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176
176
Review of The Window  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi, Pattey,

Your story reads like a 1940's or 50's black and white novel (or movie) out of the midwest somewhere, or maybe a New York or Chicago tenement, where we get an all-too-brief glimpse of Annie's young life of being caught in the middle of almost everything. Sort of a "Grapes of Wrath" without the fruit.

How could our hearts not go out to Annie and want to cherish her as our own, even as a friend? I love the full-size doll who is not only playmate, but confident. We wonder what eventually happens with Annie. Did she follow after her promiscuous sister, who probably went nowhere? Did the father's heavy handedness get worse?

I think many of us were an Annie, or an Arnie, where dust and weeds were sometimes as comfortable and comforting as the softest down. And where our imaginary friends were sometimes our refuge from the madness that might have often surrounded us.

A wonderful, beautiful story that really moved me. An award winner in my opinion. Excellent, excellent writing. Bravo.

Bob

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177
177
Review of true frienship  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (2.5)
Hi,

My attention is always drawn to writers who struggle with English, whether it is their birth language or one they are learning as an additional language. I am also impressed with people who want to write, who have stories to tell, and especially if they are willing to make important improvements.

All stories have two parts: 1) the content of what the story is about, and 2) the technical parts of English grammar and punctuation.

Only with your permission, I'd like to make all the corrections that are needed to the technical part of your story. As I'm sure you know, there are a lot of them that need fixing. But that's for later, if you want.

My main concern in this review is the story itself. Obviously a tragic love story, but in need of some extra "punch". There really is a medical condition where a person cannot go into the daylight. It is called Xeroderma Pigmentosum, and played a role in the movie "The Others" with actress Nicole Kidman.

Everybody loves a sweet love story, even one that ends in tragedy, but your story doesn't give us enough to go on. Especially at the end, where the boy dies at the same time as the girl. The story is so short, we don't have time to develop any real plot, so you might consider adding a supernatural spin to the whole thing.

I like the idea of "love at first sight, first touch, first kiss" and all of that is very good. That it all happens so fast is okay, but not everything else can also happen so quickly -- not without important reasons.

At this stage, I don't want to tell you how to change the ending, or the middle of the story. I just want you to know that it needs changing, and probably in a supernatural way. We all know that vampires can't go into the daylight, for example, but I like the girl having a rare disease. I like the idea that she might sacrifice her last breaths just to see her love one more time. Even if it means her dying.

Maybe there is a curse involved, and the girl is not only cursed with the disease, but if she ever falls in love, it will mean her death. The boy doesn't know this, of course.

What the girl doesn't know is that the boy suffers from the same curse, but that he cannot go out at night.

And if he ever falls in love, he, too will die. This adds a pretty good twist to the story, but would need a little more information about why the boy and girl are both cursed -- with the same curse. The girl banished from the daytime, the boy from the nighttime. And maybe they meet only at dusk, yada, yada, yada.

See how many really cool things could be added to this? Or you can leave it as the same story, in which case most people will not be interested. Stories have to be "powerful" nowadays. They don't need lots of blood or action, but the story has to be strong, different, and with a surprising, even shocking ending. And a strong (and logical) reason for why that particular ending takes place.

Let me know if this helps, and if you'd like more help with this.

Bob

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178
178
Review of A Day in the Life  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
With a moniker like Hyperiongate, how could I refuse your offer to review this?

Excellent work. Well written with a clever conclusion (or just the beginning). I really liked this. And I'm in a bad mood today. I found a few little things you should look at, and listed them below:

Off to his left, "lay" a dead guard; to his right was Lefty Malone. The two had shot it out "only" a few moments earlier. They both "had exceptional aim" and now they were both exceptionally dead.

Their idea of "a first step" was to lob a crate of smoke bombs in the general direction of the alarm "now" screaming out of the bank.

Tony knew he would have to shoot his way out; "a" tough way to go, (comma) but everyone had a bad day at work from time to time. At least this day can’t get any wor…, he half-thought, just as the overhead sprinklers kicked on.

I've taken the liberty of rewriting the last line as follows: (I felt it was a bit awkward and stiff)

At least this day couldn't get any wors.... His thought was suddenly interrupted by the drenching downpour from the overhead sprinklers.

Otherwise I loved this. Really nice work.
Bob

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179
179
Review of Black Magic  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi,

I think the idea for the poem is fresh brewed, but I prefer tea myself. Seriously, maybe too heavy on the personification aspect. The poem is more expresso than decaf and loses some of its kick in the translation. Again, I think your aim was on target and I like the whole idea of the piece. If written with a bit more clarity, without being too obvious, where I sense you were too cautious, I believe this could work quite well and be effective.

Some aspects of esoterica seem to pervade the piece as well, and by that, I mean there is a hint that while some readers won't understand the particular jargon and metaphors you use -- it's as if they should. And only you and "your followers" know the true meaning of what you're talking about. This lends an unnecessary aura of mystery to what should otherwise be a straightforward (and clever) overview of the theme. Without wandering off on tangents that may (or may not) take us off topic.

With some added clarity, less ambiguity, this could easily go from 3 stars to four.
Bob

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180
180
Review of Number One Guy  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
Hi, Kåre Enga,

Yes, I smiled, but as your reviewer, I don't allow myself to laugh *Smile* It's my job to look at this as a piece of writing, and only secondarily as entertainment. Ideally, you accomplish both. You succeed on the humor, but fall way short on the writing side. Not terribly, but enough so that this piece would need a lot of work before it was ready for "prime time" as they say.

I understand that his is supposed to be a "hand" written note from Dad? Or printed off a printer? That's an important consideration nowadays -- for you as the writer. There are fonts which convey a handwritten "look", a kind of scribbling, which this would need if it was intended as a standard letter. Otherwise, the form and format don't work as a piece of prose. All the little nuances that you include, which you think add to the informality, emphasis, and humor of the work, do not help and instead detract from a clear reading of what Dad is saying.

