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176
176
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hi, Luka,

I think you're on to something here. A somewhat fresh approach to an old theme that's been done many times before in many ways. But there's something about your presentation and execution that caught my attention and was worthy, I felt, of a few observations and comments. Especially given that this genre is one of my personal favorites *Smile*

I like the innovative twist of "serial killer meets overeater" and find it to be an interesting if not a largely original theme. This is particular true as it pertains to a "seven sins" approach. You've set the bar fairly high for yourself because all the other stories will need to be as new and unexpected as this one. A nice challenge if you're up to it *Smile*

Depending on how you "wrap" all these up, a singular theme would make a nice way to tie things all together, despite the stories themselves being different. For example, it would be easy to cover all the sins while "working" out of the same diner, albeit with different characters. It would be fun to focus on a different group of characters each time, but the previous ones, such as Harris and Sandy, are still "glimpsed" in the background, but are ignored as little more than other "patrons" of this "diner from hell". Could be a coffee shop, whatever.

As the author, don't be too skimpy with your descriptions or the horror and gore *Smile* Remember that in writing fiction, your characters and scenes generally need to be larger than life. Exaggerated but still believable. In this context, Harris should be morbidly overweight. Grossly so, if not totally disgusting.

We know what's in it for Harris, but not for Sandy. She gloms onto Harris because he "consumes" the incriminating evidence. It's a match made in heaven. Harris should be skeptical, also, as to why a beautiful gal like Sandy, would have any interest in him. Which we finally figure out. So does he. An added twist would be for Harris to give in, go along, and in order to keep the girl of his dreams, decides that his new taste for meat isn't all that bad *Smile*

Anyway, you get the idea. I also think the headline should read: Decapitated heads identified in Odessa county. Authorities still searching for missing bodies.

And then the rest of it is okay. Don't be too dramatic. The more straight (dull) the newspaper text, the better. Keep in mind also that he may be using a laptop or notebook. Newspapers would date the piece to present day. Even a cell phone type thing can have the same headlines for his local area news.

Remember: Fatter, bloodier, gorier, more descriptive, and prettier. And the same for all the stories. Don't hold back. Make me cringe *Smile*

Bob
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177
177
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (2.5)
Hi, Ben,

In a way, this is not going to be a fair review of your work. What I mean is that I don't have much to say about the actual content, but from what I looked at, the writing itself is actually quite good. And the story is engaging and well described. All the more reason for me to jump into this and ask you what the holy heck are you doing? *Smile*

What you've written here is this big, giant gob of continuous narrative and dialogue all mixed together, all running together, and really preventing others from getting into your story and understanding it. Maybe it's copy and paste error where all your paragraph breaks were lost? I don't know, and in its present condition, it is just too much work to hassle with. But...

If you will take the time and put in all the breaks, and separate out all of the dialogue sections from the narrative parts, I would be happy to take a look at this again and see how and what you did with it *Smile*

Just in case it applies, paragraph breaks are pretty easy to find where they belong, based on the idea that a single paragraph usually begins and ends with a single thought, single character, single piece of action, or small grouping of stuff that is so closely connected, that separating them would seem silly. Many authors struggle with finding these breaks until they get a feel for them. If this applies to you, be patient, you'll get it.

Dialogue is very straightforward, whereby each speaker always gets their own paragraph. Never combine two speakers in the same paragraph. Two or more characters, however, can be combined, if the POV of the action is singular, and that of our main character. But as soon as someone opens their mouth -- separate paragraph *Smile*

I hope this helps, and let me know if and when you "chop" this into the smaller pieces it needs to be. BTW, while I believe this might deserve much more than 2 1/2 stars, it's just not possible in its current condition.
Bob

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178
178
Review of Untitled  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi, Mr. Bean,
(any relation to that other Mr. Bean? *Smile*

The short answer to your question is, no, the story doesn't work as presently written. The short question is why are you mixing the two styles for apparently no reason? The second half, written exclusively in third-person past-tense, works extremely well. As would the top half, if written to match the lower.

Since you seem capable of writing in either style, although your 3rd person is better, just settle it that you'll write the whole thing in 3rd person and be done with it. 1st person is very difficult to keep straight, and allows for a minimum of descriptive details. Most writers who try 1st person, end up drifting into and out of, 3rd person. So it gets very confusing fast, and sooner, rather than later, most readers will just throw up their hands and move to another story.

