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Rated: E · Editorial · Reviewing · #2112368
This will be the location of the critiques I give to my RS Reviewers.


Hi, Naveed! I’m so excited about this new program. How lucky am I to be able to review one of my students? I find it so much easier to evaluate and make comments using Word. I hope that’s alright with you. It’s a new project, and we are all fumbling around to see what format and style works for us. So expect some changes as I work these things out. 

I pasted a copy of the poem you reviewed at the bottom so we can refer to it more easily. Just below you will find a copy of your review. My comments will be in purple under each of your categories.


Review of The Cabin in the Woods
Review by Naveedsk (12)
In affiliation with Rising Stars Member-to-Member ...
Rated: E | (4.5)
Access: Public
Given: Jan 19, 2017 at 11:52am
Length: 960 Characters | 874 w/o WritingML
Hey, I'm Naveed and I shall be reviewing this gem of yours, fellow rising star
This starts your review off on a positive note and also explains why you are reviewing this poem. I like that it sounds personal and encouraging from the start.

Please bear in mind that these comments, although honest, are in no way 'the word'. They may be wrong.

Gabriella discourages us from apologizing for our reviews. I think, according to her guidelines, you might reword it like this:
Please bear in mind that these comments are my own honest opinions. Please use whatever makes sense and discard the rest, as you are the author and know what you want the reader to see. Do keep in mind, though, that if I misunderstood what you were trying to say that other readers might too.


First Impression:
I was sitting on a comfortable chair wearing a hoodie and warm socks while reading this and well...it hit the spot. A wonderful description that made me feel even colder that I'm already feeling.

I really like your easy, conversational tone. The image of you snuggled up in a comfy chair shows that you truly enjoyed this poem and that it evoked wintry images for you.

What I liked:
The imagery was certainly wonderful. I could see all the words forming an image at the back of my mind. Kind of tells why this piece got third place. It was, definitely, well deserved. (No comma is needed, but a hyphen needs to go between well and deserved.)

You have a few technical errors that I marked in red. Always be sure to review and edit your reviews before submitting them. We can’t catch every error, but we can cut down on them.

This is a wonderful poem. It must have had some stiff competition to only rank at Third Place. I like your conversational tone. It lessens the tension that a writer might feel when reading a review.

I think your comments are good, but you need to add some specific reasons the imagery was wonderful. For instance, I noticed the great job the writer did using metaphors. The poem is filled with metaphors that evoke strong images and help us to see, feel, hear, and taste winter. Maybe you can give some of your favorite metaphors as examples. Here are two of mine:

Footprints on earth's sequined dress

Geometry classes held
On outside windows


Writers benefit more when the review includes some details. Whether the comments are in praise of the author’s skill, or whether the comments are to encourage the writer to consider some editing, providing some specific examples is a way to help the author understand what you mean.


What can be improved:
Nothing, to be honest. I've got no suggestions to give.
I tend to agree with you on this assessment. It’s rare, though, to not find anything, so be sure you spend enough time to really be able to truthfully say that.

What I'll remember:
The ending! It was out of this world. It taught me a thing or two about writing poetry, too.

I agree that the ending is really splendid. I wonder, though, what you learned from this poem that might help you as a poet. As I said earlier, you need to be able to back up what you say so that it means something concrete to the author.

Keep on writing! All the best!

Peace!

Naveed, I really enjoyed reading your review. You have a great style. I like the categories you use in order to cover the areas that are important to you. The overall effect is a neat, honest, helpful, and encouraging review. You might not have thought of this, but your enthusiastic review may encourage other members to read this poem. You might consider using a bit larger font for those of us with senior citizen vision.

I’ll get to your other reviews as soon as possible. 
Pat



Footprints on earth's sequined dress
Reflect twinkling stars
From an inky sky above.

Geometry classes held
On outside windows--
Pattern unique to itself.

Across from the cabin porch,
A bridge spans creek banks,
Its contents--slippery blue.