These kind of things are very difficult to write, let alone do them well. A certain finesse is required in the style, and by which readers are not put off by the author's over-the-top attempt to convey the look and "feel" of a personal letter.

Although the content of the work is clever and fresh, again the lack of clarity is enforced (and the piece harmed) by grammar and punctuation that is all over the map, as they say. Let the words speak for themselves. They don't need all the extra help you try to give them. If it's funny, you don't need emphasis.

Now that I feel like a real humbug *Smile* I hope this helps in its own way.
Bob

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181
181
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi, Dave,

Come on, now you're just showing off *Smile* How the hell am I supposed to seriously review perfection? Well, almost perfection. I did find two things to squeal about -- otherwise I don't know if I would have been pissed or pleasantly in awe of your stuff as usual. Yeah, sure, if this is something that needs work, then we all should find other things to do, give up this writing crap, and just go home *Smile*

Anyway, just to play along, since you had the audacity to send me this -- whatever it is -- I'll show you the two HUGE errors I found. Okay, they're really miniscule, but I've got to save face here:

We pump a pile of super poop from prolific brains
and post abundant gobs of graffiti in the john
to paint blunderful word pictures in lyrical chains
and dazzle folks with our arroquent lexicon.

"arrogant" is spelled wrong. Otherwise there ain't no such woid as arroquent. So there.

A proud recipient of the Butt Kiss Award,
I remain oblivious to Sir Byron Crapsalot
and his critical cohorts, whose rants are underscored
by a vast array of incriminating polyglot.

On a slightly more serious note --only slightly -- Butt Kiss is problematic. It just is. I looked it up and it has some meanings which I don't think you intended nor would like much. Any other form of the term would be okay, I think. Everything from Kiss Butt, to Butt Smooch, or whatever. I just don't like Butt Kiss. And neither should you. So there.

Okay, I'm done. You're too good and my fragile ego now needs to go find some fledgling noob and torture the poor bastard until he squeals. And it's on your head that I doth proceed. Just so you know.
Bob

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182
182
Review of Moswen's Plight  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hi, Alagar,
Isn't this a much improved version of your original story? Definitely. Still needs work, which means nothing more than "editing" for clarity and precise meanings. Something like this story probably should be rewritten (additional drafts) about three or more times. After that, it will be ready for a professional review, which means no longer haggling over punctuation and grammar. But we're not there yet. I've made some corrections and comments below for you to review and consider, and learn not to make the same mistakes again. We all do, but at least you're on your way to learning not to *Smile* See my final comments at the bottom.

Believing herself invincible, she thought, “Nothing could possibly ruin this day!” Unfortunately, it was destined to be spoiled.

In the sentence above, never use quotes with thoughts. Only with actual dialogue.

Seizing the opportunity, a deadly cobra wound it’s way out of the sparse brush and across the sand toward the princess in her careless slumber. "Ah, yesss," the serpent whispered to itself, "another carelesss human to feast upon. Oh how I love the feeling of my fangsss ssinking into their sssoft flesh as the venom rushesss into their blood."

Notice above that I combined two paragraphs into one, and the snake now whispers to itself. This allows you to use the nice touch of "slurring" the words and making them snakelike -- I liked that. There's a lot about how to correctly do paragraphs in this message, so pay close attention *Smile* Especially to the next section.

The snake neared Moswen, and then drew back its head preparing to strike.

Just before the serpent's deadly fangs would have plunged into the body of the (queen, right?), an angry viverrine rushed to save her, diving and screeching at the cobra.

Moswen bolted awake, and screamed in her fright.

The rescuer then dove at the cobra and plunged its sharp teeth deep into the top of the snake's neck, surprising it, and causing the serpent to fall dead to the ground.

In the new paragraphs above, each "player" or character is given their own paragraph as it should be. Never combine two characters into one paragraph unless the action itself only involves one character. See the last paragraph directly above? Notice how the whole thing is now about the mongoose? Compare the changes I've made to each of these sentences and paragraphs and inspect how I broke them up and added some new words, removed a few, too.

New stuff below:

Moswen saw this and shouted in alarm, “Atum, no!” But it was too late. As the arrow hurtled through the air on a perfect path towards the animal’s head, the queen leapt through the air, placing herself between the arrow and its intended target. A terrifying instant later, Moswen crashed to the ground as the deadly shaft buried itself deep into the woman's chest.

In the crucial scene above, the action has to be fast -- as fast as the arrow. Note the changes I made to your original in order to accomplish this.

Notice how I cut this down to a bare minimum of words. You don't want a lot of description. The reader will know what's happened with very little added input from you. Notice also how I try to use synonyms whenever possible. Don't repeat the same words over and over again. Keep it simple unless we need important information. Use personal pronouns like "he" and "she" instead of repeating names over and over. "Queen" for Moswen, or "she", or "the woman".

New stuff below:

Atum dropped his bow (no comma) and rushed to her side in the horrifying realization of what he had done. (don't need "just") Tears streamed down his face as the prince, (king?) his hands shaking, picked up his bride. Sobbing a deep, mournful cry, he knew she had only moments to live. “Why?" he pleaded. "Why did you take my arrow for that wretched animal?" We already know he's crying, and we don't need to repeat the obvious. We know that he thought she was being threatened. Notice how I changed some sentence here, too. The reason is that we don't want to put too much into any one sentence, and don't use too many words ending in "ing". It gets to be boring, fast. We want to make our sentences interesting, with different lengths, and said in different ways, with the fewest possible words, adjectives, and verbs.