I will say this much, we've all seen stories where there's a present-day storyteller. And this narrator then takes us back to another time or place. In this sense, you can mix present and past tenses. Especially if you return to the present here and there, and then go back again. That might be kind of fun, and I get the impression that you're doing some of that in this story. Let me know what you decide, do a rewrite, and I'll try to give one more honest read once you're settle on a definite path.

Btw, the work is extremely dense. By this I mean the paragraphs are long and filled with a lot of good stuff. Once you get the tenses worked out, try breaking the paragraphs into thirds of what they are now. I can help with that, also, if we get to that point.

Bob

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179
179
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, S.z.,

I felt this deserved a review that concentrates on only one aspect of your writing. I think it's written well enough, with minor problems here and there, but that is not the focus of my attention.

This is essentially a straight prose piece that you've written in poem format, structurally. I am curious as to why you did this. The story is so interesting and pleasing, that written out in full prose form would make this three times better than it is. Unless there is a reason that I fail to see, to write this as it is, and not do it as 5-10 separate paragraphs that stretch the full width of the page, such as a more typical short story, I hope you will consider a full and complete rearrangement of this work -- as straight prose.

This is an example of what I referred to in my earlier letter to you. Where all your works resemble poems. And none that I could find, resembled prose pieces. Written as prose, you would find that you could add new words and descriptions that may have not occurred to you earlier.

I hope my observation is helpful, and let me know if I'm making any sense with all this *Smile*

Bob

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180
180
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, again, S.z.,

This is an interesting piece because it represents what is called, "prose poetry". The work is literally half poem, half prose, and for the most part, I think you pull it off rather well. Once more, the punctuation and grammar pose aspects which deserve special attention. Especially in a work of this quality which is otherwise outstanding.

The "stanza" formatting, arrangement of lines, line breaks, and words left "dangling" are also somewhat awkward, and detract from the visual imagery and hot, fiery beauty of the piece.

I thought you captured perfectly the whole idea of one's fascination (and mesmerization) with molten, melting elements, and phrases like, "a metallic gold syrup" are pure literary "gold" *Smile*

The ending was good but thrown-in too hurriedly and could be done better if worked on. The whole last 1/2 of the stanza plays really well and leads to a great conclusion.

Overall, I really liked this. It is so full of wonderful qualities, that it is a shame to leave it with so many small problems. Once again, a 4 1/2 to 5-star work that is lessened by weak structure. Even so, it still gets high marks.

Bob

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181
181
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, S.z.,

As lovely as this poem is, and it is indeed gorgeous in its imagery and descriptions, the piece has some problems, or issues, if you like, with which I am concerned. As follows:

The use of punctuation is random, and seemingly utilized without any true purpose or pattern. This is easily fixed, but represents a factor that deserves attention.

Peasants toiling and pheasants scratching
as I spy a cricket somersaulting

In the line above, the author or witness -- "I" -- spies a cricket, but we don't know who this person is and never hear from them again throughout the poem. Either "someone' is telling us what "they" see, or the author should remain out of the poem altogether. No right or wrong, just a matter of consistency and clarity *Smile*

The cactus the desert's prickly femme-fatale
elsewhere a lone leaf floats in the canal

In the line above, it should read The cactus "is" the desert's femme fatale (no hyphen) or:
The cactus -- the desert's femme fatale.

Prairie dogs go popping
while hares go hopping
and ladies go shopping

In the stanza above, "humans" make another unexpected appearance, while all the rest of the poem is entirely focused on nature. While this isn't bad, choosing another form, such as:

Prairie dogs go popping
while hares go hopping
and suitors go shopping

With this change above, we how have a nice chance to imagine "animals" seeking out mates. This leaves only one reference to "peasants" which I think you should replace with another animal reference.

Swans have formed a V-line
The flora too is divine
as bees swarm in bee-line.

In the line above, Swans have formed a "vee-line" is probably a better way to express this.
"beeline" is one word. (I know, I'm so picky *Smile*

Seista is spelled siesta.

What a medley eh of scenery
Murky eve and dawning greenery

In the line above, "eh" is too informal, and used only in dialogue. Has no meaning in regular narrative.

Ah, wherever you go nature's so panoramic
While we make pictures God made what's picturesque!

In the lines above, the concept is beautiful, but awkwardly worded. I like the first line, however. Still too informal, but I can live with it *Smile*

The second line is problematic. Maybe something more like:
While we only make pictures, God makes the whole world picturesque!

