held me there."

"It was..." IMO is a terrible start to a sentence. It -- What is it? Was -- a passive verb. I don't have many hard and fast rules in writing, but starting a sentence with "It was..." is a NO. Why? Because often you can 'flip' that sentence, insert an action verb, and the reader will love it. It was... just lies there. Instead of: "It was like my worst nightmare had finally stepped..." Perhaps: "Like a nightmare stepping from the shadows of my mind, the thoughts of the event ran threw my mind."

Passive verbs -- This piece contains decent amount of passive verbs, but also a mixture of action oriented ones. was, were, is, has, etc. are all passive. Replacing these with actions verbs like: trembled, crashed, smeared, chuckled reveals the story so much more. You have some flashes of great lines then fall back to passive several times. Read through your work and toss out those passive ones and create the action and suspense this piece deserves.

Verbs -- Action for the plot -- moves the story along. Keep me interested.
Detail -- sensory touch, see, hear, taste, smell... flavor to the story soup. Force me to see what your mind sees. Hear what your ears do.
Word choices -- emotion... pick that word that fits just OHHH.... so well. Slide it in there and steer that reader. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me angry.

You have a few adverbs. Words like earnestly, unexpectedly, likely, certainly, fortunately are all, as one reviewer of mine put it "lazy description", and should be avoided. Let the reader determine if it was unexpected or fortunate. If you write the sentence well enough with great word choices, the adverbs become unnecessary. The reader will come to the conclusion that something was unexpectedly, fortunately, etc. A lot of time you can delete the adverbs and it often reads better too. Try it! You'll see. Search out all those -LY ending words. Just worth a mention.

"Take you time." s/b "Take YOUR time."

Italicize thoughts: "How do you plan to get out of this now, stupid?" plus several others. I love thoughts being shown in pieces. Good job!

Kind of a 'cliff hanger' type ending. You don't know why the teen was in trouble. Hmmm... I kinda like that.


Plot (B) Nice suspense. No real resolution though. Spotty descriptions mixed with thoughts.

Grammar & Spelling (B minus) Decent here. Dialogue and that one YOUR fix.

Word Choices (B minus) Good and bad. You flip between very descriptive with great words such as pursed, drummed, propped, leaned... to "It was only a few hours past noon."

Character Development (C plus) We see internal dialogue and struggle. But we don't get a lot of background of the character their self. Resolution to the plot would help, plus other flashes of times he was in trouble.

Creativity (A minus) I liked it.

Overall (B minus) A neat little story of internal teen thoughts and parental interaction when placed on the "hot seat". Flashes of great lines, but you need more consistency.

Best Line: "My mother’s long fingernails drummed on the table. Her lips, pursed tightly together, were the color of blood." Awesome. I can hear those fingernails drumming. I can see those lips. I can even imagine the unforgiving stare (even though you didn't actually say it) Excellent. And a bonus one: "A few inches higher, my heart was going crazy, ramming against my ribs like an unrelenting, raging bull." Ooohhhh... I like this one too.


I just finished the Paper Doll Class. Enjoy!!!

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14
14
Review of Red Confusion  
Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

"It was..." IMO is a terrible start to a sentence. It -- What is it? Was -- a passive verb. I don't have many hard and fast rules in writing, but starting a sentence with "It was..." is a NO. Why? Because often you can 'flip' that sentence, insert an action verb, and the reader will love it. It was... just lies there. Instead try something like: The Mid-November wind blew the flurry of white flakes across the highway. This is ten times more descriptive than "It was snowing."

I don't like the repeat of "it was snowing". Redundant as a reader.

Also redundant is the word 'past' in: "For the last couple of years past..."

"Now, this." is a sentence fragment.

"Snow in November." is a sentence fragment.

Your descriptions tend to be too vague. "The night had grown heavy..." "Made his way down to... " What do these mean?

Passive verbs -- This piece contains many passive verbs. was, were, is, has, etc. are all passive. Replacing these with actions verbs like: trembled, crashed, smeared, chuckled reveals the story so much more. Here's a little exercise I use: list your first ten verbs and see what kind of action they have in the reader's mind. Here's yours: was snowing, was lined, was snowing, had, were, could resist, sitting, had been, were, did. I hope you can see that these verbs aren't very action oriented.

