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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/tosca
Review Requests: OFF
51 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
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Review by tosca
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, A fascinating premise. I just have a couple of picky edit notes...you wrote...happened, but for some unexplainable reason, I can speak to....correction is ...happened but, for some unexplainable reason, I can speak to....the comma should ENCLOSE the clause (for some unexplainable reason) If you removed the whole clause, the sentence would still make sense; that's usually a good test as to where to place the comma. ...I have asked them TO WRITE FOR ME their stories... This phrasing may well be deliberate, 'future speech', or to indicate a 'foreign' aspect. However, as a reader, I don't yet know this, no establishing factor. As English it's awkward...to write their stories for me...would be the usual way to go. You may well be using this as an aspect of the character, so I'm only guessing here. Love the idea, and the futuristic approach. I'm only doing this 'editing' because this is so short. Normally I just would look at structure, story,character and make comments. Good stuff...
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Review of Unrequited Love  
Review by tosca
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi Judy. Re your request: I hope my rating does not look too mean, compared to the current average the poem has. I do think it needs some work to bring it up to the standard I believe you are looking forward to. There's still a certain awkwardness to it. I think much of the problem lies in the rhythm or, to my mind, lack of it. That said, I confess, I RARELY REVIEW POETRY, because there are so many protocols, so many forms, so much pedantry involved in the world of poets that one easily gets into very hot water stating subjective points of view! (It's also why I don't attempt it very often myself.) But, here goes. Starting with the layout...I would make it LOOK more like a poem...ie..
Loving you fills my heart with joy
You complete me in so many ways
You make me feel like a princess,
special and loved,
And yet...

I know that you do not love me
as much as I love you,
And that hurts.
By breaking the work into stanzas, I think you'll find it easier to see what I mean by 'rhythm' and, reading aloud, to determine where it is missing. I don't, of course, mean rhyme, but all poetry should have a natural flow of language. You use 'that' a lot, seems particularly awkward and unnecessary in the last line. The line that really jars to me is 'You have mended all the broken bones' You are talking about emotions throughout, and then we come to 'bones'? I don't believe the analogy really works. Could you think of an alternative? Worth reworking through this one.
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Review of ACRO*BATICS  
Review by tosca
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Love this idea. Is a new round going to be starting? I'll keep a lookout!
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Review of The Painter  
Review by tosca
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, This is a truly lovely idea. I feel it does need a little more tweaking to bring out the best in it, so I'll make a few suggestions for you to consider, or discard at will.... The sound of a horse's footsteps..although I realise you are looking to express this in a unique way, to me it doesn't quite gel. The term 'horse's footsteps' does have a charming tone in keeping with the subject, but perhaps needs some explanatory emphasis to make the whole phrase clearer..ie the clip-clop of a horse's footsteps...or something of that nature?...One of these people was a young boy, far from childhood but still only a boy, he didn’t exactly see showing emotion as a good thing...I am an exponent of the longer,run-on sentence, but I do feel this one needs to be split. Also you seem to be overwriting it a little when you use 'peeople'..One of these was a young boy. Far from childhood, but still a boy,he etc.(Though I do think you might rethink the rest of the sentence. It's more wooden, stiffer than much of the other writing in the piece.).. Falling to the less-than-welcoming grass below ...you should actually hyphenate the compound adjective you've formed here, if you want to get picky....Years later, a man drove up the dry gravel path alongside St Illtyds Church. Armed with a brush and a canvas, he stepped out onto the sun-soaked driveway, his smile outshining the shadow cast on his face by the rim of his hat. I do feel this transition is somewhat akward. The reader will get the message..boy to man...but perhaps there's a more subtle way to bring the reader into the mood. I think it's the obvious device of 'years later' that seems to whack me on the head. Is it really necessary? You've used the visual text break and it seems to overstate your case....THE man drove up the dry gravel path alongside St Illtyds Church. Armed with a brush and a canvas, he stepped out...?..As his painting came so vividly to life, so did memories. HE looked past the church to the fields beyond, REMEMBERING the boy who...nice to make the voice more active where you can in a narrative piece such as this...Great charm in the offing, worth honing to perfection.