This is more akin to what I think you're trying to say. The last lines are always the hardest, but the most meaningful. With corrections made where I single them out, I would give this poem 4 1/2 stars easy.

I felt like I was there. Nicely done.
Bob

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182
182
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, Elizabeth,

I must confess that when I saw your moniker, Elizabeth HATE Spiders!, I decided then and there, I had to to see this person's bio. And now I'm glad I did. There's some very inspirational, very personal stuff here that is honest and not sugar-coated for easy consumption.

I've now read many of your poems, all of which are easy on the eyes, but several of which tug at the heart and pull on one's soul. Let alone call to a multitude of spirits both figurative and literal. I chose this one to review because I love the dance and rhythm of the piece, and how it "sings" to one of the great divinities of both ancient and modern times.

I wonder if this poem would work even better if you explained just s smidge more about Isis, and why she is so important not only to you, but to the world at large *Smile* That the "goddess" in every sense of the term, as the Divine Mother, applies to all who might listen, hear the music that welcomes us, and be freed accordingly.

Yeah, right, now put all that in another single line when you get chance *Smile*

I also liked this because it is filled with a joy and optimism that is absent from several of your other poems. So if I was to review one, I felt this was as good (or better) than most.

I also hope it's not true that you hate ALL spiders *Smile* Some of my best friends are arachnids, although we have scorpions here in Arizona, so you may have the right attitude ultimately.

Once again, I enjoy your work because it's a tad more than "just" poems. The words tend to be like lines or tethers direct from your inner being to anyone who's open to truthfulness in its most unvarnished, undisguised trapping.

Before leaving, I will snoop around a bit more and look for a prose piece I can cause some trouble with. Maybe not. Your poetry is likely as good as any prose you've written. I'll let you know if I find something worth commenting on *Smile*
Bob

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183
183
Review of Whispering Walls  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | N/A (Review only item.)
Hi, again, Nixie,

You have way too much stuff to look at, read, review, marvel over, and otherwise relish. So I just finally relented and looked for something that might offer a respite from the overwhelming cavalcade of splendiferous offerings that bulge from your near countless folders *Smile*

While this is surely not one of your best stories, nor believable ones, I found it so surreal and intriguing, where I loved the whole "Welcome home," whispered the walls, "Welcome home," scratched the tree branch against the window, "We've been waiting," sighed the wind -- that you won me over despite an illogical (in my opinion) and lackluster ending.

For me, the piece is very visual, and I pictured one of those episodes from a TV (or feature film) anthology of scary stories. It works very well in that context. It would also be wonderful as an audio-only work, narrated with sound effects. As a straight read, I was less than thrilled, however, because I wanted to like the protagonist and things only grew worse for him -- and for the reader. It's certainly not the fault of the writing, at which you excel and leave only the content itself for evaluation.

It's almost like you lost interest in the story about 3/4 of the way through. I don't know. I understand a prompt was involved. I think there's a really good ending still waiting to be told here. One that matches the superb build-up and match-up of Flint with the creepy physical surroundings that confront him. Let alone the spirits of the disgruntled deceased *Smile*

Well, I've said enough, but let me know if I made sense in the process. I look forward, when time permits. to returning to your port and reading more of your totally professional work. It's been my pleasure (and honor) to be picky with it. *Smile* And easy 3 1/2 stars, and an easier 4 1/2 with the right ending.
Bob

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184
184
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, Marisa,

As you can see, I totally messed with your writing. Much less than you might think, however. What I did essentially, was simply to break the whole thing up into what seemed to be natural splits in both thought and action. While I didn't intend this as the be-all, end-all of how your paragraph breaks ought to go, I did feel this would be a helpful demonstration how busting these things up can reveal what we're saying and doing, and what might be missing or shouldn't necessarily go together. I'm sure you'll further switch things around, but if you use my chopping and slashing approach *Smile* I think you'll figure out sooner and with more clarity, exactly where the pieces fit.

Naturally I don't know where you're going with this, but I feel like you're off to a good start storywise. The main character appears to be somewhat of a lost soul, dissatisfied with life and unsure of what he really wants to do.

There's an old song about "...the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind." In this case, the answer may be in the falling rain *Smile*

Let me know if this was helpful.
Bob

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What follows is my lame attempt to put paragraph breaks into your story. Is nothing sacred? *Smile*

The first thing I noticed when I woke up was that it was raining again. Third time in a week, not that I was complaining. There's a certain quality unique to the sound of falling rain; it has the ability to drown out the thoughts of others, no matter how loud they may be.

