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151
151
Review of Deserted island  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Hi, Maryann,

It's me, Bob, back again for seconds with package fulfillment reviews. This one also caught my eye, so when I read your dark little tale, I knew I had to review it.

In 1959, Gregory Peck starred in a movie with an all-star cast that included Ava Gardner among others. I know you're way ahead of me, and know the title was "On the Beach". In 2000, Armand Assante and Rachel Ward starred in an adequate remake of the same movie. This gave at least two to three age generations an ability to appreciate the story -- one which has always held a special place in my heart and brain both.

While your story is very different, it certainly shares some of the same qualities found in the two films mentioned. I like the smaller, more intimate scale in which yours differs from the other epics. The theme itself, of a family caught in a safe area while the bombs went off, was also featured in a Ray Milland film, and I seem to recall others as well.

So while there's nothing new under the sun, as they say, I really liked your updated version which again takes us on a trip of sorts, where the unimaginable happens. If this were made into a film, I'd go see it. The theme is so compelling and profound, that it can't be overdone. And you have done it justice here, absolutely. And did so without copying or mimicking any of the other versions. That's not always easy to do.

If readers are given no clue here, as you've so aptly avoided also, the climax sneaks up on us like a deadly snake, except we don't know that the rustling bushes and sound in the grass is a snake -- until it's too late. As the reader is left in the lurch and the snake strikes, the truth sinks in as if they were themselves members of the camping trip. Utterly helpless. Awaiting a coming storm where the rain itself may be as deadly as any fire.

Once again the writing is superb and the small paragraphs are just right. My only question is whether the author did enough to heighten the suspense as much as possible. It seems like the ongoing descriptions of what seems like an ordinary outing otherwise -- albeit a beautiful island paradise -- lasts just a tad too long before we begin to suspect that something is not only amiss, but something really awful.

Early on, it might be that the radio can't pick up any signals at all -- just static at first. "Try the radio again," he said. That kind of thing. They would have a clear view of the sky and I don't think you say anywhere what time of day it is. I could be wrong about that, but I couldn't find it. The story should end with the sun setting and the most gorgeous sunset anybody's ever seen.

One of the characters could say they saw a picture of a sunset like before. It was in a magazine article about the atomic tests at Bikini island during the fifties and sixties. That kind of thing *Smile*

Lastly, I'd leave off the "End?" at the end. It adds kind of a corny end to the end, which isn't needed and totally goes without saying. The ending is perfect otherwise and leaves us all wondering how we'd all react, and what we'd do.

Thanks for a genuine thiller that tickles (make that punches) the intellect.

Bob

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152
152
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, Maryann, (RIP your aunt Dottie)

I haven't talked to you in a while and since I'm making my "rounds" of those whose gift packages are still relatively empty since early November, I felt this was the perfect opportunity to say, howdy, and give you a couple of needed reviews. And who better from, than a fellow trekker? And what better story than this one?

Pam writes a nice long letter and we presume it's in a language other than English. Without mention of a translator device, other than "transmission" the colloquial lingo sounds just a bit too "Earthy" *Smile* I think it would work better if Carla were herself from a different planet than Pam (different species)which would emphasize the whole "federation" concept, of which the Earth is yet to be a member, so it would appear.

Otherwise this was a delightful diversion which was both humorous and well conceived with respect to a "friendly" alien presence visiting what is obviously a less advanced planet -- among a collectivized group of others.

I liked the whole learning to walk stuff, which gave us an indication that Pam and her friends were physically different from humans. If Carla were a different species, however, this would afford you the opportunity to have Pam give us a more accurate picture of the situation.

That said, this isn't the kind of piece that can be easily criticized or critiqued for content, other than someone like me coming along and trying to upgrade it to Star Trek quality, as if it was lacking the visuals and other special effects we want to "see" here. Then again, we can't make this much longer than it is, filling it with too many more details, otherwise, of course, it becomes a short story instead of a nicely worded pretend "message".

It's also debatable whether I can legitimately find fault here, suggesting that the ending is weak, with no real beginning, middle, or "conclusion" per se, given that it is meant to be a casual, uneventful exchange -- a school outing, if you will. And it might be unfair to expect more from the piece than what it is -- or ultimately offers.

The writing and overall structure are so well done, so professional, however, that I can't let the author off the hook, quite so fast. With a skill level capable of so much "more", one can't help but ask whether the writer sold herself "short" here. By this, I mean to say that, given at face value, it's a four-star natural. That rating was easy. The author, though, shows a five-star grasp of subject, theme, and storytelling ability. So do we let Maryann "slide", give her a pat on the back, and say, "well done."?

Or do we give her a gentle prod, a tickling of the literary ribs, and let her know that captain Picard and crew, while happy, kind of expected cadet Maryann to "thrill" them a bit more than she did. If she wants that upcoming promotion, the Academy will want to see a bit more complexity and cliff-hanging excitement in her next submission *Smile*

Bob

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153
153
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, again,

Yes, it's me again *Smile* and this poem is even better than the first. Actually it's a lot better, and I really liked the other one. Sure, it's longer and deeper, more personal and romantic, but as a poem, per se, it's just a totally cool piece, pure and simple.

Are you familiar with a certain definition of "love" which suggests that when we love another person, it's largely because we see ourselves in them? Friendship also, but especially romantic love. This is different, of course, from "self-love", which might boast of arrogance or conceit, or narcissism. No, this is about a kind of pride and joy we might feel about ourselves, as if we were a great, accomplished artist (or poet) and our personal, private qualities that bring us much happiness. When we see these similar qualities in another person, and we're open to the emotions involved, we may easily "fall" for them, softly at first, then heavily, passionately, shortly after.

Some of that is expressed in this poem, which has even more to say than what I've indicated. A lot more. And it's all good. It's all moving and touching, often surprising -- even when we see what's happening. But it's too late by then. We're hooked. After that, the colorful language the poem uses, the interesting analogies, metaphors, and so on, are perfect.

What isn't quite so perfect is the punctuation which follows no discernible pattern. An evaluation is needed to determine what punctuation is needed or desirable, if any at all.

But even when I'm not sure of the particularly enigmatic:

The dreary gray of daily pains
is broken by the
the peculiar shiver
of the trident flame between us.

I still feel like I can pull understanding from it and more importantly -- want to.

A twitch, a blink, a flying eyelash
A great surprise
when I find myself reflected in your iris.

In the last line above, I'm curious why you used "iris" instead of "eyes" which seemed like a more suitable (if not perfect) fit. And a nice rhyme with "surprise".

I do hope you will reconsider your "resignation" into full time reviewer and no-time writer *Smile* It is our loss, I suspect, even more than yours. I really like making discoveries (similar to the other poem) and love finding authors who show great promise.

Promise me you'll try to crack open the flood gates a bit and let a trickle escape. And what will one day be a river, if not an ocean *Smile* Thanks for listening. I meant every word.

Bob

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154
154
Review of With Breakfast  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, Tab,

I like this little poem in a big way. I'm also going to review your other poem because I liked what I saw at first glance. You've been a member here since 2006. That makes it 8 years, 9, maybe? You don't do much writing and probably have writer's block or whatever. Probably more of the "whatever" than a block of any kind. And the rest of your bio stuff is blank. Except for a slew of community recognitions. Thus you are an anomaly of sorts, have aroused my curiosity, and I feel a strong desire to encourage you to create yourself anew. *Smile*

If these two poems are examples of the general quality of your work, then you're doing yourself a disservice and denying the rest of us the ability to read more of your stuff. After several years, I have a feeling you've got a lot to say, so what's the problem? You waiting for the next go around reincarnation-wise? Well, I don't want to wait that long, so give me something else beside these two lonely pieces. Okay, please.