Keep in mind what I said about additional drafts. It's normal to do them over and over again until we get it right. Not perfect, just "clean" as they say. And watch those paragraphs. Each character gets their own. But to make it interesting, combine them, here and there, but always where our POV (point of view) is from a single individual.

Let me know when you're ready for some added input *Smile*
Bob

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
183
183
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Dave,

Spectacular mix of history and docudrama. Beautifully written and stands as one of the better, if the best, works of this sort that it's been my pleasure to review. Bravo on all counts while doing a terrific (and horrific) homage piece to one of lesser known true stories of the Civil War. I loved it from first word to the last. Almost *Smile*

I'm torn on the ghostly, supernatural slant to the piece. I love the idea, but I'm not sure the promise lives up to the execution. It's a nice touch, but as such a small, undeveloped element, it begs the question of whether or not it's really needed. I realize the POV is Frank's alone, and it could have just as well been that of a living relative who is passing on the story via his own research and knowledge. Ala Titanic.

I suppose, in the final analysis, the argument is that it adds a bit of a cutesy aspect to a story that otherwise honors the courage and bravery of a group of men who were victimized by an ignorance of carbon-dioxide asphyxiation. If Disney did the story or the Discovery Channel, it would work absolutely.

It still works. And I wouldn't listen to me. But I'd think about it.

Once again, my stovepipe hat is off to you, my friend. You should be proud of this, and I'm sure you are.
Bob

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
184
184
Review of Moswen's Plight  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (2.5)
Hi, Alagar,

I thought you got off to a rousing start with your story, and gave readers an interesting and disturbing event to witness. But...this is more of a prologue to a longer story, don't you think? Even short stories need a conclusion of sorts, and yours provides, instead, the cliffhanger we expect to find at the beginning of a novel or novella.

The double spacing makes editing easier, but reading more difficult, and my personal advice is to single space, as if your work was already published. It's more helpful to you, I think, if you can see your writing as it would appear if published, in which case you may make additional mistakes which need fixing. So all in all, give us your best shot.

Once you squeeze all this together, I think you'll find some additional rough spots in the writing that need work and attention. But especially the climax and the ending. Let me give you a quick example of what I'm talking about, that you may find helpful.

Allow me the liberty to rewrite part of your story, just for demonstration only:

Instead of a mouse, which is cliche, let's say that a badger is what frightens the elephant. Maybe it was asleep, the elephant nearly steps on it, and in the ruckus, the princess is left alone just like before. With no sign of the badger or the elephant. Exhausted, the princess falls asleep. That's when the snake, a deadly cobra, appears and is about bite and kill the girl.

But out of the nearby brush, the badger reappears, as if from nowhere, then attacks the cobra and kills it just moments before the snake would have bitten the princess. Badgers do kill cobras in real life.

In your story, the badger, as if to make up for the trouble he caused, has saved the princess' life. Just then, the husband, frantic with worry over the late arrival of his wife, has been searching for her. When the husband sees the badger with the princess, he mistakenly thinks she is in danger and he slays the badger with an arrow.

Now that's a story, my friend. Notice how many interpretations can be pulled from all the different ideas and elements the reader has to work with? Let me know if you get what I'm saying and what I've tried to show you. Ask me any questions which you have as well.
Bob

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
185
185
Rated: E | (4.0)
20-Mike-14, this is too good to be so short. I had to read it twice and liked it better each time. I like the idea that the view is apparently from Saturn. I think a half page would do this justice, given a bit more explanation such as the location being from one of Saturn's moons and not the essentially uninhabitable planet itself. Life is thought to be possible among the moons of the gas giants in our solar system, so it's easier to go with as much realism as possible.

Although this theme has been done before, I like the fresh twist that your writing puts to it. Very nice. And still a shocker once you get it. More of a shocker, I think, with a more detailed setup. Not a lot, but maybe three times its current size. Give us some extra punch in the detail of deep space, the rings, other moons nearby, some distant. Other colonies on other moons. I'd play with this a bit more before finalizing it. Lots of possibilities. But I'm with you, also. Keep it simple. Just not too simple *Smile*
Bob


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
186
186
Review of Writer's Block!  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, Ben, I thought your opinion piece was provocative enough, and written well enough, to provoke a response from yours truly. And I'm always truthful *Smile*

I heard a definition one time, of what writers block really is, in actuality. I liked the definition and in all honesty, have never suffered from the condition since.

One first needs to recognize that there's no such thing as writers block. That's a good first step, wouldn't you say? So what is meant, then, by the term when people use it? One explanation is found in an examination of why we decided to write anything in the first place, way back when. The answer is a kind of romance novel, a love affair where we fall in love and from time to time, fall out of love.

What is commonly referred to as writers block is, in reality, little more than the grief we feel, a broken heart, if you will, that results from a major breakup, a split, a love affair gone painfully bad. In effect, we've either fallen out of love with writing, or writing, we feel, has somehow betrayed us and is no longer our lover who once embraced with a great passion.

Defeating writers block means falling in love again. Whether it's within a story already started, or beginning an entirely new piece of work, we need to court, flirt, and otherwise treat the writing as if it were a living, breathing person who craves our love and attention. And who are we to refuse such an inviting offer?

They say that make-up sex is really great. I seem to recall the truth in that, though it's been a while *Smile* For some people, they need to metaphorically do the same with something they're currently writing. For new material, whether she (or he) is a blond, brunette, or redhead, it's time to turn on the charm and start wooing the hell out of them. More likely than not, you'll be rollicking in the old hot tub before you know it. Writers block? Who? You? Never!

Whatever one decides to write, to reacquaint themselves with, the "quality" of the writing can also be its own Viagra, so to speak. Boning up on the basics of good grammar and punctuation is another surefire solution to getting back into the dating game, so to speak.