Verbs -- Action for the plot -- moves the story along. Keep me interested.
Detail -- sensory touch, see, hear, taste, smell... flavor to the story soup. Force me to see what your mind sees. Hear what your ears do.
Word choices -- emotion... pick that word that fits just OHHH.... so well. Slide it in there and steer that reader. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me angry.

"unfuriated" I think you meant infuriated.

The "spot" single line words doesn't work for me. They just look disjointed. Much better would have been to describe in very sensory detail to build suspense.



Plot (C) A plot that just meanders and does not give a feeling of suspense that it should. Lacks action verbs. The ending is seen early on so the climax doesn't peak well.

Grammar & Spelling (C minus) The disjointed words, a couple misspellings, Sentence fragments all give the piece an unedited feel.

Word Choices (C minus) Lacks a lot of sensory detail with vague description. You need to use the five senses much better: sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste PLUS emotions.

Character Development (D) OK. He's a surgeon. He killed a patient by accident. Hmmm... Don't know much more about him or his background other than he's married. Flashbacks, memories, and thoughts give us an insight to characters. Then show actions and the motivation behind them and the reader feels the character.

Creativity (C) This story has been done many times.

Overall (C minus) This story need intrigue and much more descriptions to be effective. What the plot needs is a twist.

Best Line: "Stay," he managed to whisper, but just couldn't. A simple line, but effective. You reveal a bit of his training as a physician and we hear this.



- ** Image ID #1516997 Unavailable **
15
15
Review of Spider  
Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

Not a bad opening sentence, but the adverb could easily be eliminated. "slowly" Something like: Cindy's eyes fluttered open, letting...

Run-on sentence beginning with "Sighing at the empty space..." Just break it into two starting with "His new job..."

"another" great effort? What was the first?

moved? Word choice. Trudged, sauntered, plodded... perhaps.

" It had been their first together, a long weekend..." it had is very passive. Similar to "It was".

"It was..." IMO is a terrible start to a sentence. It -- What is it? Was -- a passive verb. I don't have many hard and fast rules in writing, but starting a sentence with "It was..." is a NO. Why? Because often you can 'flip' that sentence, insert an action verb, and the reader will love it. It was/it had... just lies there. Perhaps: She recalled that first trip together, a long weekend on the Mediterranean coast."

Issue: We have a character that labors to wake up only to find (in the same paragraph) the same character "filled" with "happy memories". Seems to contrast/almost conflict. Is she happy or sad here?

It wasn't... eeek!

Passive verbs -- This piece contains many passive verbs. was, were, is, has, etc. are all passive. Replacing these with actions verbs like: trembled, crashed, smeared, chuckled reveals the story so much more.

Verbs -- Action for the plot -- moves the story along. Keep me interested.
Detail -- sensory touch, see, hear, taste, smell... flavor to the story soup. Force me to see what your mind sees. Hear what your ears do.
Word choices -- emotion... pick that word that fits just OHHH.... so well. Slide it in there and steer that reader. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me angry.

While you don't have a lot of adverbs, they are still there. Words like earnestly, unexpectedly, likely, certainly, fortunately are all, as one reviewer of mine put it "lazy description", and should be avoided. Let the reader determine if it was unexpected or fortunate. If you write the sentence well enough with great word choices, the adverbs become unnecessary. The reader will come to the conclusion that something was unexpectedly, fortunately, etc. A lot of time you can delete the adverbs and it often reads better too. Try it! You'll see. Search out all those -LY ending words.

A faint trace of panic? Seems to be more than that!

"skirting around the ceiling" I like that. Action verb.

"placid calm" is redundant...

I like the "Suddenly something felt different..." paragraph, but it just isn't the gripping horror filled prose you are looking for. Perhaps if one of them bit her? Blood? The crawling and such, just doesn't quite make it. I think leaning on the five senses might help here. All we get are touch and sight. Taste, smell, pain, etc. might help. Just something there I can't quite put my finger on. Perhaps the second to last para is just too long?

Issue: She just falls asleep with a bathroom filled with spiders? One would expect a bit more than that. Like running down the street screaming like a maniac?