Splintered fireplace logs crackle;
Embers swirl in smoke
From a chunky stone chimney.

Hickory's sweet scent inside
Wars with its Pine foe
Their silhouettes surround me.

Roof stalactites hanging
Lose their fragile grip,
And shatter like panes of glass

Timber wolves howl a lament.
Echoed, in the night
By their brethren from afar.

Northern lights shimmer above;
Colors--green and blue--
Like fluorescent ribbons.

A winter land calls to me
In a voice so sweet
That angels cry at the sound.

---------------------------------
3rd Place Winner at Shadows and Light Poetry Contest
(27 Lines)
© Copyright 2016 Jim Hall (Puma)
========================================================================================================
2nd Review:

Hi, Naveed. I’m back again to look at your next review. My comments will be in purple, as usual. I’m glad you chose to review a classmate. Reviewing is a good way to get to know someone.

Review of I'm a Benevolent Ruler
Review by Naveedsk (12)
In affiliation with Rising Stars Member-to-Member ...
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Access: Public
Given: Jan 19, 2017 at 11:25am
Length: 1,611 Characters | 1,501 w/o WritingML
Hey, I'm Naveed and I shall be reviewing this gem of yours, fellow rising star

Please bear in mind that these comments, although honest, are in no way 'the word'. They may be wrong.

Did you know that in American English we always use double quotation marks except for when we are using quotation marks around material that is already inside another set of quotation marks?
British English has different rules. There are so many fascinating things about grammar and punctuation.
Just a brief reminder to reword your disclaimer.


First Impression:
Wonderful, funny, optimistic, lovely, poetic, lighthearted, enviable- I could go on. Funny, life lessons from a veteran. I love it

You let the writer know right away that you think her item was a real delight. I love those descriptors. It will also encourage those who read your review to check it out, I think.

What I liked:
The poetic and witty highlighting of the world's problems was a very unique idea. The title was a good enough hook and the content didn't disappoint.

You did better in this review at being specific. The writer will know that you liked it because it was an unusual idea and that it worked for you.

What can be improved:
But who shall be running them, we’ll that will have to be decided then...

I think that the we'll should be replaced with a well. A small typo, I guess.

Good catch! In writing my curriculum for Punctuation Inc., I discovered that we should italicize terms in a sentence. In your sentence, it would be better if you italicized we’ll and well.

Also, this piece, although great, is placed in the wrong genre for me. The first thing that I learned about short stories was that they MUST have a plot. This piece didn't have one so it can't be called a short story, I think. I might be wrong. Take a look at it if you wish

I see where you’re coming from, but I don’t know what genre it would be. Do you? It would be helpful to the writer if we could tell her what genre she should put it into. I’ve sent an email to Ms. Winnie asking her about this. If she replies to me with a good answer, I’ll let you know. I’m curious about it, myself. It’s probably a good idea to think twice about making a suggestion if you don’t really know the correct way to solve it. This is not an ALWAYS rule, merely a cautionary observation.

Another observation is that you refrained from noting several grammar and punctuation errors that I saw. My philosophy on that is that we needn’t point out every single error. That tends to overwhelm the writer and discourage him or her from writing another story or poem.

On the other hand, we can look at something we know about her (she is taking a grammar class because good grammar is important to her) and allow ourselves a little more leeway. Of course, it may be that you didn’t recognize them as errors. That’s fine too. If you aren’t sure about a rule, it is best not to critique it. We just want to avoid pointing out errors because we are trying to finish the review in a hurry.

By the way, it’s a good idea to read the writer’s bio page before we review a piece. It may tell us some important things we need to know so we’ll know what kind of review we want to give. If he or she is an ESL writer who doesn’t have a good grasp yet on English, we might point out a couple of examples and encourage him or her to get some help learning English grammar. Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t compliment her style of reviewing and her ability to be honest, helpful, and encouraging.


