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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/voxxylady
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336 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
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Review of Greenwillow Pass  
Review by Voxxylady
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi, Emily, this is a nicely written story with a good impact and relevant content. I'm not surprised you won the Writer's Cramp with this piece. :)

Two things: further should be farther since it's a measurable distance (unless you're in the UK where the rules are different). Also, for "the morning on our Anniversary", anniversary shouldn't be capitalized.

Nice job!

(Found on the Read and Review random read.)
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Review by Voxxylady
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Beautiful, atmospheric, clever. I enjoyed the read very much and can't possibly suggest anything that should be changed or critiqued.

I'm not a huge poetry reader, but I do enjoy non-rhyming free verse that paints a picture and lets in enough emotion to bring out the feel of the piece without shoving it in the reader's face. This does exactly that. Some fantasy, some reality. A nice mix.
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Review by Voxxylady
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Hi Joto-Kai,

Lyrics can be tough to review since we don't have the music you hear as you write them, and the song isn't complete without it. However, I like this a lot. It has a nice flow to it and the repetition is catchy without being annoying. I'm easily annoyed by repetition, but to me, this works very well.

A couple of lines keep throwing me as I read through it:

"just you lay back in silence"
Maybe "only lay back..." or "simply lay back..."
It feels awkward.

Also in the second to last stanza, the line "you will know" doesn't sound like it fits quite right with the rest.

I'm glad this popped up when I clicked on the read and review link. I'll go see what else you have. :)
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Review by Voxxylady
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Tim, I like the atmosphere in this poem. The sound and energy and action come through well and create a stirring, pleasant scene.

However, the second line completely throws me. How does the ex-neighbor fit here? Is the son the neighbor's or the narrator's? Is the child hoisting the neighbor's sneakers or do you mean he's just hoisting himself onto the pogo stick? After several reads, I'm not sure.

"Of his parents' ... home" -> Again, is this the narrator's child?

You have a nice use of descriptive words, but watch the modifiers and such for clarity.
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Review by Voxxylady
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hi Abba, I found you on the please review page wondering about your setting.

Honestly, I find the piece hard to understand. I think part of it is the way you vary between present and past tense while using first person POV. It should be one or the other. I'm not a big fan of first person unless it's done well enough I don't stop and think about it being first person, but you use a lot of "I did this. I did that. I looked up. I walked down the street. I...." construction, and that makes it very staccato and detached.

Also, using references of other writings and real structures to describe your settings (F.L. Wright, Gollum, Gaudi-esque) feels as though you don't have your own words to describe your fictional setting, or you're trying to show off your knowledge. Showing your knowledge is fine, yes, but you have to be sure it adds to the story rather than just telling readers, hey, I read this or I watched that. It may fit your character, but we have no clue who your character is, so it means nothing to us.

Try to vary your sentence structures to make it flow better, and maybe give us some description in your own words without references so we're in your head, or your character's head, and not someone else's.

As for your character, if you want us to be terrified with her, we need better introduction to her. For example, instead of: It was... I was... The city was... The river is...
Maybe something like: A city? Why was I sitting on some park bench in some city that wasn't a city in front of a river that wasn't a river, heaving no water along its narrow crevice? I was just in bed, in my bed, ...

Do you see the difference in emotional impact? Pull us into the character and give us what she is thinking about the setting.

It sounds like you have an interesting story to tell, so keep on with it!

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Review by Voxxylady
Rated: E | (4.0)
What a great start to what should be a fun story! I don't usually read middle grade fiction, even to review, but I'm glad I gave this a try when I found it on the Please Review page.

Suggestions: There's a bit too much telling all together in clumps and you might give the gist of the mothers' jobs and such and work the rest in later instead.

"leaving them with December’s leftovers for snow."
I'd leave "for snow" off here since you already made it clear what you were talking about and it makes "leftovers" stronger.

It could be more YA than middle grade, but I'm not an expert on those genres, so it's just a thought.

Wishing you luck with the completion and publication!
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Review by Voxxylady
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi Lila, I found you in the please review section and your summary drew me in.

As a former art student who has been asked, years later by an old classmate, "What are you doing with your art?" when I wasn't doing anything with it, I related to Jane and her despair at being asked that question. I think you have a good story base here with a lot of potential, but I would like to know why she was working retail rather than pursuing art, why she didn't make it through art school, why did she feel stuck when she apparently only has herself to support?