Pondering, wandering. Forgetting, mourning. Opportunities and dreaming. I love this collection of ideas that make sense despite their brevity. Starting over, as one recovers, as if from a bad dream, but seeking new paths even if it means wandering...perhaps aimlessly for a while -- these are all great concepts about which everyone can relate. Forgotten or missed opportunities are indeed little different from authentic losses that engender sorrow. Which is why I love the ending.

True discovery is the result of wandering paths where the outcome is uncertain, unknown. How could it be otherwise? And this poem captures all of this and more.

The irony here is that the author suggests we do as he or she says, and not as he or she does. Physician heal thyself? The poem is your anchor and it's time to pull it, set sail, and start writing again.

The title? "With" Breakfast, versus "Over" Breakfast, which I also like, but more than your original. Both are good. Over, as in getting over something and moving on, however, is better, I think.

Other than that, this is gold. Not platinum necessarily, but solid gold. Bravo on a piece of fine work. So what's it gonna take to get you off your duff and start writing more? *Smile*

Bob

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155
155
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Hi, Ellis,

This was so short, that it would be silly not to review what you have. I'm not quite sure what you have, but I like the beginning -- very exciting and sets the stage for some good suspense to follow.

I was curious about the length. I assume this first section was basically an outline for a much longer, expanded version to come. Full chapters are usually about 200-250 words per page, and about 5-10 pages long, both sides.

My only concern here is the paragraph breakdowns as follows:

“Excellent. I’m prepared to extract my vengeance.” Lord Ailus smiled wickedly and turned to face his battle map. “This will not be pretty for those thieving little bastards, they must pay for what they have done.”

There was a chill of bitter silence in the air, as if the business between the two men was far from finished.

Notice in the paragraph above, it's now two pieces. The straight "narrative" has been split off from a specific character, and I added some more words to make things interesting.

“Your oath, my Lord. Will you let me go so I can return back to Kholis? I’ve done as you asked, there’s nothing that can stop your plan now.”

The King grunted, and then hummed as he moved his long, pale finger from one city to the next on his drawing. “At least, let me leave you a parting gift before you depart wizard. Your service has been... most useful to me.”

Notice above, how the one paragraph has been split apart, separating the Wizard from the King, giving each their own "space". This is a very important structure rule to watch for, while learning to do it right.

Reaching into the sleeve of his white, silk gown, Lord Ailus rummaged until he found what he was searching for. Then, he flicked the object down into his hand. It glinted in the fire wisps flare from the light above them like a rare onyx from the Dwarven mines in Laeroth, but it was no gem.

Before the wizard could react, the black, sinthian knife pierced his throat, staining the King’s expensive outfit a sea of crimson betrayal. “My need for you has ended.”

Once more, the single paragraph above is now two separate ones. The reasons are obvious, also, I think. Notice how much smoother and clearer the text is. There's room for a ton of additional details, such as the location, the weather, the time of day, and so forth. It is these extra descriptions that will give you the added pages. Plus room for horses, the King's attendants, yada, yada. You get the idea.

I like your names, also. "Dwarven" is my favorite *Smile*

Keep up the good work, but let me know what your intentions are with this. And if you have any questions -- ask!
Bob

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156
156
Review of Attention Adults  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi, Ellis,

Great poem. Says a lot, expresses the frustration of a younger generation, and you accomplish your goal of getting our attention *Smile*

We do need to know what generation you represent in your piece, however. Currently we have teenagers, who have their own "generation". Then those in their twenties, thirties, and forties. My guess is that you're referring to either teens or early twenties.

Here's the actual breakdown:


Gen "Z" is from 1995-2015
Gen "Y" is from 1975-1995

Gen Y is also known as Millennials, and Gen Next.

So early on in your poem, we need you to say something that identifies you (the author) more accurately.

If you're Gen Z, this is perfect, because just like in the movie, World War Z, about zombies, you could really use the snide reference that adults label you guys as Gen Z because we think of you as being zombies, in addition to all else. Use this connection if possible. It would work really well.

If I had a gripe about this, it would be that it doesn't offer us any hope for better days, better ways, or that many young people are real heroes in the eyes of older adults nowadays. Seriously. The brush is too broad, the condemnations too general. We need to acknowledge the exceptions in some way.

The central focus of the poem is fine and makes its point. But there might be some overkill here. Okay, we get it. There's a lot of stupid adults running around -- a lot -- who have no idea of the stress that the modern world puts on the young today. Whether it's a ton of homework, peer pressure, drugs, and stupid politicians who couldn't run hot-dog stand, let alone the country. And stereotypes -- OMG! Wear a hoodie and go to jail, you criminal!

Nope, I'm glad I don't have to put up with all the nonsense like you do. Though adults have our own problems among our own "Gens". I'm not sure what you could add, that would lighten the tension and the mood a bit. But the poem needs something that leaves us with hope for a brighter future.

Or, if you really wanted to get real, to get down and dirty, then don't hold back and act all polite and stuff.

Add lines like the following: (not these exactly, but you get the idea)

The truth is that we see you as the real criminals.
You stole our futures by killing us in senseless wars
And spending money that was ours, not yours.

It wasn't us who created a world where war
and disease, famine and corruption prevail.
You wrecked our world, destroyed the forests,
killed off the animals, and ruined the atmosphere.

And you have the nerve to call us lazy, rude, and arrogant
While you lie and cheat and fritter away our inheritance.
False kings, queens, and phony prophets who have
spelled our doom as well as your own. Thanks for nothing.

Okay, I think you can see where I'm going. You were much too polite *Smile*
Both versions are good, though. Yours and mine, Maybe mix the two a little more.
I think the theme has value and works as either poetry or prose.
You could write this as a short essay, too, and it would be equally powerful.

Let me know if this was helpful. And if you need any more names to throw at those rotten adults!
Bob

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157
157
Review of "UNGH!"  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi, Angus,

My last review of the weekend and I'm glad I found you and your hilarious piece to finish up. My name is Bob and I found you as a recommended read by Mona, of Eyestar. She certainly called this one right. I really enjoyed the story, thought it was well written, and definitely builds to satisfyingly funny end. *Laugh* Albeit a bit twisted. This reminded me of something I might see or read as part of a horror anthology -- except yours is better than most *Smile*

I initially zeroed in on this because of the title, thinking to myself that somebody couldn't even type their title correctly. It wasn't long before I realized that a crappy title can be as good as a good one. *Smile* Something you figured out long before I did.

My only gripe is a subtle mistake that is easily made by the best of writers. It has to do with what they call, "author intrusion" where the POV goes astray and your reader is temporarily left adrift as to who the hell is telling the story. I've noted a line in particular below:

Ben popped his beer, took a swig, and looked at his wife. No, make that glared at his wife.

The story is told from the omniscient POV overall, with Jill thrown in for some specifics. In the line above, however, the second sentence leaves us wondering who is telling the story. Suddenly the author is informing us, himself, that no, Ben "glared" at his wife. What? Where'd you come from all of a sudden? Bob said, referring to Angus the author. *Smile*

The easy fix, of course, is just give the observation to Jill. But this is worth paying attention to. It's a hard temptation to resist at times.