I'm confused on the last two paragraphs. I'm guessing this was a dream?

I was expecting to at least meet Neil. Then, it ends. She didn't even see/feel Neil come in at all?


Plot (B) A creepy, crawly type of horror short. Solid in some aspects, but lacking in deep feelings and sensory descriptions.

Grammar & Spelling (A) Nothing stood out here. Nice job.

Word Choices (C) Lacking the response I think you're searching for. I think choosing those "Oh, so right" descriptive words will really drive home the utter fear that this lady feels.

Character Development (C) Perhaps a flashback of other spider encounters, or thoughts of how frightened she is of them might help. Otherwise we simply can't feel the dread, due mostly to the lack of depth here.

Creativity (B) I've read similar creepy, crawly type stories.

Overall (C plus) A quaint attempt at a scary spider story. I'm sure many (mostly women) can relate.

Best Line: "Still shaking Cindy picked the last ones off her body and watched as they moved away into the shadows of the room."



- ** Image ID #1516997 Unavailable **
16
16
Review of Spider  
Review by BScholl
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

Not a bad opening sentence, but the adverb could easily be eliminated. "slowly" Something like: Cindy's eyes fluttered open, letting...

Run-on sentence beginning with "Sighing at the empty space..." Just break it into two starting with "His new job..."

"another" great effort? What was the first?

moved? Word choice. Trudged, sauntered, plodded... perhaps.

" It had been their first together, a long weekend..." it had is very passive. Similar to "It was".

"It was..." IMO is a terrible start to a sentence. It -- What is it? Was -- a passive verb. I don't have many hard and fast rules in writing, but starting a sentence with "It was..." is a NO. Why? Because often you can 'flip' that sentence, insert an action verb, and the reader will love it. It was/it had... just lies there. Perhaps: She recalled that first trip together, a long weekend on the Mediterranean coast."

Issue: We have a character that labors to wake up only to find (in the same paragraph) the same character "filled" with "happy memories". Seems to contrast/almost conflict. Is she happy or sad here?

It wasn't... eeek!

Passive verbs -- This piece contains many passive verbs. was, were, is, has, etc. are all passive. Replacing these with actions verbs like: trembled, crashed, smeared, chuckled reveals the story so much more.

Verbs -- Action for the plot -- moves the story along. Keep me interested.
Detail -- sensory touch, see, hear, taste, smell... flavor to the story soup. Force me to see what your mind sees. Hear what your ears do.
Word choices -- emotion... pick that word that fits just OHHH.... so well. Slide it in there and steer that reader. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me angry.

While you don't have a lot of adverbs, they are still there. Words like earnestly, unexpectedly, likely, certainly, fortunately are all, as one reviewer of mine put it "lazy description", and should be avoided. Let the reader determine if it was unexpected or fortunate. If you write the sentence well enough with great word choices, the adverbs become unnecessary. The reader will come to the conclusion that something was unexpectedly, fortunately, etc. A lot of time you can delete the adverbs and it often reads better too. Try it! You'll see. Search out all those -LY ending words.

A faint trace of panic? Seems to be more than that!

"skirting around the ceiling" I like that. Action verb.

"placid calm" is redundant...

I like the "Suddenly something felt different..." paragraph, but it just isn't the gripping horror filled prose you are looking for. Perhaps if one of them bit her? Blood? The crawling and such, just doesn't quite make it. I think leaning on the five senses might help here. All we get are touch and sight. Taste, smell, pain, etc. might help. Just something there I can't quite put my finger on. Perhaps the second to last para is just too long?

Issue: She just falls asleep with a bathroom filled with spiders? One would expect a bit more than that. Like running down the street screaming like a maniac?

I'm confused on the last two paragraphs. I'm guessing this was a dream?

I was expecting to at least meet Neil. Then, it ends. She didn't even see/feel Neil come in at all?


Plot (B) A creepy, crawly type of horror short. Solid in some aspects, but lacking in deep feelings and sensory descriptions.

Grammar & Spelling (A) Nothing stood out here. Nice job.