The amoral to the story, then, is that once we recapture the passion, we don't have to search through drawers looking for inspiration. The inspiration will find us. She (or he) will come crawling back, begging forgiveness, and welcoming any advance you might wish to make. So drop your inhibitions, grab the cialis, and go for it.

Let me know if this helps. And if you guys are back on speaking terms. Or more *Smile*
Bob


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
187
187
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | N/A (Review only item.)
Hi, littleMolly, you're not going to be happy with this review. So please allow me to get that out of the way, right away.
In answer to your questions, your story is boring and needs lots of improvements. But is it any good at all? Let me tell you the good news. Which is the fact that you came to this website, created an account, and made an effort to share something of yourself and put it into writing. This is a big step for people to make, and you should be proud of yourself for taking that step.

That said, you need to take a deep breath and understand that you have a lot of work to do, if you ever want to write something that people will both read and enjoy. A lot of work to do. I don't want to discourage you so much that you want to give up before you even get started, but at the same time, you want to have a realistic idea of how much there is for you to learn.

Almost everything in your writing is worded poorly with missing or wrong punctuation, haphazard spacing, and the list goes on for a while longer. Anyone who reads your stuff and tells you any different is not helping you. This is like boot camp, in a way, where you joined the army and the sergeant in charge is yelling at the new enlistees, telling them to shape up if they want to be soldiers. So do you want to be a writer one day? Well, you need to drop and give me twenty pushups to start, soldier *Smile* If you're willing to do that, writing-wise, there's a place for you here. I think you've got what it takes because you sound brave and gutsy.

But, OMG, littleMolly, dust off a grammar book or two, and grab a few books by well known authors. Study how they write all kinds of scenes and compare them to what you've written. This website is ill-equipped to do intensive, line-for-line editing and critiquing. But it's a great place to measure your progress. See if there's a group you can join, even here somewhere, where people like yourself can get the one-on-one attention you need -- at least for a while.

Let me know if you have any more questions (if we're still on speaking terms) *Smile* and I'd be happy to give you another nudge in the right direction.
Bob



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
188
188
for entry "Invocations
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi, jonjames (that's easier than writing out "The Escape Artist" which I just did anyway) *Smile* This review is a followup to my previous commentary regarding the prologue to your fine work, Threads in the Tapestry.

I looked though two different chapters to make sure my criticisms weren't misplaced, but indeed represented my concerns accurately. First, I found no problem with the dialogue. In fact, it's as excellent as all the rest of the narrative. But I did encounter something distracting and off-putting.

Before I say anything, I have to confess that I didn't check, but your stuff is on Amazon and elsewhere, right? As regular books or as eBooks or both? Like I said, I'm running around here, sort of doing "flash" reviews for now, and before moving on, I wanted to compliment your work once more, and take a moment to bitch about the problem I found. You also should have a website. They're cheap nowadays, and easy enough to make on your own. I did mine, and I'm no wizard when it comes to such things. Let me know if you have any questions along these lines -- I've already made the mistakes so you don't have to *Smile*

Okay, so what's going on with all the paragraphs? I think you win the prize for novels with the most paragraphs. I don't know if this is the result of transcribing the text from elsewhere, and you just didn't feel the need to squish together what needed squishing, or whether you intended the format, as it is, from the beginning.

If it's a matter of the latter, I don't like the style. While being easy as hell to read, and it looks good on the page, I found myself (more often than I liked) getting lost as to who was speaking, and to whom exactly, the narrative applied in certain circumstances.

You have three different narratives happening simultaneously. You have the narrative that describes what the characters themselves are doing. You have the narrative that describes how the characters are thinking and how they're speaking, plus you have a third narrative which is you, the author, telling us what is happening from the "omniscient" POV, as it's called. Where the author is kind of a third character who we never see or interact with. And who knows all and sees all *Smile* Sort of like I am in real life.

None of this ought to be a problem as long as we don't lose the reader in the process. Either their ability to follow along, or worse, their attention span. I found myself being jarred, shaken back and forth among all the paragraphs, losing track somewhat, as to whether the author was describing, or a character was thinking. For example, there are scenes where a given character does something, even thinks something, then -- presumably for no other reason than aesthetic -- readers are diverted to a new paragraph simply because that character opens their mouth and says something. I've not seen this style of writing before and, like I said, found it disconcerting.

The last thing we want to do (listen to me, like I'm your personal guru) *Smile* is confuse readers in the midst of what is an extremely narrative heavy writing style. I like the style because I use it myself. Lots of descriptions and so forth. But I remember, also, that I had to very careful to keep my readers appraised of what things applied only to specific characters, and what observations were solely the author's separate input, only indirectly, or incidentally related to individual characters themselves.

Well, I hope some of this makes sense. For me, it's a fairly big deal. For others, maybe not so much. I think it's more than just a subjective thing on my part, however. I think we need to not only keep the dialogue as our central focus of any story, but keep it "glued" both to the speaker, and the narrative that surrounds him or her.

Let me know if this made any sense. Otherwise, it's been my pleasure to speak with someone who's at the top of their game (almost) *Smile* and exchange some ideas about the "science" of writing. Keep up the good work and catch a big, fat salmon for me.
Bob


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
189
189
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hi, I took a look at the Prologue to this story and read it first. Then I came here to see how the Prologue plays into the first chapter. And I found a free verse poem staring back at me. Not a problem, in the sense that its all easily and quickly fixed, but you're treating writing as if it were an art sculpture, where there are no restrictions, compared to writing a story -- any story -- where there are nothing but restrictions. And guidelines. And rules of structure, so on and so forth.

So first and foremost, we need to move things around until you have either a poem, or a story -- which is it going to be? I assume you want a story, so let's proceed from there. In its current state, the work is almost impossible to review, not because the writing isn't any good, but because it's just too hard to read -- as a story.