Christmas morning dawned bright and blue, and Mike and Tracy arrived promptly at 11 o’clock with a complimentary bottle of wine.

The line above comes right after the hiatus. I think it should be its own paragraph.

Tracy helped Jill in the kitchen while the boys sat in the living room watching football, and by one o’clock they were all seated at the table where yams, cornbread, mashed potatoes and gravy, a honey glazed ham, and a fourteen pound turkey waited to be devoured.

This got thrown in with some subsequent lines that pertain only to Jill and her personal POV. As opposed to the separated paragraph above which is strictly that omniscient perspective again. Thus leaving the newly separate paragraph below:

Since no fireworks had gone off for the last two hours (actually, the only sounds she heard coming from the living room was the football game), Jill was once again thinking that maybe they’d get through this after all.

And that does it for me, my friend. Well, one other, which is my own personal preference, as follows:

“Yooouuu…muuuuttthhh...eeerrrr...fuuu...”

Can you see what I did? And I would do the same with the last line as well. Ellipses come in three's generally, right? I shy away from adding melodramatic touches to my work that aren't needed or are arbitrary and abide by no particular rule. If it's overdone somewhat, the work again looks like the author is "insisting" that we read the piece a certain way. Using a jumble of added letters and spaces with ellipses all over the place tends to look sloppy and devoid of any structure. I believe that my version, as shown above, makes the same point as your version, but does so with a minimum of punctuation, instead of a maximum of author input -- which risks coming across as overkill.

Thus the last word would read: uuunnnggghhh!” Is this any less emphatic than your version? Yet it's simpler, less intrusive, which is always preferable if you're a weird, fanatic, psycho nit-picker like me *Laugh*

Okay, so I had some fun with your piece. Not nearly as much as you did, however. Let me know if you see the madness in my methods. And thanks for the hardy, LOL chuckles *Smile*

Bob

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158
158
Review of BUZZ  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi, Lesley,

Happy birthday *Smile* While browsing for someone to review as part of the Raid review weekend, Mona, of eyestar, notified everyone of other members' birthdays and anniversaries. When I saw that you were a true animal person, with your variety of interesting experiences, I couldn't resist the clarion call to contact you.

At the end of this email, I've included a link that will take you to a place on my website where I discuss a prior relationship with Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd. Unless you're a glutton for punishment, feel free to ignore everything else and scroll down to the very bottom of the page. There you'll find a nice presentation of the former connection we had. I think you'll find it interesting. Not life-altering, but interesting nonetheless *Smile*

I found your non-fiction piece on Buzz to be nothing short of exhilarating, chock full of exactly the kind of roller-coaster emotions and thoughts that accompany any well written animal story. Yours does not disappoint. I can tell from this one piece alone that I'd thoroughly enjoy all your stuff, and regret that time does not permit a more expansive exploration of all you have to offer. Then again, I'm not sure I could handle what would no doubt be an exhausting emotional experience, where we find that Buzz has lots of company when it comes to both our attachments and grief-fillled losses with respect to animals.

I particular enjoyed the personal touches that the dialogue adds to this piece. Instead of a more straightforward essay that merely explains an event in your life, you take us there -- almost too closely -- and make the work into a nice cross between fine fiction and documentary *Smile*

Okay, so what's my beef? No pun intended. Okay, so I don't have any. Well, a couple, but they're almost as personal and subjective as your story itself. Maybe I'm too much the science guy sometimes, and not enough the naturalist. Or maybe I shy away from the emotional devastation that so often accompanies our human-animal relationships. I can see why Buddhism calls to you in this regard. Maybe I should be a Buddhist -- or a better one. Maybe we all should be *Smile*

Such feelings are no more apropos than in today's world where the toll on wildlife is nothing short of apocalyptic. Humanity would do well to adopt a more atheistic approach to the world, for our lack of care-taking of Earth's fellow creatures will, by itself, otherwise doom us to God's wrath. If we're lucky, that is. And Earth herself doesn't exact revenge first. Sorry, didn't mean to go off on a rant there *Smile* Can you tell I feel passionately about this stuff?

Okay, back to you *Smile*

Anthropomorphization. I'm always on the lookout for when I can use that word *Smile* It makes me feel like I know what I'm talking about. And impresses others that I even know how to pronounce it. The term, for better or worse, certainly applies in your situation, and represents the only criticism I would dare to make regarding your work. And even then, the quibble is largely nit picky, and worthy of mentioning solely and purely on intellectual grounds.

I explain myself in the following excerpts:

The big black bird fluffed "her" feathers and looked me directly in my eyes.

I'm not an authority on buzzards, so I don't know what the dimorphism is for that species. I know that for many birds, parrots for example, no discernible differences exist between male and female. So when you refer to Buzz (a male name) as if the bird was indeed a female, I'm left scratching my head a bit. Not a lot, but a bit nonetheless. If you'll allow my saying so, this could use a little more explanation. I think it would be helpful if you explained the reason why you used a gender-specific identity in this case -- or in others as well. Just for us naggy purists in the crowd *Smile*

I guess you already know that buzzards and vultures are raptors and often kill for their meals. But eating carrion is easier.

In the line above, I thought of Buzz's dinosaur cousins. Predators like the carnosaurs around which (whom?) a degree of controversy exists regarding their feeding habits. Whether they were true hunters, or opportunistic scavengers. In Buzz's case, he was obviously both. Very interesting.

I felt exhilarated, having such an animal show me affection.

Okay, here's where I cringed a bit. If not more so. For those who aren't experts, they may get a false impression here, which I think is unfair to both Buzz and readers alike. I think the verdict is in on reptiles lacking mammalian emotions. Buzz would just have likely plucked your eyes out, given half the chance, if it suited her. I'm a victim of having seen too many documentaries which demonstrate that reptiles (and birds) are incapable of emotional attachments to humans. Food dependence is about as good as it may get.

I remember seeing a show about falconers who would be the first to tell you how, despite imprinting and the rest, they make the mistake, at their own misfortune, of believing -- for even one moment -- that the relationship between bird and human is anything more than mere convenience -- for the bird. It's as if birds view their human companions as roadkill, sparing them the chase. If that approach is far too Darwinian for you, I commiserate *Smile* and share your misgivings.

"She poops on her legs because it is believed the urea sanitizes them. The dead animals she dines on are full of harmful
bacteria.

I loved this part, above. I didn't know that and, as with so many of these kinds of things, the information tells us so much about the wonders of nature, and how "she" makes the most of everything Gaea has at her "disposal". This was a perfect addition to this particular story. Notice that I have no qualms of anthropomorphizing the Earth itself *Smile*

Buzz will always exist in my fond memories of animals passed.

No matter how one comes down on human-animal relationships, birds in particular, this would be true regardless. For me, it's as poignant as losing the most affectionate of mammals. There's an old saying that I can only paraphrase. It relates to extinctions, but applies equally to individual animal deaths as well. How, throughout the entire universe, they, it, he or she, came this way only once, and only here. In the deepest possible sense, there is a truth there that cuts, like a razor, through all the rest of it -- through all the rest of our petty comments and observations.

It is also why, except in those instances of culling or hunger, my contempt for hunters and hunting is boundless. But I digress once more and forget that this is about you *Smile* And about someone who was no doubt a great friend. Even though she might have thought of it as more of an acquaintanceship.

Well, that's enough out of me. I hope my picayune notes were helpful in some way. Let me know if you felt they were valid, because your opinion would carry great weight with me.