What I'll remember:
"And once married, always married"

"Sugar shall be banned except for those who medically need it. And you’ll be on death’s door before it’s proven that it’s medically necessary."

"As for truth and honesty…there shall be times when they aren’t needed."

"Those who love to learn will learn. Those who don’t, well, we’ll weed them out one way or another (like my brother)."

These are good, specific examples of things that worked for you. Just a side note, there should be a space after the third dot in the suspension points above. I think a space is need between well and we’ll.

I could go on and on and on

Keep on writing! All the best!
This is a positive way to end the review. 

All in all, Naveed, I think you are a good reviewer who will become a great reviewer with a few pointers to guide you. You have a good base to work from. Your grammar and punctuation are adequate. Your style is comfortable. You give a lot of praise and encouragement. You include words that show your enthusiasm for the piece. You really have a lot going for you. I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to assist you! I enjoy this project a lot!

If you ever have questions, I’m right here to try and answer them for you.



===========================================================================================================

3rd Review



Review of One Last Visit
Review by Naveedsk (12)
In affiliation with Rising Stars Member-to-Member ...
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Given: Dec 31, 2016 at 11:20am
Length: 979 Characters | 893 w/o WritingML
Hey, I'm Naveed and I shall be reviewing this gem of yours, fellow rising star

Please bear in mind that these comments, although honest, are in no way 'the word'. They may be wrong.

First Impression:
Dark and emotional. I really love this genre.
Good description of this item’s genre.

What I liked:
This story makes you feel stuff. The imagery is good, plus the words used are pin-point accurate on most occasions. It does its job of arousing emotions and sympathy.

“feel stuff”? What stuff did you feel? Include more details so that the writer knows what emotions the piece evoked. Give some specific examples of lines that stood out to you as being most descriptive and evoking the stronger emotions. Good reviewers spend enough time reading the piece to figure out exactly what you liked and why you liked it. If you find yourself unable to provide specific answers and examples, most likely you have not read through it enough or carefully enough.


What can be improved:
You should've given some backstory to Janson. She's a sensitive person-- we get it. But why exactly? She could connect to the victim in an unusual and profound way, but why? It'd have been better, I guess, if you could've given some backstory to Janson and shown how the case was similar or relevant to it.

These are good, specific questions to help the writer figure out why and how the character needs to be developed. 

What I'll remember:
The emotions, certainly.

Here again, you need some specific examples of lines where the emotions were particularly well described. I can’t overemphasize the benefit of being concise and giving specific examples in your reviews.

My Own Concerns about the story:
I can’t criticize you for not commenting on the things you might not have noticed. However, I can provide some guidance on some things you might want to consider when reviewing a story.

The first thing I noticed is that the opening paragraph did not set the stage for the piece. The first paragraph should tell the reader what the story will be about. The story was not centered on the abusive brother, but rather on her life with all her bad experiences. It was not only about abuse either. She needs to work on pulling it all together in a concise story. Some things probably need to be left out of the story. She tries to cover too much in this one piece. It left me wondering what the story was meant to get across to the reader.

I had a BIG problem following the story. The writer goes back and forth in time. At one point she’s talking about abuse, then goes backward and talks about her father’s death. Sometimes she talks about her sister with her drug addiction. Then she backs up and talks about when her sister was younger.

She really jumps around a lot, and it caused me to have to reread passages just to understand what she was talking about. She covers a lot of things twice. If she were to organize the events logically, it would help her make her story more concise and easier to read.

And just my personal opinion, it would have been nice to hear some positive things coming from all the horror or her experiences. Of course, there may not yet be anything positive in her life. She may still be stuck there in that gloomy place. Perhaps, writing will help her exorcise her demons from the past.

I hope my own comments about the story will help you learn more about the things you can include in your review. You can feel empathy for the writer and give her encouragement while still pointing out some ways she can help the reader see those terrible experiences and the aftermath of them.

Keep on writing! All the best!

Peace!