On a rainy day, I wouldn't have to dread leaving my house, fearing that the sound would overwhelm me and force me to take refuge in some corner market, while passersby regarded me with something between concern and apprehension.

On a rainy day, there would even be less people on the sidewalk, so the chance of coming across an errant exclaimed thought was much less likely.

I sighed and stretched, disturbing the black furry blob that was Atticus, my most loyal alleycat, who gave off a noise, something between a meow and a chirrup, before prancing off of the edge of the bed and out of the room.

My alarm hadn't yet gone off; the bright blue LEDs read "7:18," leaving me almost a full hour and a half before I had to get to work. Given my condition, I had done everything in my power to procure some sort of occupation that didn't necessarily require me to get out much, and I knew for certain that working in customer service was completely out of the question.

I had played out the scenario several times in my head, running through exactly what would happen every time I was on the phone with a customer. They would think something. I would respond, thinking that they had said it out loud. They would promptly freak out, and no longer want to work with our company. Right?

That may have been a slight overreaction, but I was sure that any customer would surely catch on to something weird going on after oh, say, the sixth or seventh time that it happened in one phone call. I could never be sure, and it was for that reason that I knew I had to get into a very particular line of work. Something that could be done at home, with little to no supervision or human interaction.

Journalism.

The company that hired me was apprehensive, at best, when I told them the stipulations of my employment. I would come to the office when required, but requested that most days I be allowed to work from home. They questioned me mercilessly, but I was able to convince them that I simply had a social disorder that made it difficult for me to work in crowded office areas.

That was three years earlier, when I was fresh out of college, and the editors had agreed to give me a chance, based mainly on my four year degree and a handful of stellar recommendations from my professors in college who had seen just what I could do when I didn't have to be subjected to a classroom.

Now, I had become one of the most sought after writers in the Baltimore area, one who does the most intricate research to get the job done. I sometimes wonder if I would still be so sought after if anyone knew the truth behind my most exquisite research.

Which more or less brought me to today. It was a rare day, a Tuesday, when I was expected to go into the office to attend a once weekly meeting in which we would discuss everyone's assignments, as well as the expectations and goals for the week and month.

I had, in some serious instances, found a way to get out of even these outings, however I had decided that day to take full advantage of the weather and go out, for the first time in about a week.



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185
185
Rated: 18+ | N/A (Review only item.)
Hi, Bareliin,

This story is too good, too well written, too strange and scary, to leave me and other readers with what I feel is an awkward and esoteric ending. I had to Google poyo, which I guessed as being one of those Japanese doll-like characters. Then I had to guess who is speaking the final word, which I suppose is the eight-year-old, who recognizes the monster as being something from either her toy box, television, or a video game. My assumption is that had the monster been a block with pegs, the last word might have been "Lego!"

This is actually a fun story and I liked it, but my fear is that the key reference will be too unfamiliar to too many readers. The only other troubling aspect, although not a major issue because I think I understand the intent, is the overall seriousness of the piece, intense and graphic, not so much as a giggle, only to put a quasi-humorous spin on things at the very end.

If the intent was to show how humor, either on purpose or by accident, is sometimes the last gasp before destruction and death, your goal was accomplished, but only half way, I believe. Or rather, the impact could be twice as powerful with an equally outlandish -- but more recognizable -- popular figure that not only might the boy or his sister recognize, but most readers as well.

Maybe just a more familiar character that bears a similar color and shape. I don't know. I like the concept, but don't play video games, so I can't help beyond my griping that the connection isn't strong enough *Smile*

Help me out here and tell me where I've gone astray, or suggest some alternatives that we both could live with *Smile*

Once again, this is very good, and for those who "get" it entirely, I'm sure it works well. Let me know because I want to like this more than I do. Which means going from good to great.
Bob

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186
186
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Hi, S.Z. Kamoonpuri,

It is my esteemed pleasure to make your acquaintance and to have the opportunity to both say hello, and review some of your writing. Your biography is almost as interesting as any story you may write about, and your name alone is not only fascinating, but would make a wonderful moniker for a character in a story *Smile*

I really liked this insightful monologue on dreams. This would also make a marvelous free verse poem, in the event you should decide to rewrite it. One of the distinctive qualities, among many, that your writing expresses, is a delightful African intonation which is at one and the same time unique, colorful, interesting and international. Your words and the way you write are as much auditory as they are lines of text. I can "hear" you speaking to me, and it is a very pleasant sound.