Keep up the great work at telling us about your experiences. If you had something else of particular interest to you, where you'd like my dubiously professional opinion *Smile* I'd love to know. Thanks.

http://www.dragonia.net/nou3-the-momentums-series....

Bob

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159
159
Review of No Takers  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
Hi, Cheri,

My name is Bob and I'm reviewing your work as part of the Power Reviewers Raid weekend. I always like the challenge of a first draft and a request for honest opinions as to how a given piece is shaping up. Or down *Smile*

I think the basic writing here is excellent, and except for some minor grammar issues, it's the content of the piece that deserves the most attention. Without reading any other of your works, I can pretty well guess that I'd find the same thing: good structure that allows for a focused evaluation of the story content itself.

This is a strange tale. It would be difficult to imagine a better title when the ending is probably the biggest issue or concern here. I'm curious as to why, when it would have been equally strong, and even more satisfying, you opted for a sad ending to Madonna's story. Except it's more than sad. And not enough of anything else.

What I mean by that (unintentionally) snide remark is that, assuming this is not the first chapter or prologue to a longer work, the story just kind of drifts off without meaning, substance, or consequence. I don't mean that to sound as harsh as it does, but rather as a motivation to give us either something more shocking, tantalizing, or redeeming in Madonna's favor. We like her too much to leave her as you do *Smile*

The shock ending would be for her to die in the crash. The sweet ending is for her to meet Mr. Right as a result of the crash. Maybe the EMT, or a cop, or a helping bystander. All kinds of possibilities present themselves, yet you choose none of them. Which is okay, but it leaves us feeling empty at the end. We want more, and feel a bit angry at the author for dropping us like one of Madonna's blind dates have likely done to her.

The other issue is more interesting than it is problematic. We have three distinct scene changes in this one short piece. Madonna to start. Then Trish. Then back to Madonna. I suggest a name change also. But only because Madonna, the singer, has forever stolen the name, I fear, and I kept seeing her instead of a wholly original character. Worth thinking about *Rolleyes*

The question is how best to make the transitions from one setting to the next. A "hiatus" usually takes us from one place to another, but it's potential interpretation as a time change as well, prevents it, I think, from being used here.

Your version as written, is close to being acceptable. But it needs to be looked at, just to be sure it's our best choice for how to structure it.

I've done my own version using your words and some new ones by me, just for demo purposes. See if this is better. Since we're not using a hiatus mark, the transition needs to be more pronounced and obvious. Perhaps as follows:

The guests turned as Trish screamed, "Noooooo!" Dropping to her knees, she cried hysterically while, over and over again, she repeated aloud, "No, no, no...."

There had been no reply over the phone. Trish had only heard the sound of the crash and then nothing.

So, that's one possible way to make the "cut" more obvious. The next cut is easier and is nothing more than a close repeat of what you already had:

By the time the ambulance arrived at the scene of the accident, the police were locking down the area.

This slightly revised version locks down the next and final scene transition.

Which takes us back to the real scene of the real crime, which is your original ending *Smile*

Seriously, I hope you'll give some thought as to my suggestions for an alternate conclusion. Even if she dies, have her fall in love-at-first-sight, only to look back and see her body lying lifeless in the street. OMG, I scared myself with that one *Smile*

Let me know what you think and if you decide upon some changes. I'd like to see this again if you do. Why? Because the beginning and middle and right up to the end, are very good. The two main characters are immediately likeable and are given a raw deal here. Even Trish thinks her friend is dead, and we're left with that. Which might be another problem I hadn't even considered. Hmmm.

Thanks for listening.
Bob

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In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, Lisa,

Bob here, returning the favor and giving you a review of one of your poems I liked the best. I read several of them, liked them all, but this one was particularly cute and delightful.

I visited your colorful website also, btw, and noticed that you're fond of veterans. So you should know you're being reviewed by one -- U.S. Army, Vietnam, 1968-69. You certainly have a wealth of writing all over the place; you've been busy *Smile* It's always so interesting, and sometimes alarming, to read the backgrounds that people possess and you've certainly had your share of both. May you continuing with only the "interesting" stuff from now on.

My only criticism of this wonderful little poem -- and it's not really a criticism -- is that I don't want you to give it up too soon, as to who and what you're referring to. I forgot you were talking about a turkey and when I read the last line, I was blown away. You got me. Then I thought, what if nobody knew you were talking about a turkey until the end? How cute would that be?

The title can remain, of course, just don't mention Thanksgiving in the subtitle *Smile* And then in the line below:

Is it a turkey, a rooster, a peacock,

...change turkey to something else, like duck, chicken, owl, whatever. Then we don't know until the very end. Just a thought, but I think it would work. And you'd be catching people by surprise and making them smile -- more than they already do *Smile*

Thanks for putting a smile on my face, which doesn't want to go away.
Bob

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Review of Dragon whispers  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, again, Ms Dragon,

I liked this much more than my long list of kvetching would indicate *Smile* I really did. These are all little icky, picky things that I wanted you to see because details are important, and self-editing is a big deal nowadays. You want to train your eyes to spot the smallest mistakes. So this has a lot to do with what I've done.

Also, watch your paragraph breaks. Everybody gets their own paragraph. Most of the time. When in doubt, make a new paragraph. Consistency is another biggie. I know it's probably just a typo, but Toothless' font size is different here and there. I like the way you did him. I bought it. And I usually don't like getting fancy in standard text *Smile*

In one spot, you had Mary's dialogue convert to italics like Toothless. No! Don't do it *Facepalm* Unless you're feeling mean, this just totally screws with your reader. Always keep it simple, clean, and everybody does the same thing, in the same way, all the time. Usually.

That said, we can run through these quickly:

"Mary, you're too old for this," (comma) her mother sighed as she obligingly placed the stuffed dragon toy next to Mary's pillow. (paragraph break)

The eight year old girl pouted, then reached out, grabbed her Toothless dragon, and snuggled him to her chest as her mother turned out the lights. (period) Note my variation on how you did things.

"I love you, Toothless." Mary whispered, holding the stuffed, eleven-inch toy close to her chest. Burying her forehead into Toothless' (apostrophe only) head and closing her eyes, she heard a faint, (comma) I love you too, Mary. The girl's eyes flew open.

In the paragraph above, look for the changes I made. I changed 11" to "eleven-inch" which is always preferable with small numbers. It just is *Smile* Instead of Toothless's, I used Toothless' which is better. Both are correct, but I like to drop the exra "s". I just do, so there *Smile*

"You can TALK?!" She gasped, staring at the dragon. This is better, don't you think?

Mary's mom walked past the door and turned on the light. (put into separate paragraph)

"Maryy...." Her mom reluctantly moved in to tuck her in.

In the line above, words like "Maryy" look like typos. Try Mar-ry instead.

Her mom looked at her and scolded, "Mary, stop delaying your bedtime." Smoother *Smile*

"Fine." Mary pouted, then slipped back underneath the covers and snuggled in with Toothless again. As a test, she tentatively placed her forehead against Toothless's head "once more".

Nothing. Maybe, I'm dreaming? Mary thought to herself. When her mom left the room, satisfied that her daughter wouldn't be talking again, a small voice in Mary's head started speaking (to speak)

I broke this into another paragraph to add some extra drama. I can do that because I'm the all-powerful reviewer. *Smile* Watch for repeating the same words over and over again. Words like again. In short pieces, they stand out like teeth in a toothless dragon's mouth.

She recalled the party from three weeks prior. "...at Cousin Megan's Build-A-Bear party?"