Naveed, this is my last review of your reviews. Next month, you will have a different reviewer. I hope my comments have been helpful. I plan to take a peek at your future reviews to see how much you improve. I’ve enjoyed reading your reviews and interacting with you. I think the next reviewer will be blessed to review your reviews. 

Pat


========================================================================================================



1st Review

Review of The River Tree
Review by WakeUpAndLive~W... (117)
In affiliation with Rising Stars Member-to-Member ...
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Access: Public
Given: Feb 11, 2017 at 10:26am
Length: 2,088 Characters | 1,923 w/o WritingML
Rising Stars Member to Member Review!

Hi K.J. Miller-New Worlds ,I found your writing as part of the Rising Star Program 2016-2017. Hopefully, this review will find you in good spirit. Bear in mind that I am just one reader with one opinion.

On Title/Subject
Sorry, but I didn't get the title or the sub-line. I think the fact that this is my first read into a longer story has something to do with it. I think your effort to write a fantasy story like this from another world or dimension is admirable.

General impressions
The dialog between the main character and the woman on the bench is a bit unbelievable. I could not make sense of it, I am afraid. Not only because of its grammar but also because of its content. You lost me there as a reader.

Where you lost me again as a reader: the part with Anuskrol after he took out his knife. I didn't understand any of it, I am afraid.

Suggestions
Grammatically strange sentences:
* All that came from the woman's desire was her to see how to make Talrayin normal.
* It wasn't that Talrayin would be displeased with
* "The magic is just really archaic is all," the woman said.
* It would be the fastest way to give proof to a disbelieving face.

Missing words?
* but then she always alone when she talked to people
* Talrayin stood, waiting the man behind the desk to approve her to see the king.

* squeak ??

Omission?
Talrayin watched as seven others joined. Five men and three women, descending onto the ground around her.
But 5+3 = 8 ???

Final thoughts
All in all, I found this a very difficult read. Perhaps it's me not being familiar with fantasy but I could not follow you into your world building.
You lost me several times as a reader and I didn't understand the story. Perhaps you could look at your grammar again? But thanks for sharing.

Keep up the good work, enjoy writing!

Hi, Petra! I agree that this piece was difficult to get through. You pointed out several specific places where errors occurred. You also brought to her attention that certain sentences and conversations did not make sense to you. You gave her several examples of those places. I like these subheadings:

Grammatically strange sentences:
Missing words?
Omissions?

You also pointed out that you had trouble making the title and brief description match with the story itself, which I also found to be true. All in all, your comments about the story’s shortcomings are accurate and courteous.

However, you might read a piece several times through to see if there are any positive things you can mention. They may be small things, like certain words you felt were especially strong nouns or verbs, or interesting adjectives.

I like the format of your review. It’s neat and easy to read. You have good heading names. You might want to add a category of “Things that I liked.” Even if you only find some vocabulary that was especially good, it’s good to have something good to say to the writer. Sometimes it’s hard to find the good things, but there’s almost always something.

You have a very good start at providing good reviews. Your straightforward, honest comments should be helpful to writers who listen to you. I appreciate straightforward reviews, myself, but you could probably cushion the comments that are tough to hear by inserting some positive (but honest!) comments.

I can’t wait to read your others!

Pat


==========================================================================================================

2nd Review

Review of Euthanasia
Review by WakeUpAndLive~W... (117)
In affiliation with Rising Stars Member-to-Member ...
Rated: E | (4.0)
Access: Public
Given: Feb 11, 2017 at 9:18am
Length: 2,800 Characters | 2,609 w/o WritingML
Rising Stars Member to Member Review!

Hi Mare ~ Quill Award Nominee ,I found your writing as part of the Rising Star Program 2016-2017. Hopefully, this review will find you in good spirit.