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Review by tosca
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, This is a very good idea, but I feel it needs a bit more work to fulfill its potential. The flow is rather choppy at the moment and, here and there, there's a repetitive tendency that reads awkwardly. Also some of the switching to the perfect tense seems out of place...ie(relevant to both these comments)..an 80 inch long piece of rubber that the tire builder WOULD use to build a tire WITH...an 80 inch long piece of rubber that the tire builder USES to build a tire ...When throwing the rubber my mind would wander as I worked...When throwing the rubber my mind WANDERED as I worked...I believe switching to the simple past tense makes the voice more active, more involving for the reader....another word ran through my mind.Every time I picked up a tread a new word RAN THROUGH MY MIND. Could you vary the thought,'sprang into my head' or something akin that saves the repitition. I realise repetitive phrases can hold their own power, but they don't seem to be serving that kind of purpose here, so you might get more mileage out of expressing the though differently throughout...I gave up and changed the station ON THE RADIO to a country music station. This seems to becoming overstated. The reader knows you are referring to a radio station, so why not...I gave up and changed to a country music station. Couple of picky suggestions... take my normal (USUAL)shower?..each drop of water seemed to turn into(BECOME)a word that seeped into the pores of my body as IT (each needs singular) struck (TOUCHED?) MY SKIN (rather than the repetitive and inanimate feeling 'it'? I also think you need to strengthen the last couple fo lines, to emphasise the suddenness of the evaporation of the words...BUT to my horror...for so long had vanished, disappeared,or perhaps come up with some strong metaphor to boost the feeling of loss...disappeared like...The meat of a really good story is here, just feel it needs a little gravy. Excellent idea!
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Review of The Playgrounds  
Review by tosca
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi, I haven't read much of what I printed out. (Chapter One, I presume?) Thus I'm not actually rating it overall. Seems a bit unfair, but apparently I have to tick a rating. Part of the reason for not going on at the moment is...well frankly I'm rather confused by what I've read so far. I do understand that other worlds,time zones etc come together for the reader rather like a mosaic, many pieces eventually making a pattern. But I believe the reader's interest has to be well and truly sparked up front, to make searching for the pattern an adventure,rather than a chore. So far, for me, it's like swimming through mud, heavy going.
I don't want to sound too negative! As I go on, the veils might lift for me. Problem is, as it stands, I would not go on. Thus I'm tackling just this introductory stuff, because I truly feel you need to inveigle the reader, within these first few paragraphs.
That said, the OPENING paragraph is quite strong. Couple of small suggestions. I would look at a standard way of displaying The Event throughout the whole story, perhaps Italics, or, if, as it seems the story is virtually all narrative(dialogue?) 'The Event.' I also think your punctuation is rather pedantic,stopping the reading flow ie.. processing signatures, and footage. (drop the comma.)...But whether it came OR WAS PLANTED OR ANYTHING ELSE, clumsy here. If you have to express this, perhaps SOMETHING else? But I believe the language needs reworking. Then there's the tense, grammar thing...It was a long time coming...I believe this would work better in the past perfect..it HAD BEEN a long time coming. .. For purposes of simplicity..I know you are trying to establish a certain rather formalised voice for the narrator, but perhaps this should be SIMPLIFICATION or even BY WAY OF EXPLANATION, seems to read very awkwardly as is. I am A? Chief of Staff ...is there not only one?..thus THE? The Generals can't panic THAT. They can panic among themselves (technically AMONGST, and it does seem to better suit the voice you've chosen.)They may need to CONJECTURE (or similar) THAT. Confused as to whether you are then referring to THEIR government or mean some other government, when you go ...across the ocean or down the continent. If their own, why add this. If generalising, A government, or SOME government.....at first, applied solely to our screens. The screens on our heads sprouted SPROUT out from behind the right temple, and the stalk of the screen was IS an extension of our skin:ETC. You have to use the present tense here.(unless they have all died out, or are now physically completely different. If so you'll need something like..at that time...)You have to weave the present tense through when you are describing what IS, the stalk PROTRUDES from the screen etc. You will find areas throughout your story when this crossover is essential.(I can direct you to an example of this kind of thing, but I'm sure you know many).