It needs more depth to really bring Jane out into a more sympathetic character because I found myself thinking: so DO something about it instead of hiding from your lucky-to-have supportive family and cringing at being called out for keeping yourself in your rut. Without more background, she comes off as whiny and unappreciative.

Unless you develop something more with Keith, he's a rather unnecessary part of the story. If he's part of the catalyst that makes her quit, let us see her considering his words when she's back home.

You also jumped from blueberry pancakes to "Is it any better?" so fast I wondered if I missed something.

This is a nice story in the making, but it feels like the bones of it rather than the fully fleshed story. If you work on it and build it up, feel free to send me a note and I'll look again. *Smile*
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Review by Voxxylady
Rated: E | (3.5)
This is a very clever poem in response to the prompt. The rhyme and line rhythms felt somewhat forced in several places, and I had to pause here and there when a word was left out for the sake of rhythm, which threw it off a bit. The last line doesn't work for me. It feels just thrown on for the sake of the rhyme.

There is a lot of fun imagery and it's overall a nice effort. I'm not sure if the contest required rhyme or if that's your normal choice, but it could be interesting to try it again in free verse. (Of course, I'm a free verse fan so my opinion may be skewed. *Wink* )
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Review by Voxxylady
Rated: E | (5.0)
I fully agree. In fact, I wrote a blog post about romance lacking quality just the other day. I do write romance under a pen name and I call it contemporary romance with a mental twist since they all deal with mental health in some way. It's what they now call upmarket romance since it has a literary quality.

Shouldn't they all have a literary quality? It's sad that there has to be a subgenre that says, hey, these characters are actually like real people and they deal with real issues. Imagine that!

I hate the dumbing down of literature, any and every kind. Thank you for putting this out there.
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Review of Metamorphosis  
Review by Voxxylady
Rated: E | (4.5)
Lovely poem. At first, I found the colors distracting, but I would guess they symbolize the growth from childlike innocence to maybe too reality-aware adulthood.

The alliteration is nicely done, emphasizing rather than detracting. The word play is rife with metaphor, which I love.

Overall, a nice well-crafted read.
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Review of To Angel  
Review by Voxxylady
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
This is a beautiful piece! The writing is nearly exquisite and it yanked me right in. It's not hard to understand why readers would ask if it's a true story, with the POV perfectly executed and the language fitting and deeply in character.

I hate to even find anything to critique, but there are a couple of things I found you might look at again.

-- People have asked me, but I don’t remember my first piece - just the last one I played for the owner, the one that convinced him I had talent.
This is a bit awkward. I had to go back and reread it to understand that people asked if he remembered his first piece.

-- I convinced him to bring back a entire booklet full of short melodies...
You mean "take back" not "bring back. If he were to bring it back, it would return to your POV character. You take it there and bring it here.

Also, you might want to mention a couple less times that he was not likeable. That gets too repetitive and I started to think, "Yep, got it, move along." It threw me out of the idea that I was reading an actual foreword instead of a fiction piece.

Otherwise, very well done! I truly enjoyed the read.

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Review of Pickpocket  
Review by Voxxylady
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hi Dangal,

Your first paragraph is too much info dump. I'd throw out the part about taking a walk and start with the annoyance of the day, then the second paragraph can tell the reader he's walking.

As I spot Garry The Policeman leaning on a pole, his eyes intent on something.

Two issues here: "Garry the policeman" (don't capitalize other than his name) sounds like a cartoon character. Just give us his name and work in to let us know he's a policeman. This is a fragment. Fragments can work in fiction but there has to be a reason for them, for impact. This just looks like an unfinished sentence. You need to check other spots for the same.

But if she succeeds...

Take out "But" - it's unnecessary and echoes the same structure at the beginning of your next paragraph.

I leap into the road, running towards her.

Did the MC really LEAP and run? Doesn't sound like him, from what I've read so far. Consider just saying "I ran toward her." (not towards)

“Sorry mam.” He says looking shy, his face becoming a red tomato.

ma'am - It's a contraction of madam. You don't tell us he's looking shy when you already say his face is red. Better:
"Sorry, ma'am." His face reddens.

“Your lucky if I don’t press charges against you.” She says and walks away.

You're lucky - contraction of you are. Again, better would be: She walks away. We know she said it if you show her walking away afterward. Be careful about redundancy.