I liked the Prologue and despite some structure problems there, too, it reads well enough and sets the stage from what's to come. My real concerns with the Prologue is that there's too much physical description of things that we don't care about, and not enough mention of the stuff we really do care about. You're missing the proverbial "smoking gun" laying on the couch next to the woman, blood on her dress, maybe in her hair, and the reader is left wondering, "Whoa, I wonder what this is all about."

That's likely not your story, but it needs to be, in terms of you taking the most dramatic element or circumstances that happen later on, and "plant" them right into the prologue where they belong. But only as hints.

As for the actual chapter itself, please do yourself a favor and put it all together so that it resembles a standard text and page style. Why, you may ask, is that so important? Why can't you write your story any way you want. The answer is that you can. The problem is that no one but you will read it. People who read books generally read a lot of books. They don't read books for how they look, but for what they say. Readers grow accustom to certain standards and format structures they're familiar with. They don't want to spend time trying to decipher your particular innovative style that deviates completely from what they're used to. That's just a harsh reality of literary life.

Still want to do it on your own, in your own way? Be our guest. I'd love to see you prove me wrong. But it's a fool's bet as they say, because the odds are stacked way in my favor. So why bother with the hassle? If the story is good, it doesn't need any extra help. Trust me. I had to learn that the hard way more than once.

To get you started, here's your first two paragraphs done up in standard style: (Minus the first line indent)

Kaelyn had just got out of her college English class when the snow started to drift faster to the earth. She stared in awe at the grayish-purple clouds that covered the sky; they were beautiful. The snow was just so amazing and pure.
Her short, curly red hair danced around her head as her hips dipped with a sexy gait she'd developed since moving to New Mexico. Albuquerque.

She pulled at her short, white, flirty skirt and black leggings as she walked. She wasn't usually one for shirts, but since moving here, she had grown more accustomed to them -- and more comfortable with her whole body. Not that she had much between the almost unbearable, dry heat of the summer, and her new friend Jazmin Bostick.

Pardon me, but if you look close at the punctuation and the addition of some new words I threw in (just for effect) you'll see, I think, how cool this story starts to look. Just like the real deal. That second paragraph is confusing, so you'll want to work on stuff like that, which really becomes evident when you rearrange things around. Messes with your head, but in writing, that's usually a good thing *Smile*

Let me know if this helps. And if you have any questions.
Bob



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Review of Caged Bird  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, Tuesday. As you'll see, I took your poem and rearranged it, corrected some words, and added a few new ones of my own. So why did I do this? Well, it wasn't because I'm trying to show you a "right" way versus your original which was not a "wrong" way. Sometime we rearrange the furniture in our house just to see what it looks like. Just to get a "feel" for the different ways things can go together. Do you notice how differently your lovely poem reads now? I hope you find it interesting how these things can be changed and moved around. I think your poem reads much better now. But I would never say it's now perfect and doesn't need any more changes. Just the opposite. What you see here is the beginning, and not the end. Play with this, use a dictionary and make sure the words you use are just right for what you want to say.

I hope this is helpful for you, in turning your glasses upside down *Smile* Especially if they're bifocals. Poems are often like puzzle pieces and here's one combination that looks like it wants to work with the words you've chosen. Make a new puzzle and see if the picture, when it's done, is more like the one inside your head *Smile*

Let me know if this was useful. Thanks.
Bob

Far from the light,
Deep in the dark,
Pretty inside, but hidden from life.
Oh, what I'd give to fly
In the dark of night.

Hope never smelled so good,
Anger never tasted so sweet.
One day you'll feel defeat.
You cut my wing,
When all I wanted was a chance
To frolic in the sky,
To dance, to laugh, to cry, to go outside.
Yet all I do is sing for you,
Trapped by love and misery too.

It's a shame.
Nobody knows my name.
No one sees my face.

To walk with you,
Would crush me.
Why won't you let me be free?
Free from this cage of love.

You suffocate me,
You intimidate me.
I don't want you any more.
I don't want us anymore.

I just want to run.



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191
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Oh, my goodness, women as lambs, led to the slaughter, and if they escape, then watch out for who's now the tiger or tigress. That said, I certainly understand the metaphor as a man, but I suspect lots of women will reject the idea that they're essentially helpless little lambs.

Hi, Joyce, I'm left wondering what the real intended message is here. From whose POV are we truly seeing things? On the one claw, it comes across as a warning to men, that women are on to them. Or is it the man, the tiger, who both justifies his behavior and also realizes that sometimes it's better to tread lightly lest he rouse the beast within the lamb herself?

The space between the first part of the poem and the four lines at the bottom forces us to see some new emphasis, as if a scene change had taken place and possibly even a new POV from man to woman.

It may be that I'm too tired, or that a line or two is still missing. Or that or word or two needs changing that would remove all doubt as to who is who.

Ideally, the woman pretends to be lamblike, feigns vulnerability as part of the courting cycle, then reveals herself to be a tiger of equal stature as the man, who then himself, reverts to a lamblike state. That sounds like real life to me in the fast lane of modern relationships *Smile*

Be that as it may, nicely done, and another fine work that provokes a multitude of interpretations, all of them interesting. Me? I'd prefer a bit of a rewrite, but that's me. And I don't know if I'm the tiger here or the lamb. So I'm reluctant to commit myself one way or another *Smile*
Bob



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Review of Stygian Souls  
Rated: E | (4.0)
A different take on the "living dead" theme, perhaps. Sometimes the opposites are as applicable as the obvious, and I like this because it can be taken in at least two different ways. Taken literally, it's scary and captures the fear of someone surrounded by forces both super and natural -- someone who knows and understands they have a lot of company who shares their terror -- or someone who suddenly realizes they are indeed surrounded by less than friendly souls who are likely jealous of the life force of our main character.