There are, of course, some (minor) English grammar and punctuation issues with your writing, but these are easily fixed, the reasons learned, and not repeated in the future. I am reluctant, however, to go through each and every one with you, because your work, overall, is so pleasing to both eye and ear. I have a feeling I would very much enjoy reading anything you have written, and henceforth, please consider me as a fan. Seriously.

I like your ideas about dreams, and you successfully combined science with a bit of fantasy in this particular piece. Nicely done. Even in this short work of straight prose, you whisked me away to foreign, exotic lands, themselves dreamlike and mysterious -- and often foreboding and frightening. Do our nightmares reign in the world of dreams? Or do we just remember them more vividly than others? If we are sometimes terrified, so do we also, on occasion, fall in love inside our nighttime reveries.

More than once, I have felt a sense of loss upon awakening, as much as any recovery from something frightful or hideous.

Once again, thank you for reviewing my work, and I hope you went back and read the introduction I added. To which I've now added a short piece at the very end *Smile* It has been my privilege to read some of your work and I look forward to doing so again. Let me know if you have any questions about the grammar stuff, otherwise, I wish you well. Seriously *Smile*
Bob

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187
187
Review of Friendship  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi,

I read this as a positive message of healing. Reciprocation, and the lack of same, when it comes to our relationships with others, often trusting and being trusted, sharing a wide variety of experiences, is no doubt a fickly affair. And more often than not, we wind up being disappointed.

The great friend turns out to be less than great, less than good even. The recipient of our good will, our money, time, and caring, is soon departed with not so much as a look back over their shoulder. Worse yet, we are ignored because we're no longer needed. Thus the origin of true and authentic altruism. And the attitude that heals with every breath.

Righteous people do the right thing even when no one is looking. Did you help that friend because there was something in it for you? Did you comfort the stranger so they would like you and speak well of you? Or did you do things because you're a decent, loving person, and not for the purpose of being recognized on the street and being praised for your good deeds.

The good we do is separate from who we are. Or it should be. And in being separate, it lingers with the recipient who will carry with them the added quality of their good fortune in having known us. That is our reward. And it is the most control we can ever have. Where we hope for the best, but never expect predictable outcomes or results.

There are those who will see us and know. As well as those who will remember yet forget. The lasting impact of our effect on someone, be they stranger or friend, and be the impression brief or long, is not our concern. And when we make it so, we will likely be disappointed, both in ourselves and in others.

Isn't the real beauty of a flower found by watering it, but never snipping it for our own use? Or in wishing it was yellow instead of pink. This is a great topic that this review certainly leaves untouched and unresolved. But it is an important topic and this particular monologue gets right to the heart of it.

And comes to exact right conclusion. I loved it. Thanks for letting me ramble on. Oh, and btw, use a larger font size and nothing fancy. Simpler the better *Smile* Once more, I really liked this. You brought out a lot in me, which is what these things should do.

Bob

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188
188
Review of Tears  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi,

This is actually pretty damn good. I've read introspective pieces before, but this is one of the better ones. And what's so good about it, in at least one way, is that it represents the ultimate contradiction, the very opposite of what it describes, as is the true reality of the world.

The tone and tenor is that of the solitary man or woman. The island universe. That regardless of social interaction, assimilation, participation, no one truly knows or understands -- me. Yet through my eyes, where the truths of the world are so prevalent and potent, tears go publicly un-shed not because I am unable to weep, but because the sorrows I feel are beyond tears, are a private matter that only I could possibly understand.

The inherent contradiction is that if we, as human beings, have ever learned anything about ourselves as living, emotional entities, it is that we intrinsically, automatically, unavoidably share far more similarities than dissimilarities. We are all far more alike, than different.

And yet a great truth is described, bemoaned, and accurately portrayed in this powerful piece, more poem than prose. I think it should be rewritten as a poem (if possible) and a powerful one it would be. Free verse, of course.

I'm reminded of the yin and yang of all things, and how this work, in describing the isolation of the speaker, acknowledges his or her immersion within the communal human condition simultaneously. The flip side is that almost anyone who reads this, will think, yeah, that's me, that's how I feel. I get everyone else, but no one really gets me.