I won't be so detailed in future, and will try to get to more of the story in a more generalised way, when I find some time. You might HATE ME. If so,just tell me to do the other thing.
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Review by tosca
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, I'm giving this 4.5, although from the point of view of STORY (originality, structure,concept) I would like to give it 5. My rating is generous, because there ARE a few glitches in the writing, but I feel they could easily be fixed. TENSE is a bit all over the place. I'm not saying you can't switch back and forth a little, but not within the same context, thus try ...while her relaxed mouth is slightly turned up at the corners. Despite her massive size and her 2D appearance, she APPEARS alive.( Though I'd use LOOKS to differentiate).Basically your "Voice" is present tense, which works, so I'd keep it that way...ie...I was 8 years old that day. His nose was crooked, where I had a bumpy one, but I REMEMBER a pleasant awkwardness he had .....I scan blank walls for the perfect spot, (delete repetition(for), my second day on the job. The bare streets still feel unfamiliar without the usual bustle of people, and (delete FEELS, incorrect singular anyway, repetitive and the verb is still working for you) eerie without the chaos of the fear of the Regulators, who HAVE been present all my 23 years.(The present tense here helps make sense of the next line).. It has only been three weeks.(But I think you need some justification of this line, perhaps even a question..Is it only three weeks since they..what?..died out..left the planet? Just a couple of words here will a ctually add to the tension rather than give too much away. The reader will still be gasping to know what or who the Regulators are. Don't make them work quite so hard, still plenty for them to wonder about, but tiny clues along the way keep them involved in the search. ... I turn down street 43 J, where I worked yesterday, and am caught by surprise. I see about eight or nine people, more people THAN I have seen in one place ...At those words, I know this project will work. My task IS to paint images beautifying flaws of naturally born people. You also jump from Regulated Beauty to the short RB a little too quickly. The reader doesn't know what you know,give him a minute to catch up ie... and none of the Regulated Beauties (RBs) survied Megiddo, leaving us Natural Borns (repetition to clarify the FUTURE use of these intitials for the reader.I wouldn't use them in this sentence.) I understand that the initials indicate common usage within the society, but I would alternate them now and then with the complete description, to keep the reader on track. We tend to become so familiar with our own stories and characters that we can leave the reader behind. Keep them guessing, but not frustrated! Still tidying up to do, but worth working up because this is truly a creative and original story. Love to see you make a bit more of the artist, the act of painting, the artist as society's mainstay, inspiration,soul. Don't mean to get too heavy here, but a little extra characterisation could really work. I don't know how to say this without banging my own drum, but I have a story in my portfolio that handles the character of a musician in this "artistic" sense, that might demonstrate the kind of extra feeling I mean. NO I am not trying to change the genre etc. But a little more heart wouldn't hurt. This could build to an absolute beauty. Great work.Regards Maria
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Review by tosca
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
Hi. This is an interesting idea, and I see what you're aiming for. But you're not there yet. My comments will be somewhat generalised, as there are quite a few grammar glitches, but it's attention to the form and sense of the piece that I assume you would find more helpful than pedantic corrections.Quick grammar note though;watch tenses, they often switch around in the notes in a confused way.ie.. Resident in his room calling out for help. Upon entering the room, the resident was attempting to enter his closet. If you are going to use the present tense in an opening line like this, I would separate it from the rest of the entry, make it more immediate.