Notice how interesting the sentence above becomes by playing with it a little more. Note the ellipsis and how the shift of Mary's thought to the front, mixes things up so they're not monotonous.

Toothless gave a slow nod as Mary gasped.

Here's an important distinction. See how we didn't have to put toy and girl into separate paragraphs? How come? The reason is because the action in combined into a single event, simply by adding "as". If it all happens at once, we don't always need separate paragraphs.

"Why'd you wait 'til today to tell me?" she thought to Toothless. Don't have Mary's thoughts in italics.

"No it's not silly," she whispered, tears threatening to fall. "She doesn't like tucking me in any more. And she doesn't hug me like she used to. Now I have to ask for hugs, and they're not as nice if I have to ask."

Here again, I bumped the speaker narrative up close to the beginning of the dialogue. Watch out for way too much "whispering" going on. Choose synonyms. That's why God made them.

Toothless "nudged" her face. Too much nudging going on, too. Words like these are good for once, maybe twice, but even that is pushing it. It just sounds repetitive and bor-ring.

Toothless nodded his slow nod again. period needed at end. A lot of nodding, too. Nod bad, but I don't like it. Okay my joke was bad.

"But I'm not growing up!" she mentally exclaimed. "If that's the case, I don't want to grow up!"

Again above, a bump of the narrative into a better position.

Mary giggled a bit. "Can you fly?" she quietly asked him in wonderment.

I'll answer that another night, Mary. Tonight, you need to get your sleep. You're still a little girl and little girls need their sleep. His eyes twinkled as he snuggled back into Mary's chest. As her breathing slowly evened out, Toothless whispered, Sweet dreams, my dear Mary.

In the lines above, a font change in size took place.

Let me know if this helps and if you have any questions. You'd never know how much I liked this, but I really did.

Bob

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Review of The Smoke Alarm  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi, Miss Dragon,

My name is Bob and I'm sort of a Mr. Dragon. Which qualifies me, I think, to make a few comments about your story. I'm reviewing this, BTW, as part of the fulfillment of the gift package of reviews you received.

I'm sometimes reluctant to dig too deeply into the mechanics and grammar of a given piece, because when they're part of a contest, one can never know, for sure, what the rules were. And consequently a fair amount of critical remarks may, or may not be, inappropriate. I feel fairly confident, however, that my comments here are well placed.

If you'll permit me, (and forgive me) *Smile* I want to rewrite your first paragraph. By doing so, this will illustrate, very quickly, the issues that concern me, and which I hope will concern you as well. Also, if this is a "throw-away" piece, meaning you have no intention of ever revisiting it, for any reason, then it can still serve as a learning instrument. Or not. It's up to you, of course *Smile*

The rewrite is intended to accomplish two things:

1) Demonstrate a smoother, clearer approach to the writing, using my own words and changes.
2) Serve as an example only, where a number of different ideas can be employed, but all of which rectify and correct the grammar and punctuation errors that exist. The writing style itself, which is first person, present tense, has not been critiqued as right or wrong, although I prefer third person, personally. But that's just me.

Worth noting here, especially, is the conversion of a single large paragraph into a number of smaller ones. This is not a matter of style, but rather the correct structure for breaks involving multiple characters and events. My version is not intended to serve as a perfect rendition, but simply an example of how these things need to be presented for clarity. I hope that comes across:

My bedroom is right next to the kitchen. In the kitchen, there's a smoke detector. In fact, the two rooms are pretty much connected.

This morning, the smoke detector woke me up. "uuugh," I groan. The night before, I wasn't feeling so well, so I went to sleep early. Still, that's no excuse for fate to wake me up earlier than needed (or necessary)

I rub my stomach. It feels much better this morning, and I'm glad of (for) that. Padding (meaning unclear) over to the bathroom, I scream when I look at myself in the mirror. Oh, my God; I look like a dragon!

My brother hears me scream and comes running into the room.

As he yells, and turn about and glare at him.

Mid-scream, he barely dodges the fireball -- from my mouth -- that I hurl at him. I again emit an anguished shout and then realize I'm not screaming -- I'm roaring!

"Mommy, Daddy!" my brother continues to scream as he runs from the room. "Gina's turned into a dragon!"

It looks like you had a lot of fun with this story, and before I criticize another syllable, I've got to tell you I laughed myself silly with the thing. Keep in mind that while it looks like I'm being overly harsh here, with my review, please understand that these are all easy fixes and only require your desire to do so. Understanding them is fairly straightforward, and the sad part is that they detract from what is otherwise some very well thought out humor and dialogue.

Well, I'm not going to go through any more here. You get the idea. If corrected and rewritten accordingly, this would be an outstanding work. Seriously. My suggestion is to revert or convert to the third person, past tense. But that's my personal bias. It also makes the writing a helluva lot easier, BTW *Smile*

Let me know if we're still on speaking terms, and if so, I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have, and illustrate more of what I'm focusing on with respect to the grammar, punctuation, and paragraph issues that diminish the quality of what lies just below the surface here. Thanks for listening.

Bob

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Review of Taste Buds  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, BillieGail,

This is another review of your work as part of the Power Review Board fulfillment gift thing. I so enjoyed the last piece of yours, that I wanted to do another.

You know, as much as I liked this sweet little poem, can you guess what I'm going to complain about? What's missing here? You mention everything else, but there is absolutely no mention of meat. So either you are a confirmed vegetarian, or else you got so carried away with desserts that you inadvertently omitted steaks and chops, pork and lamb and fish and bacon and...I have to stop, I'm getting hungry *Smile*

So what's up with that? The sugar rush I got from your poem almost sent me into a diabetic shock! *Smile* Alright already, somebody throw me a burger! With cheese. And a beer. And what about potatoes?

In all seriousness, as much so as one can be about a poem like this *Smile* was there a particular reason why the focus was solely on sweets? And how could you leave out "buns?" Don't you love critics who come around and second guess all this stuff? I hear you. *Rolleyes*

All that said, this is a very cute piece that makes its points and does so clearly and cleverly. If you had thrown in a sticky bun and some bacon, I'd have had nothing to say in my review *Smile*

Let me know if you ever wish to revise and rewrite this. It's great as is, but if you do, I had some ideas about using contractions and a chocolate sprinkle of grammar tip or two.

Bob

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Review of The Chocolatier  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hi,

I was looking for something different to review as part of the Power Review Board review fulfillment package. Whew, that's a mouthful -- which is certainly in keeping with this story *Smile*

I thought this was very well written, and effectively conveys the sensuous relationship between food and sex. I'm a bit confused, without further explanation, however, why these two don't agree to a date. For coffee, for lunch, for whatever. We're left wondering a little too much, I think, as to why neither can nurture a closer relationship.

We are obligated to assume, I suppose, that Pierre is married, and that both people are "mature". Or that Milly is, and maybe Pierre isn't. Perhaps there's an age disparity involved. It's hard to believe that "lustful" Milly would let her childhood upbringing bar her way in more "modern" times *Smile*

Maybe she uses that as an excuse to keep a certain distance. Sometimes the fantasy is better than the reality. Nothing crushes dreams faster than waking up *Smile*

Although the whole food thing, including chocolate, as in the actual story, "Chocolate" has been done before, I thought this was a fresh enough take on the theme to prevent it from coming across as a re-do of similar stories. The "arousal" factor is lessened by a lack of physical descriptions of the characters. And without them, some readers, I for one, were put off a little because the characters didn't come across as physically attractive people.