If we allow our imaginations to expand a bit, we see an entirely different realm where everyday life becomes zoo-like, filled with seeming zombies who wander the world in the guise of otherwise normal people, but all or most of whom suffer from the torments of a technocracy, a cold inferno, indeed a Stygian conglomeration of self-created and self-imposed horrors.

And he or she is not alone in seeing the light, the truth, that civilization itself has become its own version of Dante's underworld, where a symbolic sun is setting against the backdrop of human frailties of despair and superstition.

Nice poem, so cheerful and uplifting *Smile* Seriously a nice work that I really like. Even if you didn't intend it, I love the double entendre meaning that comes through the piece.
Bob


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193
193
Review of The Green Door  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, Joseph, this is too long to edit for grammar and punctuation, but it is nonetheless an excellent piece of work. I thought it was very good. I liked the secondary message that the boy was happy that he at least was brave enough to open the door. That's pretty mature thinking for his age, and pushes the boundaries of what a five-year-old might come up with. A possible alternative is for the boy to confess to his Godmother that he indeed sneaked into the house and opened the door. But there was nothing there, and he whines or cries about it. Then it's the woman who tells him how brave he was, and that he had passed a great test of courage. As the boy leaves with his parents, the Godmother pulls the boy aside and whispers into his ear, "Next time you come over, don't forget to look behind the mirror." And then the story ends with the coin rolling out and the door closing on its own.

This work was written much better than the first one I reviewed. In terms of structure, grammar and the rest. I have a hard time believing the same person wrote both. You were right at home here, and knew exactly what you were doing. In the Peanut Butter Troll, you seemed rather lost. With only a light editing here, The Green Door could be a masterful piece of work. Unfortunately you need to change the title, however -- in my opinion. The reason is because green doors have been used a hundred times -- even in pornography. Make it the red door, blue door, anything other than green.

If you were to publish this piece, I would edit it for you at no charge. It wouldn't have to be perfect, but just good enough to publish. If we're keeping it around for fun, right now, it's just fine as is. With something like this, you can't do a quick, down and dirty edit. Either you go all the way, or leave it be until it's ready for the full treatment *Smile*

Very nice, Joseph. Good job.


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Review of War never changes  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hi, just a quick review on this, where I changed a couple of small words, but mostly indicated the correct paragraph breaks that were needed. It is difficult sometimes for writers to know, more or less, when to break their work into separate sections and paragraphs. I almost didn't read this solely because it lacked the necessary divisions that make it far more interesting. Especially the ability to add the single line at the end, which gives the whole piece its meaning.

This doesn't mean, nor should you read it to mean, that my breaks are the only ones possible. But they're fairly good and demonstrate how these things are generally done. Paragraphs usually express a single thought, or group of related thoughts, then move on to the next paragraph. They can be broken according to emphasis, also, as with the last line.

There are other errors here, but the lack of paragraphs was the most obvious and detrimental. See what you think and whether you get a different feel for the work now. You might see something new, or a different way to structure the piece. I'm not sure whether mentioning the specific title of the movie is needed. Give some thought to whether it helps your story or not. I can see it both ways.

Let me know if this was helpful, and by the way, I felt this was a nice "chunk" of writing that definitely deserved the time it took to do this review. Note, too, that it was WWI and not WWII *FacePalm*
With some added work, this could be a good anti-war piece. No such thing as a bad anti-war piece, really. Let me know if you have any questions -- really.
Bob

Last night I was at a marching band contest when an old friend who had moved away last year, came to visit. It was quite the pleasant reunion, and I can’t deny it felt great to have the old group back together. Though the good times were ever so slightly spoiled by the thoughts provoked by one particular conversation.

I knew that most of my friends planned on entering some form of military (service) after they graduated, but I never considered it for myself. The subject of enlistment arose in conversation, and my friend Riley said that he was thinking about joining the Green Berets Devin (the friend who came to visit) said that he shouldn’t because they’re the first to get shipped out,

Riley replied with “yeah thats the point.” Whether this was him showing evidence of a death wish or a misguided view of the grandeur of war I don’t know, but either way it was unnerving. However, what came next was significantly worse.

Devin suggested that Riley should come into the Navy with him, (and) this was followed by “just think about it.” He would have continued but thankfully he was interrupted by a newcomer to the conversation.

After that the conversation jumped subjects, but in that fleeting moment after he said “just think about it,” I did. And for half a second I thought that “hey, I’m still not sure what I’m gonna do with my life, I’ll be with my two best friends, and maybe, just maybe this is what I should do with my life.” In that instance I saw an entire future of good times being out there with my friends, and working for a higher meaning. Then the other half of that second hit, and all that came crashing to the ground.

Something about this situation seemed eerily familiar, I was reminded of the film “All Quiet on the Western Front.” The movie tells the story of a group of friends who, after being filled with images of glory and grandeur by their elders, decide to enlist in the army immediately after graduating. They were so happy and excited to be young, surrounded by friends, and fighting for some higher purpose.

The story then follows them through the years of WWI as they all realize what war is truly like and how horrible the world can be. Slowly they all die off in horrible displays of the evils of mankind. In the end they’re all gone and forgotten, their deaths virtually meaningless.

This is not how I want to spend my life.



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Review of The Bay  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, I liked your poem a lot. But you do know this is a haiku, right? Or is this just a wild coincidence? Haiku's have a 5-7-5 syllable count, and three lines accordingly. Five syllables in the first line, and so forth. So were you pulling my leg? That's the exact syllable count of your poem. And you don't need a title for a haiku. Look it up and see what you think.

That said, are all three line poems that just so happen to match the right syllable count -- haikus? No, not necessarily. But if it swims like a koi, looks like a koi, and has the same bright colors, well, you know the rest.