13 May, 2003 1100: Resident in his room calling out for help.
Upon entry into the room the resident was found in his pajamas pulling clothes out of his dresser etc. This may actually be a good way to set the scene for each "entry". Define the opening line in present tense from point of view of nurse on duty, then revert to past tense to tell the event. Also, stylistic consistency works particularly well in a piece made of up so many vignettes. I believe you also need to separate the police or coroner's notes from the entries in some stylised way. Perhaps even simple ----------- division or some such. Opening "report"..The prescribed medications at the time of the incident were as follows: I know you need this to sound authentic,but the detail is dead boring. Any chance of something like ..prescribed DAILY medications...Aricept 10mg;Lipitor 10mg etc. It's not as if the detail is fascinating in the way..."fingers missing from left hand noted as etc"..so needs to be honed for the reader to stay with you. Also this section needs additional punctuation to make it more readable. Keep that official tone, but if possible simplify this a little.ie ..resident of Sandhill Longterm Care and Respite Center of Carol’s Crossing Wisconsin.
Robert Hauser Sr. had been a resident at Sandhill for two months prior to the incidents in question. Somehow too, you need to make me suspicious right from the start, to get me to read on. Suspicion and tension are the keys here. I would cut down on the number of nurses entries. A bit repetitive, they slow down the action.Use the old screen writing mantra "enter each scene as LATE as possible, in the telling". Nowhere do you give the impression that the nurses become suspicious, or disturbed. I think you need that element to build the tension and keep me, the reader, from dozing off. After all, I don't care what medication the old bloke is taking. (Quick thought too on medical aspect)..the urine test comes back negative, but negative to what? Perhaps this could be a turned into a "clue" for the reader? I also think the ending is rather weak. Surely the nursing staff were not suspect? You've set the bad guys up. I know they seem to have disappeared but I think you need to cover this somehow. Also believe your current last line needs to be present tense... Sandhill Long Term Care and Respite Center is currently under a Medicare investigation, however, no deficiencies have so far been found, regarding this incident. I don't want to seem negative, because I do think you have the start of something good here.These suggestions are merely the kind of notes I would pass on if I were your first-draft editor.I know you need to keep the "official" tone and report aspect, but, from a reading point of view, it's a little too subtle, at the moment. But this is well worth working up. By the way, I would nominate this "short story". It could end up a good one.
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Review by tosca
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Great open brief!
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Review of A magical journey  
Review by tosca
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi,
I'm not sure what yiu are trying to summarise here, the whole story or just the opening chapter? The idea of the boys and the enchanted turtle is a delightful one. And if that's what the story is really about, I think you should start with that, actually reverse the order somewhat, along the lines..When tragedy strikes and young Jack and Johnny lose their parents, their home and security in the same instant they...etc etc..The stuff about the dad, property etc is really for the chapter content, I believe. There are some technical errors, grammar, spelling...ie John Charkell, is a highly influencial and popular (comma has NO reason to be there, is incorrect usage)...been accustomED to... differEnt...Charkells (only plural,not possessive, so no apostrophe) ...possesSions... loneliness and dEspair.. enchaNted...These may all just be bad typing of course, but worth noting. I would rate this lower,in regard to form,structure,errors etc, except for the saving grace of that great idea baout the turtle and two boys. I assume we are talking about some fantasy place, are they "native" boys. I make the assumption because of the freedom suggested by their leaving school at such young ages etc, the kind of society this might bring to mind. Anyway, the idea behind it is very good, but this summation really needs a lot od work. If it is of the whole book, is it a blueprint for you to work from? What's its purpose?
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Review of Life and Death  
Review by tosca
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hi,
An interesting beginning. A few suggestions ..