Word Choices (C) Lacking the response I think you're searching for. I think choosing those "Oh, so right" descriptive words will really drive home the utter fear that this lady feels.

Character Development (C) Perhaps a flashback of other spider encounters, or thoughts of how frightened she is of them might help. Otherwise we simply can't feel the dread, due mostly to the lack of depth here.

Creativity (B) I've read similar creepy, crawly type stories.

Overall (C plus) A quaint attempt at a scary spider story. I'm sure many (mostly women) can relate.

Best Line: "Still shaking Cindy picked the last ones off her body and watched as they moved away into the shadows of the room."



- ** Image ID #1516997 Unavailable **
17
17
Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

This does not read like a poem. It reads much more like a short story. The stanzas are only there to put it in poem form. I'd urge you to convert this into a short story.

I do like the opening line. It creates an instant feel of setting. August -- Hot, Summer, School about to begin. 1950 -- a simpler family time. (In America of course)

"filled with things fun and nifty" -- this is a bit vague. You need to specify like you do in your next paragraph exactly what this transition is all about. You do that nicely with "a world of homework, bullies, conformity..."

I might flip the second and third paragraph from a chronological flow standpoint. You reference the fun and nifty, but don't really describe what you mean until stanza #3.

Your descriptions need to use the five senses: Sight, Sound, Smell, Touch, Taste. You only describe sights. You interject feelings ok for a five year old, but it needs to relate more to the reader. More like this line: "Buying a balloon excites the boy, for balloons belong
among magical things..." Less like this one which is a bit blah: "He returns happy before long." 'Returns' and 'happy' are very generalized. Use good action verbs: "He skips back, blue balloon bobbing, to flash a grin to his mother. He smells the distinct balloon rubber on his hand."


Plot/Theme: (B minus) As I stated I think this would read better as a short.

Grammar & Spelling (A minus) Good here.

Word Choices (C) The weakest part of the poem. It needs to revolve around the senses. Choosing those words that make the reader's emotion well up.

Character Development (B) Solid, but the character needs to be more relatable. Those connections we've all experienced -- skipping, smell of balloon rubber on your hands, cotton candy, etc. That's what I see as the heart of this story.

Creativity (C) As is, this is just average in this area. No big twists or turns, but could be a very nice piece none-the-less.

Overall (C plus)

Best Line: "Proud of his idea, he pouts when shushed by his mother." I chose this simple line as it shows a five-year-old's perspective and you can hear and see the mother's 'shush'. Add more of these lines!



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Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (1.5)
My top three aren't even listed! FDR, Obama, and Wilson! Fourth would be Bush Jr. Terrible poll. Do some research on bad presidents before presenting a listing like this. Adams, Clinton, and Polk shouldn't come near this list. Hoover isn't listed either? Come now.
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Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.0)
I don't review poetry very often. So, bear that in mind. I only review to be helpful, and I'm completely honest about it. I hope you feel the same.


Reminds me of fuzzy wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy wuzzy had no hair. Therefore, Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't Fuzzy, was he?

The singer who couldn't sing.

aa bb ccc rhyming pattern.

I think the try/cry rhyme seems strained. Perhaps another pairing.

Question: Who told this person they could sing? I'm assuming their self?

Hmmm... Was she married to the king? Perhaps he just came along and anulled the marriage?

I'd say she was not happy being married.


I'd expand the poem a little to give how they came to think they were a singer (perhaps when they were single).

Also to explain to whom she was married.

Cheers,


Bryan
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Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: ASR | (3.0)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

"It was..." IMO This is the worst start to any sentence. It -- What is it? Was -- a passive verb. I don't have many hard and fast rules in writing, but starting a sentence with "It was..." is almost always a NO. Often you can 'flip' that sentence, insert an action verb, and the reader will love it. It was... just lies there. Especially with an opening sentence. Perhaps: "I never told anyone the story." Sounds better doesn't it? Even adds some intrigue.

Passive verbs vs. active. Here's your first ten verbs: was, had never, was, was, had gotten, used to, had made, was, did, sent. Not exactly lighting up the action verbs as you can see. Add those verbs to keep the reader reading.