There are several other places you need to check your grammar and sentence structure.

This feels like the beginning of a story and not a whole story. You pull interest in the two main characters but it's only an introduction. The end leaves the reader thinking, "What?" The cop was apparently deranged to pull a gun in that situation, so there's a lot of story behind him that we don't get to help it make sense. Also, your MC seems naive for someone who has been in juvenile detention.

I see this is a contest entry and I'm sure your word count was limited, but if you plan to develop it, I hope my thoughts will help.

Good luck!
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Review of Haiku Hopes  
for entry "January 1st
Review by Voxxylady
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
I just love your haikus. They show wonderful atmosphere, imagery, mood. Impressive start to a year of daily poetics. *Smile*
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Review by Voxxylady
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Sarah, I'm so glad you're here blogging again! Always one of the best blogs to follow on the site, and there are loads of great blogs to follow here on the site.

Kudos for a new beginning!
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Review by Voxxylady
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hi Jack,

I see this is your first draft of your first novel. Congratulations! And welcome to WDC!

I'm a big believer in making first lines and first paragraphs depict your character, your theme, and your style.

Your first line: "As the bright orb dropped below the jagged line of the horizon, the light which had been provided by the sun was replaced by that given off by flickering flames."

This tells me you're trying to force description, but it says nothing else other than it's dark and there's firelight from some source. Candles? Bonfires? Lighters? Okay, probably not lighters, but you get my point. Bright orb sound convoluted. I'm guessing you mean the sun. Why not say that?

First paragraph:

As the bright orb dropped below the jagged line of the horizon, the light which had been provided by the sun was replaced by that given off by flickering flames. As adults in the camp herded the last of the children into tents to put them to sleep, others checked the enclosures for the animals. These were the first to fall, arrows speeding out of the night. The only sounds were muffled gurgles as they sunk to the floor. And then there were horsemen in the centre of the camp, riding in all directions scything down the now terrified tribesmen with long cavalry swords and lances. Men, women and children were all claimed, the darkness made the slaughter indiscriminate as the faceless soldiers rampaged through the camp. As the initial shock passed, people began to grab weapons, and pockets of resistance sprung up around the camp.

I see several issues here that would turn me away if I picked this book up in a store. (And I always read at least the first paragraph before buying.)

"As adults herded.. others checked." This is very distant and cold. Adults? Others? Who are they? Why should I care? "And then there were..." This is also distant and passive.
"These were the first to fall..." I'm confused. These what? Animals? The adults checking the kids? Or those checking the animals.

Overall, I'm very lost at the very beginning and I'm not likely to wander farther because there's nothing to make me care about the nameless, faceless beings wherever they are. You might consider starting with Ingvarr, with his thoughts about what he sees and where he is and who he's with in order to give readers a chance to care about the fight that's about to occur.

As I skim through the rest, I can see that you have well-thought-out lead characters and a complex story formed. With some work on your description, making it natural instead of forced, and more flow (which comes with practice), this will develop nicely.

Best of luck with your burgeoning writing career!
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Review by Voxxylady
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Is there anything you don't do really well when you decide to do it?

This is wonderful. I think these haikus for each day will add up to be a very nice thing, both for the urged creativity and for 'the record'. It's nice to be able to just start at one end and read through the days. What a tale it's already telling!
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Review of Quiet House  
Review by Voxxylady
Rated: E | (4.5)
Very nice. The mood shines through well and I like the mix of short, staccato sentences with longer, more flowing sentences at the right spots.

I think you might, on the fourth line, want a comma instead of a period to further emphasize the contrast and to keep the thought going.

Here:

We sit around the table,
We play games with cards.

You might either change it to a period or semicolon, or say
and play games...

Both suggestions are subjective, of course. Thanks for sharing this lovely, atmospheric piece.
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Review by Voxxylady
Rated: E | N/A (Review only item.)
Max Griffin 🏳️‍🌈 , this is a very nice summary covering a lot of ground about how to write a short story. You've included the most important elements in an easy-to-read manner, and I appreciate the comparison with fine art.

One thing I would like to stress, as I do whenever I review a short story, is that even if the purpose is for fun, simple entertainment, there should still be something to take from it. Character growth or change of some kind is important, even in fun stories. There has to be a "why" element. This is what separates a short story from a scene. I've read too many scenes that were marked as stories when there is no real "story" behind it. A description of something funny that happened to your brother can be fun to read, but is it a story? Did something come of it?