In real life they don't have to be. In fiction, they do, I think. Or there must be something endearing, poignant, or particularly appealing about the people involved. I think that's missing here, also. The piece is so well written, however, that it almost overcomes the discrepancies I've cited.

The bolding of the words is, I assume, unintentional? If not, it should be. By this, I mean it's just unnecessary, just in case you did it on purpose.

Lastly, in stories of this length, every word is critical. Every punctuation mark and paragraph are crucial with respect to content and placement. And while you did an outstanding job of piecing things together, I found a certain brevity of adjectives and descriptions to leave me wanting for more.

Color, for instance, is almost totally absent, and I yearned to know the sultry shade of Milly's lipstick as it mixed with the subtle shades of the confections' own hues. Instead of the moisture and wetness of perspiration and saliva, I felt the dry warmth of wanting to eat an actual piece of candy *Smile* instead of Pierre's finger stroking the surfaces of her tongue as he fed her the chocolate.

Anyway, you get the idea. Sometimes we want to hold back, and other times, just go for it. Which is precisely what Milly and Pierre need to do, all things being equal *Smile*

Oh, and weeped is "wept". I know, does this guy have no mercy? I wouldn't be a very good reviewer if I patronized you, and that's something I never, ever do. So when I say I really liked this, despite its little problems here and there, you'll know I'm being honest.

Let me know if this was helpful and if you have any questions about this particular genre of writing. It's one of my favorite. As if you couldn't tell, right? Well, they say go with your strengths *Smile*

Bob

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Review of Roots and Wings  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, Audria,

We've spoken before, and this is a good chance to say hello again. I wanted to do a review as part of the Power Review Board and found you waiting for one, so here it is *Smile*

I cut my writing teeth on biographical novels. Not written by me, but the woman moderator of our critique group wrote several of these kind of novels based on a genealogical research of her own family, which went back to the days of the early Mormons. So you can see I'm a decent choice for what you've written here *Smile*

What I'm assuming is the case, is that you've taken Priscilla's original words and created a quasi-fictional account of things that take us into the person and the times in a more intimate, you-are-there fashion. And that you've created the dialogue and descriptions to match what are otherwise true events. At least that's how I interpret this.

I also know how there are folks who really like these particular kinds of stories, precisely because they mix fact and fiction together in a fun way that no ordinary biography provides. And you've done a beautiful job of taking us there, almost in cinematic style, and made me feel like I was back in an era we typically only hear about in monotone documentaries.

In the second paragraph, you have a quote after "Prissy" which doesn't belong.

“You must hear your fortunes.” She said through parched lips and darkened teeth. You want a comma, of course, after the word, "fortunes" instead of the period that's there now.

“No payment is needed. Your future is almost upon you.” She pointed at Sarah. “You will learn a profession (period needed after "profession". This is all I'm going to do on the punctuation thing because you know what to do, and as you can see, it just needs some additional "cleanup".

She loved Wales. Surely her destiny was here. But what would a gypsy know anyway. She laughed to herself and put it out of her mind. Until now…

Above is your big segue hiatus that time-machine's us to present day -- with Priscilla now on her way to America. It is such a wonderful transition, that I think it's spoiled a bit by the way you do it. Listen to me, right?

First, I don't like present tense words like "now" inserted into the narrative of third person past tense. That's what I was taught and have always agreed with the premise. I don't think you even need "Until now..." It's superfluous and doesn't add anything. With an appropriate hiatus demarcation, which I think this needs, and which, of course, can be accomplished in any number of ways, the reader will immediately understand what's happened and is then happening. Otherwise, it's smooth sailing in terms of the writing here. Except for one other observation.

As she watched him approach, the gypsy’s words came unbidden to her mind, ‘...you will cross the ‘big waters’ and your family will benefit from your labors.’

In the lines above, you got bogged down in what gets a quote, what doesn't, how many and so forth. It's no wonder, because these can be confusing as to how best to "recite" another's dialogue while a character is "thinking" about it. English at its complicated best *Smile*

Opinions will vary on this. Usually the single quote is used within an ongoing piece of spoken dialogue, when someone is quoting someone else while speaking themselves. Which you already know. But what about inside of the thought process itself? I subscribe to the camp that likes italics in these instances. With no quotes at all. As follows:

As she watched him approach, the gypsy’s words came unbidden to her mind. You will cross the big waters and your family will benefit from your labors.

You don't even need a colon or anything else. And look how simple this now reads, with no muss, no fuss. Pretty cool, right? And you don't need quotes around "big waters" either because it works without repeating them again.

Anyway, bravo and kudos and clap, clap, (the sound of me applauding) *Smile*

I don't read this stuff myself, but when I see work like yours, I suspect that it's definitely my loss. Let me know if this was helpful and keep up the great storytelling.

Bob

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Review of Remember When  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, BillieGail,

This poem really left me wanting. Wanting to have a partner, that is, who felt about me as you do about yours. You made me want to fall in love all over again, just so I could relive the happy moments that seem so fresh, and express themselves in both the past and present tense. This is one of the more romantic and loving poems I've read in a while. Nicely done.

In an age of endless divorces, marital problems, infidelity and debauchery in all its forms, this lovely little piece of warmth and cuddly togetherness reminds us how really solid relationships are supposed to look, sound, and feel.

My only criticism, and I'm reluctant to mess with work this delicate, is the somewhat awkward use of "I do..." sort of stuck out there, all by itself. It's a bit redundant and just adds extra words, I think. The fix?

Since the next line says "I remember...", consider replacing "I do..." with "I remember..." This simplifies and keeps it all nice and clean. And the cleaner the better, I always say. Well, not always, but usually *Smile*

While I'm at it, I probably should kvetch about the title, too. Yeah, it's okay. A subjective call, in any event. My choice? I'd've gone with "I Remember..." The poem is present tense, present day, but the title almost makes it sound like reminiscing instead of rejoicing. Think it over for a few seconds and see if you agree. If not, not to worry. An eagle doesn't regret the loss of a single pinfeather *Smile*

Okay, this has been my ultra mushy moment of the day -- back into the harsh glare of reality. In case you couldn't tell, I loved it.
Bob

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167
167
Review of Running away  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, Emily,

This is pretty good and doesn't need that much work. Not in my opinion. Okay, a little here and there. Most importantly, I think I get what you're saying, and think it's worth saying. *Smile*

Starting at the bottom first, you used a contraction "runnin" for the word, running, but used the whole word elsewhere. This is just a consistency point that you'll want to change, and I think just a matter of changing runnin' to running. If we make changes for no apparent reason, we make it look like we made the change for some important reason, which is why we want to stay as consistent as possible.

The enemy is adulthood, I think. The loss of the last of our childhood that a sixteenth birthday finally does away with. While many, if not most, want to hurry and grow up, there is a part of us that wants to stay hidden, safe with our secrets, but the desire to be fully responsible, or the need to be, is like its own monster that one can no longer control.

As I read this again, it suddenly occurred to me that this might well be a sci-fi horror story, too. Which I missed at first because I wanted to read it as a teenager's angst about growing up. But...OMG! She really does have a creature possessing her who is about to take over. Hence the "last Earth day". As an earthling *Smile*

Good poems are those that sound smart and make you think. This one did, for me. I hope you'll share with me what you personally had in mind as to the meaning. I think I could pull even another story out of this *Smile* if I tried enough.