Verbs -- Action for the plot -- moves the story along. Keep me interested.
Detail -- sensory touch, see, hear, taste, smell... flavor to the story soup. Force me to see what your mind sees. Hear what your ears do.
Word choices -- emotion... pick that word that fits just OHHH.... so well. Slide it in there and steer that reader. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me angry.

Drop the "I was twelve..." sentence and slide these ages in elsewhere.

You are telling the story a lot, but not letting me experience it. Take this sentence: "I had gotten into an argument with him earlier that day." This really doesn't show me anything. What was the argument about? Earlier? What part of the day? Two hours ago? This morning? What day? Saturday? Perhaps something like this:

Right after school, the whining began. Tom, my little brother, insisted on going with me to the arcade.

"I want to go." His seething eyes looked at me.

"You're too little. Besides, Mary will be there and I can't have a little twerp with me." I primped my hair in the mirror.

"I'm ten. I'm old enough."

"Sorry squirt."

I hope you can see and hear this. I also hope you feel it's better than your original sentence of "I had gotten...". You have many sentences like this.

The "I had a dream..." paragraph. Good. I like the sensory details. Using the reader's senses -- sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, and emotions gets them INVOLVED in the story. The big thing missing here is active verbs. Take those was's out and replace them with action verbs like "stood, scanned, blistered, soothed, swayed, trickled... Literally, you should be getting the picture.

"He couldn't even leave me alone in my dreams." I find a sentence like this is better as a thought (in italics).

"He put some space between us." Perhaps: "He drifted away from my side, shooting leering glances my way."

" We entered a field and the sight before me made my jaw drop." A field... Put some adjectives here. Describe it. Make it sensory to me. What was so jaw dropping? Let me see too! Show it to me.

Good. I like the dialogue. Makes the reader feel like s/he is the tag along kid.

Delete "that the woman disappeared in." You've only mentioned one set of trees and it's understood.

"Already other children were entering the dark forest." Perhaps: "Like rats to the piper, Children streamed into the dark, foreboding forest."

"Something definitely wasn't right." Another sentence that would come off better as a thought.

twisted -- good verb.

Delete "...the way we had come before."

Issue: Why wake to an alarm? This should be a natural awakening that both of you do IMO.

"An understanding passed between the two of us." While I understand what you wrote, it just isn't visual or sensory enough. Dialogue might help here. Perhaps completing each others sentences.

You have a decent amount of adverbs. Words like rapidly, unexpectedly, likely, certainly, fortunately, are all as one reviewer of mine put it "lazy description" and should be avoided. Let the reader determine if it was unexpected or fortunate. If you write the sentence well enough with great word choices, the adverbs become unnecessary. The reader will come to the conclusion that something was unexpectedly, fortunately, etc. A lot of time you can delete the adverbs and it often reads better too. Try it! You'll see. Search out all those -LY ending words.

"I felt tire -- Like I hadn't slept at all." Combining sentences can be quite powerful.

OK ending. I would've liked a follow up dream of the woman beckoning or a little more mystery.


Plot (B) You have good intro, background, build up, climax and resolution.

Grammar & Spelling (B plus) Excellent punctuation.

Word Choices (D) Here's where the story falls short. Details. Descriptions. Active verbs (especially). This needs a lot of injection of these to be a riveting story.

Character Development (C minus) Don't know much about these two other than they are brothers and squabble like normal siblings. Where do they live? What do they like to do? Are their parents married? Divorced? Where's Dad?

Creativity (B minus) Solid here. I like the dream sequence and you put your own spin on it. I wish there was more of a resolution as to what became of Joe.

Overall (C) Average. Installing showing sentences would help this a lot. Picture yourself there and just describe the feelings you have. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Make the reader BE there.


Best Line: "The sounds around me, the trees blowing in the wind, the birds chirping, running water from a nearby creek, were peaceful and relaxing." Nice. I can see those trees, hear those birds and water.



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Review of The Kitchen  
Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

Although I'm not a big fan of passive verbs in an opening sentence this one seems to work with the word choice of "innocuous".

Wonderful word choices and descriptions, but lacking those action verbs. You are also using senses well. Touch, Taste, Hearing. Excellent!

I like the whole "I fumbled" paragraph.

"Against pale BLUE???" The color of the door maybe? Confusing.