I got a lot out of this, and I hope you got something out of my evaluation. Keep up the good work. Oh, and use a larger font size, too. At least 12-point, sans serif or Times Roman. Thanks again.
Bob

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189
189
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Well, isn't this little scarefest a nice cross between old-time radio and more current TV anthologies designed to take us, ala Rod Serling and others, into those deep dark places where we may never return -- alive! Poor Stefan sure didn't, or certainly not in his right mind. I suppose an epilogue might have shown him as now being one of the inmates himself -- complete with straitjacket.

I liked this because it set just the right tone and mood before it even got started. I could visualize everything, hear the thunder, feel the wind and the rain. Perfect. As these kind of short stories go, this was one of the better ones, and if anything, was too short. We almost needed a third story, and then the finale. I loved the old woman who got rid of her husband -- that was a classic. Hadn't heard that one before. All in all, the story lives up to the expectations it sets up, takes us to the end and doesn't disappoint.

Although there's plenty of room for some additional editing here, the structure in places is in need of repair almost as much as the Asylum itself *Smile* all the parts are nevertheless in place and solidly so. I read through this quickly, eager to see where things were going, and the easy writing style let me do just that.

Whether as a stand-alone piece, or one that eventually undergoes some final polishing, this was a great read that left me guessing and wanting more. Which is always a good thing. Nice work.
Bob

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190
190
Review of Porcelain Mind  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, DT21 (please forgive the shortening your moniker)

I chose your poem because we can do a quick overview and see what's weak in it, and how we can make it stronger. I love the whole idea of the metaphor you're using, and if the analogy is made more consistent and uniform, I think you'll not only appreciate the power of this particular piece, but see how the methodology can be applied to many other areas of writing.

Okay, so what am I talking about? Porcelain is both strong and weak. If you use the substance and compare it to our brains (minds) then go all the way with it. Keep the (ceramic) analogy going and don't divert to "everlasting thirst" for example, which is a water metaphor. Mixing metaphors or using them and not ending with the same ones or the same theme, can weaken an otherwise powerful piece, which your poem is -- if we don't critique it too closely. But since they pay me the big bucks to be picky (not really) *Smile* then it's my job to zero in on a work like yours and see if we can make it the best it can be.

The first six lines are terrific. And that's the last we see of the porcelain until the last line, where we need to recall that the person holding our trust is handling something as fragile as our porcelain "heart" one might also presume.

See, if in lines 7, 8, and 9, you can continue the ceramic metaphor in some way. Make the heart as fragile as the rest, yearns to remain unbroken, and instead of a "desperate mind", maybe the mind longs to be whole, without fractures, forever flawless, that sort of thing. I'd look for all the synonyms I can find on porcelain and ceramics.

Then stress the last two lines because I really like them. The idea that trust is like allowing another person to hold our very soul which, in theory, might be dropped and shattered, both on purpose or by accident.

I hope I gave you some stuff to think about. Let me know if this helps.
Bob

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191
191
Review of Santa Claws  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi, Cubby,

Me again, and I don't know why I even bother with a review format. I should just send you an email and say, "Here's your five stars, don't look for more -- I'm busy!"

Okay, so this isn't going down as one of the great literary masterpieces of modern times -- but it's close *Smile* I also think there's a hidden and secondary element to this that you may or may not have intended. Although I should know better than underestimate you. I tread lightly as I put forth the following:

His taste for blood
arose desire,
a desperate flood,
a sure vampire.

Remember one of the things that made the Grinch so great? He wasn't the real Santa, of course, but a somewhat convincing faux version that was just good enough to get job done. When I read this, the first thing that popped into my mind was that this wasn't the real Santa, but simply a whacky -- albeit evil -- vampire who found a rather unique way to disguise his true identity.

I believe the poem works well, either way, although you might consider an added "nudge" which would perhaps strengthen the notion that this may not be the actual Santa. Or maybe it is. Aha! *Smile* Let them wonder -- things are rarely what they seem.

Anyway, I scrolled way down to the end, looking for one of your poems that required some effort to find. Geez, you've been one busy lady. And it's my esteemed pleasure to once again be delighted and positively seduced by the quality of your writing.

Surely you are published all over the place, and I've just been too grouchy to notice. And if you're not, then let's get to it. Seriously. Once again congratulations to one of the truly superb writers here at WDC. What a joy it is to read work of this caliber. Thank you.

Bob

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192
192
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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193
193
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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194
194
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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195
195
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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196
196
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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197
197
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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198
198
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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199
199
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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200
200
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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