I think my only remarks at this point is whether or not you want multiple meanings to be taken away by different readers. If not, you can easily add a few more lines and leave no doubt as to what's happening. So this might be a tough call as to how you want to leave it or change it. It's why poetry is both loved and hated, with little in-between.

My personal opinion? I think two or three more lines would help this. Maybe even four, depending on your exact message, or the sentiment you want expressed. But it's very close to being the perfect piece you want it to be.

Please run this by me again if you make any changes. I really like it, and I'm not even 100% sure why *Smile*
Bob

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168
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, Megs,

This poem is much too good to be spoiled by some minor glitches. I assume it was inspired by the song from Bastille? These are strong words and lyrics. They're both and they're neither *Smile*

Here's your poem with the essential corrections put into place:


If You Give It a Name
by Megan Brink


Fear, it's just an emotion,

Nothing more than a thought,

Until you give it a name.


Depression, it's just there,

Nothing more than a feeling,

Until you give it a name.


A mistake, is just an event,

Nothing more than an action,

Until you give it a title.


A nightmare, it's just a dream,

Nothing more than imagination,

Until you give it a title.


A problem, it's just a situation,

Nothing more than a different routine,

Until you give it a title.


If you give it a name, then it's already won what you're good for.



So Megs, I noticed, of course, that you changed the one line which originally read:

If you give it a name, then it's already won.

To:

If you give it a name, then it's already won what you're good for.

Although I kind of get what you're after, I think it might be too confusing as to the new meaning you've created. Or the added emphasis which probably isn't needed in any event. The original line pretty much says it all.

If I read you correctly, you expanded on the lyric so that it includes a whole bunch of things we experience in life, and when we give them names, we allow them to have power over us. Instead of the other way around.

Much has been written about people allowing themselves to be defined by "labels" or medical conditions, or ways of looking and talking. Or worse, other people defining who they think we are, based on how we look -- the worst of the worst being our skin color.

I like the idea that you put all of this into your own words. One more little change would make this good poem even better.

You know how you use: "Until you give it a title." over and over again? That's okay with me, but I'd like to see you use a different word than, title, after you use it the first time. Then use it again, as the very last line that has title in it. That can stay the same.

In-between, however, try using synonyms. Here's an example:

A nightmare, it's just a dream,
Nothing more than imagination,
Until you give it an identity.

This is real close to what I'm talking about. I'm looking for words that mean the same as name and title. And allow you to say the same thing, but not have to repeat the same words over and over again. Look how much stronger that stanza is with the word, "identity" in it, instead of "title". If you don't agree, that's fine, too. It's just my opinion, but it's a good one, I think. I got lucky with this one *Smile*

So see what you think, and please let me see this again, if you make any changes. Hope this helps. Thanks for listening.
Bob

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169
169
Review of The Combat Medic  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi, Adrik,

I really liked this. And when I then tell you that I'm a U.S. Army combat veteran, Vietnam 1968-69, you'll know that my words don't come cheap. You did a great job, I thought, of capturing the role, importance, and solitude of the combat medic. How the medics themselves are a kind of mother figure, but in the best sense of the term.

The interesting thing about this work is how it will be read differently by different people. Because of the subject matter, and the experience -- or lack of experience -- one might possess with respect to the violence of war, the poem successfully bridges the gap between sympathy and empathy. Regardless of how familiar or unfamiliar one might be, with the horrors of warfare, the work reads either as a tribute piece, or more of a solemn homage to those whose job is to save lives rather than take them. Well done, my friend. *Smile*

My only concern is that the piece kind of dates itself by references to Normandy and Berlin, rather than Bagdad to Beirut. I'm not sure how you could bridge that gap and don't want to necessarily suggest that you do. But you might want to consider it.

Although most young people will never have military experience, they will have nonetheless seen their share of brutally realistic war movies. From all eras. From the Greeks of "300" to "Saving Private Ryan". I suppose to some, the poem will read as somewhat "tame" (not lame) in terms of the truly terrible circumstances that the work actually speaks to. This is only a concern if you intend to ever rewrite the piece. Which it doesn't require unless you wanted to really update it. As I said, it works very well as is, provided you're aware of the minor limitations that exist.

A "companion" piece might be worth considering. Another poem with similar structure and format, that then transfers the POV to the soldier him or herself. With a brief reference to a medic, perhaps.

Be that as it may, kudos to you, my friend, for an outstanding war piece that doesn't resort to any political judgments of its own, neither pro-war or con. It just is what it is.

Bob

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170
170
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, Megs,

I really liked this. In fact I liked it so much, I couldn't resist putting some of myself into it *Smile* Forgive me for doing so. I had fun at your expense, but see if you can spot the method to my madness as they say.

Personally, as part of my review, I like this piece better as I've reconfigured it. But that's just me. Some think I have a pretty good eye for this kind of stuff, but you're the best judge, of course. I also rewrote one line that I didn't like. Which is saying a lot because I totally loved all the rest *Smile*

Here's the line I changed:

If I gave you tears and told you to shed them with the joy and sadness of others,

I felt it was awkward as presently written, and if you don't use my version, try to reword yours so it speaks more to what I'm driving at. Otherwise, I thought this was great as is, and could also be great (or better)*Smile* in my revised version. See what you think.
Bob

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What If I Gave You...?


If I gave you a heart and told you it was yours to love with,
If I gave you an ear and told you it was yours to listen with,
If I gave you a mouth and told you it was yours to voice your thoughts with,
If I gave you an eye and told you it was yours to see everything with,
If I gave you a hand and told you it was yours to hold,
If I gave you a foot and told you it was yours to move with,
If I gave you an imagination and told you it was yours to create with,
If I gave you a mind and told you it was yours to think with,
If I gave you a smile and told you it was yours to spread happiness with,
If I gave you tears and told you to shed them with the joy and sadness of others,
If I gave you faith and told you it was yours to believe in,
If I gave you adventures and told you they were yours to seek,
If I gave you dreams and told you they were yours to make true.
Would you take them?
Would you use them?
Why haven't you started yet?


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Review of Under Her Wing  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, Skybear,

Yours is the eternal prayer. The premise of a thousand tales told by those who look about the world and see the errors of our ways. How humanity has lost its way and our salvation lies in the hands of the proverbial savior, the messiah, a redeemer, the Deliverer -- a Ghandi, Martin Luther King, a great king or politician. Your piece reminds me of the old saying about how the more things change, the more they remain the same.

The Hopi concept of Koyaanisqatsi plays a significant role here as well.

Moses was one such man, one like you describe. Just as one example. And he led his corrupt followers to their salvation. But only to have them once again return to their old ways of sin and depravity. That seems to be the routine, the pattern, which suggests to me that more is needed than the single individual. Maybe the right message with just the right words?

Not to focus on religion, but Jesus, I guess, was the right man with the right message, and still that wasn't enough. I think the answer lies in our willingness to keep asking, and searching for answers and solutions. Some would argue that YOU are the very person you seek. You and all the others like you -- a great collective of like minds, all aware of the problems, and with an inner sense of the answers.

Can such a discussion avoid a pathway that inevitably leads to politics? Is it possible that a politician might come among us, uniting instead of dividing? I don't know. What I do know is what you already know. That people who see the needs, will know when redemption is at hand. And even then, some will say the anti-Christ is upon us *Smile*

As for how you've structured the work, as a whole, I'm put off by the one large block of text look. I almost took this all apart and stacked it vertically in the form of a free verse poem, which is still my thought as to how it should be presented. You might want to give that a try. The nature of the piece is so universal, that a poem might appear less pedantic, less impersonal, warmer and more appealing.