Love the senses. One of the best pieces I've read using them. Just great portrayals. Really let's the reader BE THERE.

"I could see him in the garage..." I'd probably change this to I could picture, or recall. See portends that she is doing it presently, and not in remembrance.

Issue: Where was Bob killed? In the kitchen or the cheap motel room? You seem to allude to both: "I saw him in the cheap motel room, his eyes as my hand flashed up and down, the blade gleaming." then "There was something on my table." Surely, she didn't drag him home? But then, she had blood on her hands when she opened the door?

"...move just move you stupid cow." Put in italics for thought.

For a short piece, you have a lot of adverbs. Words like patiently, inexorably, trimly, unexpectedly, fortunately, blankly, always are all as one reviewer of mine put it "lazy description" and should be avoided. Let the reader determine if it was unexpected or fortunate. If you write the sentence well enough with great word choices, the adverbs become unnecessary. The reader will come to the conclusion that something was unexpectedly, fortunately, etc. A lot of time you can delete the adverbs and it often reads better too. Try it! You'll see. Search out all those -LY ending words.

Reminds me of the telltale heart. I'm guessing that she's imagining the whole body on the table scene.


Plot (B Plus) I liked it, but it wasn't clear. The climax and resolution confused me as a reader. I'm still not certain of WHERE the murder occurred, but I can guess.

Grammar & Spelling (A) No problems here.

Word Choices (A) What wonderful descriptions and word choices. Only your verbs need a bit of changes here and there from passive to active.

Character Development (B) Probably the weakest area, but hard to cram into a short like this. A few more memories might help, but that would be to the detriment of descriptions. IMO.

Creativity (A) A great short in creative writing for sure. The descriptions make it special.

Overall (A minus) I'd give this a five, but for the confusion of where the murder happened and the passive verbs.

Best Line: "The comforting odors of bleach mingled with peaches drifted about my head as I closed my eyes and leaned against the gleaming counter." Senses, Senses, Senses. Love it.



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Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is a flipping awesome list on how to write good flash fiction. I especially like:

"Put little surprises in the story."
"Sure, I've eaten a whole chicken before. Who hasn't."
"Think outside the box. Take risks."
" Write a first sentence that makes the reader want to read on."

The only things I'd add is think of multiple different endings to your story about halfway through. Sometimes you can really surprise yourself at how ingenious you are. Even if you had already thought of an ending when you started. I also like to make a Word document with just one line story starts for those days you just can't think of anything!

Well done. And I'm not talking about the whole chicken.

Bryan


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Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is a flipping awesome list on how to write good flash fiction. I especially like:

"Put little surprises in the story."
"Sure, I've eaten a whole chicken before. Who hasn't."
"Think outside the box. Take risks."
" Write a first sentence that makes the reader want to read on."

The only things I'd add is think of multiple different endings to your story about halfway through. Sometimes you can really surprise yourself at how ingenious you are. Even if you had already thought of an ending when you started. I also like to make a Word document with just one line story starts for those days you just can't think of anything!

Well done. And I'm not talking about the whole chicken.

Bryan
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Review by BScholl
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (2.0)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

"It was..." IMO. This is the worst start to any sentence. It -- What is it? Was -- a passive verb. I don't have many hard and fast rules in writing, but starting a sentence with "It was..." pains me. Often you can 'flip' that sentence, insert an action verb, and the reader will love it. It was... just lies there. I wonder why people love to start pieces with "It was"? I've noticed that trend. An opening sentence should be strong, gripping and at least tie into the rest of the piece with some kind of action. The first two/three sentences could be combined like: "A rush of happiness enveloped me as I stuffed my suitcases for a well deserved week to the Florida Keys." See the difference?

Passive verbs give a piece a blah "telling" feeling. It does not allow the reader to experience what you are writing. Using the five senses or emotion creates that connection. Here's an exercise that I think helps: List out your first ten verbs. Here's yours: was, was, was, woke, could pack and get, packed, realized, checked and started, came out, were. I hope you noticed something. There's little action here. Even the non-passive verbs are general. packed could be: threw a few socks, a crumpled shirt, and squeezed in a pair of my favorite jeans. Checked could be: Glanced, peered, stared in disbelief. This allows the reader to be right there, experiencing your character.