On Title/Subject
The title is well chosen and to the point. It is a difficult subject to deal with so I was drawn to the story. The picture told me it was about a cat. Good choice of pic. It tells the story. The first part of your sub-line "For Power reviewers talking" I could not place, so I am puzzled by its meaning. The second part "A black heart as a result of euthanasia" I could understand, although you probably meant "black void where a heart once was". A black heart would be strange indeed.

[I agree about the brief description not being clear enough to the reader. Then there is also the note she made before the poem that it was a “dark heart” poem. I wondered if this was some form of poetry that I’m unaware of. Maybe, you could have asked her if it was a poetry form because, otherwise, it didn’t make sense to you. Often, I suggest to writers to place a note at the bottom of the page to explain any special comments or descriptions of their piece. Was this a contest entry for “dark heart poetry,” I wonder? You and I agree that we need more explanation. We just need to offer the writer a chance to explain. Perhaps, it will help her be clearer next time. I like your suggestion about making it a black void in the heart.]


General impressions
It is a very dramatic personal story about you buying, raising, and at the end also ending the life of your beloved cat. It immediately reminded me of my own cat years ago and the situation he was in. He had troubles with his kidneys and couldn't walk normally because of it at the end. I choose [chose] to let him die at home. So I choose [chose] the other solution than you did.

Your writing style and the theme of the story brings back memories and that is exactly its strength. I think a lot of animal lovers can relate to this.

[You have a compound subject—style and theme—so you need a plural verb—bring]

Favorite Parts
At the age of 17, she started to have problems with her hind legs. They would give out on her resulting in her inability to jump on the bed where she loved to be. The vet administered cortisone shots, and she perked up almost immediately, jumping and running like her old self. Every three or four weeks, she needed another set of injections. As time passed, the injections were getting closer together, until they stopped working. Her lab tests showed that she was in renal failure. Her symptoms were extreme lethargy with the inability to even walk. One night, she slept with me, and she did not move from her spot, lying in the exact position as the night before. The vet told me she wasn't in any pain, but how did he know for sure?

[Here, I recommend a much shorter segment showing your favorite parts. You might pick out a few lines where the writer used especially strong words to help you see the image she wanted readers to see. You might refer to this paragraph as the heart of the story, but calling it your favorite part is just too vague.]

It is the heart of your story. I loved this dramatic turn in the story. It’s great that she was 17 years old, that's also a respectable age for a cat.
[This was a sentence fragment without the subject “It.”]

Suggestions
I know the end of her life and the euthanasia is the subject of this write, but you might consider telling the reader some more about those 17 [seventeen—spell out numbers] years while she was in your life. That way it would be more of a testimony instead of an obituary.

[This is a good suggestion. I think sharing more memories would add a lot to the story. I suggest adding a word before “could” or changing the word altogether to make it sound less like a command and more like your opinion of what would make it a better read.]

Final thoughts
All in all, it is a sad and significant description of the euthanasia on your cat Shelby. Thanks for sharing.

[You have another sentence fragment without a subject and verb.]


Keep up the good work, enjoy writing!

Hi, Petra. I enjoyed your review. I know I probably seem nit-picking to you, but I figure you wanted this kind of thorough critique since you volunteered for this program. Believe me, my early reviews—I would hate to go back and read them now! I wish we had had this program back when I started. We learn by practicing, though, and by reading the other reviews on the Public Review Pages.

And about the grammar and punctuation corrections—well, what can I say? It’s in my bones! Don’t feel picked on; I do it with everyone (unless I think they are sensitive about corrections, and I don’t think you are). You are purposefully taking Grammar Garden to improve your grammar, so I feel that you welcome corrections as much as I do. Ms. Winnie keeps me on my toes about comma placement! 

Keep reviewing! I can’t wait to see your third review!

Pat

By the way, I am so proud of your accomplishments in Grammar Garden. You are a star student!


============================================================================================================

3rd Review

Review of I'm a Benevolent Ruler
Review by WakeUpAndLive~W... (117)
In affiliation with Rising Stars Member-to-Member ...
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Access: Public
Given: Feb 11, 2017 at 8:51am
Length: 2,840 Characters | 2,657 w/o WritingML
Rising Stars Member to Member Review!