A nice piece. Thank you for sharing your insights with us. *Smile*
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Review by Voxxylady
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi Sarah ,

This is a wonderful story that feeds a lot of information about your beloved homeland without pushing us out of the events and emotions. I loved having the popnotes explain cultural terms. Pulling in an outsider getting used to the new environment was a nice way to explain differences between cultures.

A couple of things:

In your first paragraph you use "up" three times. It's a bit repetitive and could easily be reworded to avoid this. *Smile*

There were a few instances of adverbs taking the place of what could be strong verbs or simple left out.

Congrats on the win!
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Review by Voxxylady
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Thank you for this. It's a lovely tribute and I agree with you.
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Review of Into The Sixties  
Review by Voxxylady
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Hello *Jenny* ,

This is very cute. You got a nice feel of the era and a couple of its issues. It pulled me back to ... a bit before my time. *Wink*

A couple of things:

You might want to watch for repetition. Names don't need to be repeated so often and there were words repeated at times that made it stilted.

Also, I don't believe girls called each other "man" in the Sixties. I think that was a guy thing. I also don't think young people in the Sixties would just shrug off someone walking through a mirror as normal, unless they were indeed very high at the time, but in most of this, it didn't see as though they were.

Your ending ... just stopped. It didn't end. Chloe should have gotten something from the experience and we should know what that is. Stories need to show change of some kind, a revelation or growth.

I enjoyed the read. Keep journeying!

** Image ID #1549498 Unavailable **
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Review of Secrets: Alice  
Review by Voxxylady
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hello! I found you on the review request page. Since I was about to kick you off with my own request, thought I'd look in. *Wink*

Generally, I suggest not starting a story with a "___ was" construction, but this time it worked well. You pulled me right in.

I enjoyed your writing and description and think you have a great premise. At times, it sounded a tad too preachy instead of like a story, and I would like to see it further developed. A story should have growth or change some kind. I feel like I was led to a turning point but was stopped before anything really happened.

Technically:

-- Be sure to remember the difference between it's and its:

it's = it is (contraction)
its (possessive) humanity at its best or its worst

-- Semi-colons should attach two independent clauses

She would be an embarrassments and an outcast; a sinful heathen in a world full of good people.

This one should be either a comma or a dash instead. There are other uses for the semi-colon but be careful with them. Many editors do not ever want to see one. (I disagree with being that extreme, but I agree with using them conservatively and only following the rules.)

I appreciated the potential and passion of this piece. Keep writing!


Created by a friend and transformed.
www.LKHunsaker.com
Mainstream Romance with an Artsy Twist
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Review of Vegas Moment  
Review by Voxxylady
Rated: E | (3.5)

Hello *Smile* Thought I'd return the favor and stop by your port.

I would love to see this expanded a bit. It shows humor that could be played on more and a nice ending line that gives us a grin, but there's so much missing.

I had to read your first line twice to follow it. Maybe give us just a touch more background.

[Nickel machines are my speed, also, although I haven't been to Vegas yet. *Wink*]


Created by a friend and transformed.
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Review of Who am I?  
Review by Voxxylady
Rated: E | (5.0)

This one is also fun, short, and sweet ... but it's also smoother than the other rhyming poems I've read here tonight, less forced.

I don't often enjoy rhymed poetry much, but I enjoyed this one, both the story of it and the feel. Nothing to critique. *Smile*

Ahh, the writer's world!


another gift *Smile*
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Review of The Old Oak Tree  
Review by Voxxylady
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Hello! I'm continuing the mini-port raid for "Invalid Item


I love trees, and oaks are among my favorite, so this captured me. I enjoyed getting the "experiences" from the tree's point of view and the way it marked changing time as well as changing attitudes.

-- A story, I've for every leaf
This line feels a bit forced to keep with the rhyme. I would just say "I have" instead of the contraction because it fits as well and sounds more natural.

-- His memory, just I can claim.
I think this would be smoother getting rid of the comma and using only instead of just.

-- The last two lines seem to suddenly pull out of the tree's pov and moralize. I'm not sure you need to do that since it's obvious that you're pointing out the history marking age rings.

This made me think a series of stories could be written around this tree. *Smile* Nice way to pull the reader in and expand thoughts about something many don't think much about.


Original computer painting April 2006
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