Be sure to do a few more edits that fix the several (but minor) grammar and punctuation errors also present. Otherwise, very nice, I really enjoyed this.
Bob

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172
172
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, DM,

What I liked about this, and what prompted me to review it (speaking of prompts *Smile* was the timelessness of the theme. I could see the words as the expressed sentiments of all warriors who are on their way to battle, where the chances are that they will likely die. Metaphorically, such an idea could be expanded to include anyone who found themselves on an impossible voyage, whose outcome was dubious at best.

The "hunger" strikes me as the will to live, to survive. That others might do so as well. But death or failure seems predetermined and the urge to weep over the losses to come seems overwhelming.

Two critical comments only:

me drifting of to sleep.

Above is the last line to first stanza: you mean "off" to sleep.

me drifting soon to die.

Above is the last line to last stanza: it would be more powerful, I think, to rephrase it as follows:

me drifting off to die.

This is then a nice repeat of the last line of the first stanza, with a single, dramatic change.

To sum up, a poem that is loaded with any number of interesting interpretations and while I don't consider mine to be what you necessarily had in mind, it's how I read it, and that's what was important to me. I've got to move on before I figure out two or three other meanings *Smile*

Bob

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173
173
Review of Find Me  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hi, Ms. Bizarre,

I wanted to take the time to review this because, although it appears simple and is well written, there are a few little things that, if fixed, would leave this as a nicely finished piece.

First of all, "free-thinker" is spelled "freethinker". Simple enough *Smile*

But...there are others like me.

In the line above, I removed the space after the last dot.

People who feel different.

In the line above, the only change is "that" to "who". A common mistake where we always want to use "who" when referring to people.

Okay, the one 'biggie" *Smile* is the last line. We don't know who "they" refers to. At least I don't. Does it refer to the people who don't understand? Or to the others just like the narrator? It's unnecessarily confusing and should be an easy fix for you. However you think would make us both happy *Smile*

Beyond my remarks, this is one of those poems that is what it is -- take away from it what you will. Meaningful to some, meaningless to others. I (and many others) will relate and realize that we're one of those kindred souls to whom you refer.

I can't say anymore until you alter the last line, if you do. I hope you do. And if you do, please let me know *Smile* I want to give this four stars, but I have to see that last line again.

Thanks for sharing.
Bob

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174
174
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Brittany,

This is very, very good. I'm not sure I laughed out loud, but I smiled -- and widely so -- from the beginning until the end. *Smile* Except for my nitpicky remarks below, I would consider this poem almost perfect, with little or no need for revisions of any kind. And that's rare for me to say that. Very rare.

Okay, so this is delightful, fun and funny, and "almost" ready for prime time. First check over my comments, however, and see if you want to follow my sage advice *Smile* I finish with a few more words afterwards.

I could be bold and tell you,
just set aside the coffee pot,
But if I did I could not share with you,
my villainous like plot

In the last line above, "my villainous like plot" is awkwardly stated and doesn't look or read right. Instead of "like", consider another adjective such as "sinful" (as just one example). The line would thus read: "my villainous, sinful plot"

And we’ll keep them awake forever,
to endure this life of ours,
And for once they all will understand,
why we are all such sours.

In the last line above, "sours" is not a word, and you're trying to make it one *Smile* Sometimes that works, but not in this case, in my opinion. It's a "forced" rhyme where you needed something to go with "ours". The rest of the poem is far too good to suddenly lapse into anything less than near perfect. Let me know what you come up with, if you follow my near perfect advice *Smile*

If by chance I do not make,
and to sleep I fall,
Please forget I ever said these words,
forget I made this call.

In the first line above, I get the feeling you left out the word, "it". Thus the line would read: "If by chance I do not make it,"

Okay, that's it. Could I nag you about another word or two, here or there? Probably. But I won't because I believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It's your little masterpiece and once you apply my magnificent fixes, this work will awaken all those sleepyheads who're looking for something really good to read *Smile*

I have a feeling that everything you write would make me smile in one way or another. Keep up the nice work.
Bob

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175
175
Review of The Letter  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, Websterb,

Since you asked, I can help answer some of your specific questions as they relate to this obviously ongoing story.

As for the dialogue, it all works fine, but there is a pattern to it that you need to be aware of, if you're not already. Or, I should say, a pattern to be avoided. There are a lack of contractions in the dialogue that results in stiff, overly formal speech.

"I'd like to tell you a story Mr. Akazawa. It's a true story, by which I mean I'll narrate a personal experience.

In the line above, I've inserted contractions wherever possible. This doesn't mean I suggest you do it this way, or that this character is the one who should speak like this. But somebody should *Smile* We just don't want all our characters to "sound" alike or speak alike. The "way" a person speaks can identify them as much as any clothing, scars, or other physical artifacts.

In this particular section, Toro has too little to say, I think. He is very quiet, although he does think a great deal. That's okay if it fits the story. I'd like to see something where Toro himself notices, however, that Urawa is doing all the talking.

Secondly, your paragraphs are too dense. Firstly, did I mention how well written I thought this was? If not, let me do so now *Smile* Really. That said, your paragraphs are too dense *Smile* What I mean is that they are too long and contain too much information for being individual paragraphs. What follows are your first two paragraphs that I have broken in places where I think it works better. See what you think.

I was in the kitchen making coffee when the letter finally arrived. I heard the violent clash of the letterbox, a signal for the morning post. From outside a grey light trickled in through somber clouds.

I resisted the urge to go and look immediately and waited until the coffee was freshly brewed and I had poured myself a cup. I couldn’t stop my heart beating in anticipation, just as it did every morning at this time.

It had been a month now and waiting had become a piece of my life. I wonder whether part of me wanted this to continue indefinitely. Waiting has purpose, when the wait was over I knew everything would change. Maybe I wasn't ready for that.

I walked through the small corridor that joined the kitchen to the living room and entrance. I avoided my reflection in the hallway mirror. Seeing an unshaven specter of myself in my frayed dressing gown was not something that was going to lift my spirits.

The post had landed in a chaotic jumble. I crouched down and carefully sifted through (the pile). I pushed away pizza delivery leaflets, bills and various junk mail to find, quietly sitting at the bottom, a small white envelope that had my name and address carefully printed in small blocked letters.

Okay, I'm back and I hope that was helpful. One of the reasons I dislike first person, present tense, is because it limits the amount of description we can write about. Everything has to be seen and experienced from a single POV, which is difficult to express, but especially hard to elaborate with lots of adjectives or "objective" observations about things.

Given the limitations of first person, you appear to be doing a good enough job of it. All you're really left with is dialogue and plot, so it better be good -- really good -- and captivating. I don't know if you achieve that, but it is too early to tell. Depends on what's in the letter and who this Urawa guy is.

In closing, the writers who do well with dialogue understand that it doesn't have to just "sound" real or authentic. It has to be "alive" and exude all those things we normally take for granted. Things like sneezing, coughing, sniffing, hesitating, clearing one's throat, spitting, swallowing, and a hundred other nuances that make the dialogue come to life, instead of just being words on the page. This is something that even in first person, can be described with great effect.

And characters also interrupt each other, sometimes frequently. A lot of authors avoid interrupted speech because it forces them to use what's called an "ellipsis". I've made a science out of the use of this little devil, so let me know if you want to know more *Smile*

I hope this is helpful and seriously, let me know if you have any more questions.
Bob

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