Verbs -- Action for the plot -- moves the story along. Keep me interested. Let's me see the actions.
Detail -- sensory touch, see, hear, taste, smell... flavor to the story soup. Force me to see what your mind sees. Hear what your ears do.
Word choices -- emotion... pick that word that fits just OHHH.... so well. Slide it in there and steer that reader. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me angry.

"...my shirt came out nice and clean soon afterward." Not sure why this line is here. My response was: Of course it did. You just stated you laundered it. Now if you wanted to add smell or touch in here, this would be a good time. Work with it.

You have a series with two 'ands' in here. I'd delete the two or and the second 'and'. "Soon my bags were packed with clothes, three books, my toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss." Much cleaner. I liked the list. I can see these things sitting in your suitcase. Good!

"headed out" is another vague phrase. Walked? Drove? Bicycled? Try using those senses again: "I pulled the lever into drive and backed out the driveway, and stepped on the accelerator toward Johnson City International airport." I hope I'm making some valid points for you.

Delete "(I lived in Tennessee)" Rather slide in a well known city off a road sign, or a known landmark. "I passed a sign declaring 53 more miles to Memphis."

Issue: Winter is "in a couple of months" and there's snow? Just didn't fit my paradigm.

Delete the "Then's" at the beginning of sentences. Let the story flow naturally. (I had this disease when I first started too. I think there's medicine for it now. LOL.)

Issue: I've seen some heavy hail, but not pieces that would "crush it (a car) to the ground."!

For a short piece you have a fair amount of adverbs. Words like earnestly, unexpectedly, suddenly, certainly, fortunately, always are all as one reviewer of mine put it "lazy description" and should be avoided. Let the reader determine if it was unexpected or fortunate. If you write the sentence well enough with great word choices, the adverbs become unnecessary. The reader will come to the conclusion that something was unexpectedly, fortunately, etc. A lot of time you can delete the adverbs and it often reads better too. Try it! You'll see. Search out all those -LY ending words. You don't have a ton, but it's worth mentioning.

Then, Then, Then... Read it through without all those.

OK ending. (True story?)


Plot (C minus) The action didn't rise much throughout, the climax at the end was a bit unexpected, but not overly exciting. If you want to get across "karma" here, it just doesn't come through much.

Grammar & Spelling (B) Sentences, spelling, grammar are decent. You had that series issue and a few commas here and there, but nothing outlandish.

Word Choices (D) Ouch. I hate putting that low, but your descriptions are not there. Take this: "I boarded the plane and walked to my seat." This story is filled with those type of lines. What kind of plane? 747? Jet? Twin engine? Walked? How about hurried? Scurried? Bustled? Seat: What kind? Leather? Cloth? How far did it recline? These are all details that add those ingredients.

Character Development (D plus) I know little to nothing about the main character. I don't know: If they are male or female, their name, how old they are, siblings?, mom & dad still alive?, children?, married? Nothing. I don't relate and have no reference.

Creativity (C minus) I like that you recanted the story (especially if true). We all need to be reminded of the fragile-ness of life, and the close calls we have each day.

Overall (D) This could be a very good, touching, emotional story, but without action verbs and descriptions and depth of character it will always be flat. Keep writing. You will learn and improve.

Best Line: "While I drove along I glanced out the window for a second, I saw snow! There were little shining grayish-white flakes falling all around from the sky in a beautiful curtain of frozen water." Except for the 'There were' this is very detailed and I can see this. "curtain of frozen water" especially stands out. More of this.


I must add that you must keep writing and take tips from reviewers. That's how I learned, and I do not mean to discourage. Read others' work. See how they phrase things. Dig to find that talent within.

Cheers!


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Review of The Bench  
Review by BScholl
Rated: E | (2.5)
Remember this is just an opinion. Only you can judge your own piece to its ultimate form. I write this to be helpful. I certainly learn a lot more when someone is completely honest about my work. I hope you feel the same.

Suggestions/Fixes:

Opening sentence is about leaves and yet the story is about a bench (presumably at this point). Needs to tie into the story and be more gripping IMO.