Hi Schnujo--Quill Awards Nominee ,I found your writing as part of the Rising Star Program 2016-2017. Hopefully, this review will find you in good spirit.

On Title/Subject

Title and sub-line are well chosen, it fits its content. I loved the theme of this contest entry, very surprising.

[I didn’t see anything about a contest entry. Is this something you already knew, or am I just overlooking it? I asked because I always compliment writers who inform the reader about things like that. We like to know little details like that about the story or poem. At least, I do.] So, mentioning that is a good thing. 

A benevolent dictatorship is a theoretical form of government in which an authoritarian leader exercises absolute political power over the state but does so for the benefit of the population as a whole. A benevolent dictator may allow for some economic liberalization or democratic decision-making to exist, such as through public referenda or elected representatives with limited power. It might be seen as a republican form of enlightened despotism.

[I like that you discuss dictatorship and its various forms it takes in the real world. I think it’s hard for me to imagine a dictatorship feeling like a good thing to me, as a citizen. However, your points educated me on the issues around dictatorship. I still think that the kind of dictatorship Jody describes would truly be a fantasy. Power is just too tempting. Even in Jody’s piece, the dictator arbitrarily makes the rules that fit her own interpretation of what is right.]

Leaders such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Fidel Castro, Benito Mussolini (at least until the war against Ethiopia), António Salazar, Iosef Stalin, Isaias Afwerki, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Lee Kuan Yew, Mao Zedong, Pervez Musharraf, Hugo Chavez, and the Medici dynasty adopted the title. Long-seated dictators are more likely to be regarded as enlightened because they acknowledge public interest in order to remain in power and to be regarded as legitimate. (Wikipedia)

It’s not democratic so I am not in favor, but your take on things is rather funny at times.

[I think Jody is just using this dictatorship to make fun of her own ideas about how things would be if she had her way. I think she intentionally wants her readers to laugh at how ridiculous some of her “laws” are.]

General impressions
It’s a great story, and I liked reading it a lot. Your writing style with prose poem elements is great. The rhyme and rhythm are wonderful. I liked your pace as well.

Favorite Parts
Now for the rule of pets in general…yes, everyone shall have one at least once in their lives. But choosing more often, is up to you, be they horses or dogs or simply bee hives. However, mistreat your pet and they shall rule over you, all the rest of their days. You shall eat from a bowl on the floor while they lay on the couch. You shall cook them their dinner while you dine from a can or a pouch.

Very funny indeed. I had to smile at this rule! [I couldn’t agree with you more!]


Suggestions
Too bad you didn’t find time to elaborate more on how you want to accomplish this dictatorship exactly and where it came from. [Good points!]

Final thoughts
All in all a great insight in how you would rule the world. Of course, I am totally against the idea of a dictator, how nice she is still trying to do what's best for the people. It is just one view on how things should be in the world, there are so many other views to take into consideration. But you did an excellent job! Your joy in writing this story is very visible. Thanks for sharing.

Keep up the good work, enjoy writing!

Petra, your thoughts ran the same way mine did as I read the story. I knew it was only meant to be funny, but I guess, with all that’s going on in our world today, I couldn’t help having dark thoughts about dictators. Your comments reflect a deeper knowledge of dictatorships than the average American, and I’m glad you shared those.

All in all, you did a more balanced review for this story. You have some grammatical errors (mostly punctuation), but I trust that you will continue learning about grammar, as studious as you are. Besides, my job is to focus on the reviewing aspect, and I think you’ve got a good start at growing into a great reviewer. I always recommend to all reviewers, or would-be reviewers, that they read the reviews on the Public Review Pages. You will learn some things you will want to include in your own reviews and learn various ways to express your thoughts. You will also find some things that you want to avoid in your reviews.


So, keep on reviewing! That’s what makes this site what it is!

Pat



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