Here's your poem dressed up as a haiku: all lines centered

sad eyes search white waves
across the shimmering bay (across a shimmering bay)
my heart is sinking

Let me know if this is just a coincidence or whether you knew all along what you were doing *Smile* Regardless, the poem is great.
Bob




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196
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Ooh, this is a juicy one to review, but first I have to comment on how delightful are the blinking feline eyes of your portfolio case. Very cool. I think the darn thing blinked at me fifty times before I finally figured out what the holy heck was going on *Smile* You'll have to teach me how to do that one day, when I'm wealthy enough to afford the site's first-class tickets. *Smile*

That said, time to get to it. Okay, the writing is excellent overall. It's like this next-to-the-last draft sort of thing where some final, but important edits are found necessary and wanting. They're all easy fixes with some being stylistic in nature, and others just plain structural boo-boos.

I hope you won't mind, but the best way to show what I'm talking about is to shamefully type right on top of your own work. Please follow the bouncing cursor *Smile*

“Aw, we live on Neptune!" Oberon shouted out in frustration. "Why do we need to learn about people who lived on another planet thousands of years ago?”

Notice how I moved the speaker closer to the first expressed thought. We want to know who's speaking and how they're saying it, as soon as possible in any given sentence of dialogue.

“Oberon!" Rhea Vesta snapped at the unruly ten year old. "You will not interrupt in my class.”

So these were two examples of what I consider to be a very important structure consideration.

Rhea collected her thoughts. Sometimes I wonder why I took this job as a History and "Stellar" Cartography teacher.
You meant stellar, right? Man is this guy picky or what?

“As I was saying…many of you have some percentage of human in your bloodlines. (small m, not capital)

After a short period of chemical and nuclear weapons "usage", there was nothing at all left of their home planet.” The word, usage, sounds weak here. Maybe a word like "destruction" would work better: After a period of destruction from chemical and nuclear weapons, there was...

Ooh, my favorite: the elusive ellipsis. They generated oxygen through electrolysis…” Although this sentence is technically correct, it doesn't use the ellipsis correctly in this instance. You intend the ellipsis to indicate an interruption by the bell. But it's confusing because the cut-off comes at the end of a complete sentence. It works much more effectively when the sentence being interrupted is more obviously cut-off in mid-stride. For example, look how easily this is remedied: They generated oxygen through electrolysis and…”

As you all know, our ancestors here on Neptune discovered and rescued the struggling human colony while mining on the Martian moon of Phobos. Your homework is to write a report about the archived story from one of those early colonists."

I don't understand what the above paragraph means. Their Neptunian ancestors were mining on Phobos when they discovered a struggling human colony? I have no idea who's doing what with whom here. Please clarify *Smile*

I like the scene changes. I forgot what they're called.

“Rhea!” Grace, Rhea’s neighbor, caught her breath as she ran to catch the teacher before she entered her house. “It’s your daughter, Miranda!

Rhea's neighbor, Grace, caught her breath as she ran to catch the teacher before she entered the house. "Rhea!" she called, "...it's your daughter, Miranda. (I think this reads smoother. It's so easy to confuse personal pronouns with the appropriate character, it doesn't hurt to word it as well as possible. Which isn't necessarily my version)

"She's" lost quite a bit of life essence, and no one can find her healing horse.

Rhea checked the small bump at her temple and realized that it was indeed shut off; she must have pressed it by accident. “Grace, where’s Miranda now?” Tears then dripped/ran down her face as well.

In the sentence above, the first comma was removed and a semi-colon added. Even though these changes weren't necessary, technically, they do help to break the monotony of all the sentences being structured in the same way. Just as sentence lengths are varied, so is punctuation usage, just to keep things"jumping". Notice that I removed the words "streaming" and "now" which were unnecessarily repeated and sounded boring *Smile*

Miranda fell down a long drop. Luke ran home to tell me, and I called the rescue unit...but they can’t fix her. (again, here's a correct usage of the ellipsis in mid-sentence. One of the many reasons I love the ellipsis is because its use is so wonderfully varied, but whose proper usage can be demanding)

Rhea felt dizzy after the words that Grace quickly blurted out sunk in.
Try this instead: Hearing the words that Grace quickly blurted out, Rhea felt dizzy as they sunk in. Or, As the words quickly blurted out by Grace sunk in, Rhea felt Dizzy. I tried to separate the verbs "blurted" and "sunk" which run too close together. Try to do a better job than I did *Smile*

When a contact list appeared in front of her face, she clicked on her Aunt Lucy’s name. The "relative" lived right outside of the forest. (the first part wasn't a complete sentence or thought)

Let me know if she is, and I’ll have Miranda "'transported" there at once." (do you mean as in "beaming" like in Star Trek? By pickup truck? By sled dogs? Sling shot, what? *Smile*

Another nice (and appropriately timed) scene change. Darn, I still can't remember what these breaks are called.

Rhea found herself crying again, this time "with" tears of joy (no comma) as she watched Miranda’s pretty blue eyes open.

If you change POV to Miranda, she needs her own paragraph:

Miranda smiled as she hugged the champagne colored horse. Only moments earlier, the seven-year-old's limp, barely breathing body had been placed on the life-giving horse. The girl was going to be fine.

If you don't want to overuse the word, "as" then the above could be re-worded thusly:

Hugging the champagne-colored horse, Miranda smiled. (I also changed some of the subsequent wording in the paragraph. In case you hadn't noticed *Smile*

Rhea felt her heart ping with joy at (hearing) her little one’s words.

Okay, time for apologies. I feel like we were dancing and I stepped on your toes during the whole song. So forgive me if I overstepped myself. This piece was so easy to edit because it was so well put together to begin with. I mean that, really. As you know, all too well, I'm sure, this whole self-editing stuff is tuff. Nor was my intention to be the teacher and you the student. I don't like being presumptuous and if my critique comes across as such, then such was not my intent.