For a few mere years they were together..should really be..a mere few years. Omahi is capitalised but lyero does not seem to be..Lyero? sworn to be apart from then on..."sworn" indicates an action on THEIR part, perhaps another word.... knowledge of using a dagger..akward and grammatically tenuous...skill with a dagger, whatever? Is this just a working title? Hope so...Good beginning. Regards
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Review by tosca
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi. This is really on the way to excellence, but I believe still needs honing. I don't want to make suggestions, it's your thing, but it's the only way I can convey what I mean, so here goes. The second sentence is a little tautological, a bit overwritten...Deep in the recesses of his mind, he knew that he would ONLY regret this in the end. I suggest you drop the comma and ONLY. The next sentence is great (though my preference is for, even a shudder, but hey,pedantic me.)... And although he wouldn't admit it, he was lonely...Technically, you should enclose the whole clause with commas, ie And, although etc...but we can all end up with pages full of the things so take your pick...Her body, it was incongruent and unfortunate...the adjective you want is incongrOUS...And she was so needing,NEEDY...He knew that she was merely confused.He's only just met her so it seems you might need to justify this as his thinking with BUT he knew.....on a scale that only a girl with an uncaring or absent father could be. This seems too politically correct, too "nice". Here's this guy casually skrewing this girl and using the language of a high-school counsellor. I think you need something stronger here, whatever nasty kind of father he turns out to be. ..She wore it like a scar....your Golden Line, make the most of it. I'd put it after the "father line" and lose..she didn't say, three hours etc..I'd put "three hours" info up front... He knew this was wrong.. he only met her or whatever. Good ending, wrong punctuation, and he felt... nothing.(I'd italicise "nothing"). Don't mean to seem negative, this is good and can get better!
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Review by tosca
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi, practicals first.. Nibble youR nose - tickle your toes (typo). I find the meter a bit all over the place, ie second last stanza particularly. Perhaps stanza one could act as your guideline? Here the meter and rhythm work really well. The intention seems rather Cat In The Hat, not the rhythm etc, but the mischieviousness. However, the mischief is a little, well, I suppose tame is the word.Get even naughtier perhaps?
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Review of Monday  
Review by tosca
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi. Aaghh poetry is so hard to review. Well here goes..overall terrific subject (more on this later). Some of your line breaks are off, ie..To make the bed, and change the sheets..To make the bed
And change the sheets

Vacuum the carpet
and clean the spots

Wash the dishes by the window
As I watch the flowers grow.

When you feel the need for a comma, think "line break"
Though for rythmn I'd drop the "ands" but hey, your words.
I'm back tracking now, first stanza
I have to wash the clothes
Of all the duties I have to do
Okay I'm picky but you don't Do a duty you perform it, but all the JOBS or THINGS or.. your magic word..actually improves the meter here too.
The machines do most of the work, and even
Call me when they’re done.

The machines just do the work
And even call me when it's done. Or some slight adjustment to improve the rhythmic flow here. You'll shoot me for this one, but couldn't help myself, the line break thing and all..
Have to go and check on it
Forgot to close the lid again!
Don't want to seem negative, but a bit more work needed to bring this one up in the rating for me. Obviously I like the subject because I too have a mad little poem about it in my portfolio "What Goes Around Comes Around" Nowhere near as big a piece as yours but love your opinion. Fascinating that someone else feels it's worthy of the word effort. Regards Maria
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Review of TANGERINES  
Review by tosca
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi. Lovely subject matter and approach. I do find a fair few structural faults though, but they can easily be addressed. Check for spelling..shephErd. Tenses go a bit awry. Many good writers come a cruncher here. It's a killer decision BUT past tense and present narrative meld very happily. Thus ..I LOVE tangerines. The reader makes the natural adjustment that you still love them, so why past tense?.. I’m nine or ten (really needs a comma here) at my grandma’s house for (ON? more active voice?) Christmas Eve...I can feel the tingle on my lips that always happenED when I BIT the peel. (active voice again, involves the reader in the moment, and reverse example of the tense form in the previous lot.)
When I think of Christmas Eve at Grandma's I remember ..again passive..you could begin at "I remember" the reader is with you, knows it's Christmas...The tree was raised up , SO that it could be seen (high enough is then a given)... The building was very large ...the model, stable,creche..it's not really a building but a miniature of one, you'll have a great word tucked away there somewhere. I know this was posted last year, but it seemed an appropriate time to look at it, nearing Christmas. It's a gentle, warming piece that would be helped with an update, reworking for THIS Christmas. I'd love you to look an my Chritsmas (well kind of) story The Catchers. It's not gentle and uses the ripe language of seventeen-year-old boys. But it's fun and I'd appreciate your opinion.
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