Odd name. Q___Park?

"It was/This is..." The worst start to any sentence IMO. It/This -- What is it? Was/is -- a passive verb. I don't have many hard and fast rules in writing, but starting a sentence with "It was/this is..." pains me. Often you can 'flip' the sentence, insert an action verb, and the reader will love it. It was/this is... just lies there. Telling, but not revealing, showing, letting the reader experience the story.

Verbs -- Action for the plot -- moves the story along. Keep me interested.
Detail -- sensory touch, see, hear, taste, smell... flavor to the story soup. Force me to see what your mind sees. Hear what your ears do.
Word choices -- emotion... pick that word that fits just OHHH.... so well. Slide it in there and steer that reader. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me angry.

Most of your verbs in the first paragraph are passive. Here's your first ten or so: were, fell, is, grow, age, fall, land, land, land, land, was. Notice something? Not very action oriented or overly descriptive. Plus, you have the added problem of repetition. Try other verbs which mean something similar. fell, try crashed, wafted, careened. Grow try shot, enlarged, expanded. Use a thesaurus. The more words you add to your vocab. the better.

Can't emphasize passive verbs enough.

"Q___ Park was not the sort of park one would take a child to." Why? Show me. Use the reader's senses. Let me judge why someone wouldn't bring a child. Perhaps show a mother bringing a child and everyone looking at her in disgust for upsetting the serenity?

Mr. T____? Again an odd name.

"Mr. T was a very ambitious man." Show me. What made him ambitious? Did he jog five miles a day? Climb to the top of steep mountains? Try to take over a few companies? Show me! Let me know. Don't just say it -- DISPLAY IT.

I believe the phrase is "bore him a son."

"He had found a respectable wife..." What made her respectable? Was she well-to-do? Did she make him laugh? What jokes did she tell? Perhaps she was stodgy?

Spell out numbers lower than ten (for sure) and I always do ones lower than a hundred.

Issue: You just stated this isn't the "sort of park one would take a child to" then your main character brings his eight year old to the park?

We need to see the father and son interact on the bench. What did they say? How did they act? What questions did the boy have? What were the fatherly words of wisdom? We see, hear, experience none of that.

Issue: Transition problem. You just state 12 years passed. No break. You continue. What does this sentence: "Q___ Park was not the sort of park one would take a child to." have to do with this sentence: "The somber boy became a man and had learned to share his father’s avarice. Father and son still visited the bench daily." Sentences and information should relate within the same paragraph.


You have a lot of adverbs. Words like earnestly, unexpectedly, harshly, nearly, fortunately, always are all as one reviewer of mine put it "lazy description" and should be avoided. Let the reader determine if it was unexpected or fortunate. If you write the sentence well enough with great word choices, the adverbs become unnecessary. The reader will come to the conclusion that something was unexpectedly, fortunately, etc. A lot of time you can delete the adverbs and it often reads better too. Try it! You'll see. Search out all those -LY ending words.

It was... There was... It was...

What happened to the son? Who is asking these questions? Some omnipresent being?

I like the last line, but it does not make up for the dept of character issues. Nice tie back to your opening sentence.



Plot (C plus) A sad tale. One of remorse (perhaps?) Way too many lose ends. The plot builds slow and steady and the climax just is there. The resolution is only meh.

Grammar & Spelling (B) Not bad here.

Word Choices (C) Action verbs. Descriptive words. Nix the it was's.

Character Development (D) I wish I knew more about this old man and son, but there really isn't anything to relate to. This is by far the weakest area of the story. Were they rich? Poor? Close? Was the son headstrong? Weak? Timid? Flashy? Was the old man melancholy? Did he have other children? Where's his wife? What happened to her? What was the impact on her? Way too many questions left.

Creativity (C) This could be more. Much more. Dialogue, internal thoughts, showing and revealing the story to the reader by using words that relate to senses, emotions, experiences. Very little of that is here.

Overall (C minus) I'd love to give a better overall.

Best Line: "One leaf, the last that had survived through the howling tempest of the previous week, now broke from its branch." I can see this withered, battered leaf breaking away. More of this. Put sound and smells in there too.



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