Tip-toeing through the tulips of your garden helps me as much as I hope it serves your own interests. Anyway, thanks for allowing me to trample on some of your flowers, and either make a fool of myself, be a helpful little elf, or both *Smile*

If you incorporate some or most of my suggestions and recommendations, I believe this piece can pretty much be put to bed. The ending is a tad soft, but fits the rest of the story well enough. After the dust settles and you're happy with the work, I think we could add a tiny touch to the end that would spruce it up a bit. Or not. Let me know *Smile*
Bob
















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197
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi, MidnightAngel, I just got through reading your kids story about Globby and Friends. My first question is whether this will be illustrated or not. Books with pictures are treated differently from those that aren't. This reads and is structured as if we have seen paintings or drawing of the all the characters in question. I like the list of characters up top, as if players on the stage all taking a bow beforehand -- especially if they're like individual portraits of the characters.

I'm also interested in the target age for the audience. Which determines the overall length of the finished piece, yes? Not always, but usually. If you recall, in Disney's Bambi, for one, all the forest creatures knew each other, because they were already friends. One gets the impression that everybody knows everybody except for the Leprechaun, who seems new to the group. Depending on the ages of the reader, the Irish dialect may look and sound odd also. Unless someone reads it to them and is good with the "Lucky Charms" lingo *Smile*

Depending on how long this is intended to be, a lead-up, lead-in story can be a nice touch, also. That's where the "Once upon a time" came into play, and acted as a fun "intro" where many if not most of our main characters can make take their first bows, so to speak.

Again, if we don't see full page illustrations of the forest, the trees, sky, ground, flowers, bushes, and grass, then you need to describe these things, if only lightly. Let alone the characters themselves.

A good cast of characters also gives us the chance to "plant" plot "cues". These are little things for which no real explanation is given, but the role or purpose of which comes into play later in the story. For example, we've heard of the Dark Fairy and the Evil Troll. We need to quickly establish why the Fairy is dark and the Troll evil. If only slightly.

For instance, Globby may still wear a metal neckpiece that one of the villains used when he was held prisoner at one time. But we don't necessarily let on about this other than to show that Globby wears such a thing. One or more of the other characters are slightly damaged in one way or another -- yet another result of something one of our villains had done in the past.

Whatever the ending is, all the characters are made "whole" and restored to their healthy and original condition. That sort of thing. But done as you see fit, or course. Let me know if this made sense, and if you'd like some serious tips on the correct way to structure dialogue sequences. When you have several characters all vying for attention, it can be a tad difficult. I bet you already found that to be true *Smile*

Globby is my fave character so far, though I do favor villains. As well as the most vulnerable of the players. They're always fun to mess with *Smile*

Bob


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Review of HEART DEAD  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hi, Jasmine, although I'm not a fan of "Punished", I thought this poem was excellent. And I may be reading something into it that you did, or did not intend. But that's what makes poetry great. I felt you captured the anguish of a mother who sees her grown child as a stranger, almost. Who, in growing up and presumably leaving the proverbial nest, has "betrayed" the bond that once existed. I think this piece can be read as the histrionics of a mother in despair over her own "loss" as opposed to the child being an adult who likely has their own life now -- and who may, or may not -- come visiting as much as the mom would like. It's as if the mother is indeed in a grave now, wallowing in a self-made coffin which, at an earlier time, was a thriving relationship. One where the mother was needed, where the child depended on her for everything and now, for seemingly nothing.

Very cool, in terms of how I read it. And I'm usually pretty good with this stuff -- if I say so myself *Smile*

Let me know if this is how you meant the piece to be read, or if I put my own spin on it, for better or worse. Thanks.
Bob


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199
Rated: E | (3.5)

Hi, Luis,

Please forgive my tinkering with your poem, but I wanted to see it this way, to see what it might look like in this format. I like it much better -- but that's me. I changed a word here and there, not because they're better than yours, but only to experiment. Do some experimenting on your own, like I did. See if you like what I did. Or not. It's just my opinion, but I've had a lot of experience with this sort of thing, so I hope you'll give it some thought.

Separate from my changes, I really liked this, and as a pet owner (who owns who?) *Smile* your little tail reminded me of the many adoptions I've had (who adopted who?)

Let me know if this was helpful. Notice the only punctuation comes in the third line of each stanza.
Bob


Chapter One
The Pound
A place of Hope.

Chapter Two
The Black
Her chocolate eyes pierce my soul, begging for kindness.

Chapter Three
The Room
She comes inside the room with us, and shows how sweet she is.

Chapter Four
Begging and Leaving
She begs, we leave.

Chapter Five
Home
We take her, she takes our love.

My dog
My Callie.
My life


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Review of Life and Death  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi, just a quick comment about how sometimes a person strikes gold and doesn't appear to realize it. The beginning here is quite good, storywise, and carries through to the middle. Because I think you didn't see the real magic of what you'd written, you let the rest of the story just drift away. So what's so good about this, in my opinion? I'm glad you asked *Smile*

The whole concept of Life and Death, as if a variation on Adam and Eve, is kind of a unique idea and full of great potential. I like the whole idea that Life is a lovable lie, while Death is hated. And the two are debating the subject as if involved in a lover's spat. They could even be lovers. The whole thing just drips with a mythological twist, angelic, devilish, and very "gothic" in nature. It's a winner if you want it to be.

My concern is that you didn't seem to take the work as seriously as I did *Smile* I hope that changes and that you decide to sculpt this into the fine piece it wants to be. If you do, let me know. I'd like to help more, using a hammer and chisel together *Smile*

Bob


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