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Reviews from
The Harvesting of Helen


lateral thinking

  24 total reviews 
Comment by
Ric Myworld
Premier Author
 
Poet Rating
 
Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  22
Author Rating For Novels
 
Review Stars
  Rank:  23
 
Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
Hungry for another dose of Phill's magical melody of words to spur my imagination, this piece may very well be more impressive than the last. And, it appears that Storyland agrees. I'm just sad my vault of shiny stars are empty. Thanks for sharing, and Congratulations on your well deserved award!


 Comment Written 25-Feb-2021



reply by the author on 25-Feb-2021
    Hello again Ric
    Thank you once more, in this case for investing time time for 2c - which actually means a great deal.
    I am greatly encouraged by your response.
    I wish you safe and well
    cheers
    phill

reply by Ric Myworld on 25-Feb-2021
    I just realized "Some Words, Ending in a Sentence" is another of your award winning stories that left quite the impression on me some time back. I hadn't remembered that you wrote it. But, I can assure you that from here forward, Phill Doran's writing will never be forgotten. :-)
Comment by
amada
Premier Author
 
Poet Rating
  Rank:  78
Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  57
Author Rating For Novels
 
Script Rating
 
Review Stars
  Rank:  263
 
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
i dear author, I am deeply touched by this story. I missed the first time around; too long, I thought. Today, reading the best story of the month I stopped by; because i always want to learn from the best....This story touches some aspects of my own life, one of them, I see only with one eye...I am selected in what I see, read. I am adding this story to my bookcase, to read it again...


 Comment Written 08-Feb-2021



reply by the author on 08-Feb-2021
    Hello Amada
    Thank you for this: I am grateful for the time you took to read it. I know it is long (by site standards). Thank you for sticking with it.
    Your kindness is very encouraging.
    I will reply to you in more detail via a PM
    cheers - enjoy your writing.
    phill

reply by amada on 09-Feb-2021
    Thank you, Phil.
Comment by
Contests
 
 

Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
A seven star rating from the Contest Committee for the recognition this post has received from the FanStory community. While this was not a Contest Committee decision, the committee recognizes this achievement with a seven star review.


 Comment Written 07-Feb-2021



reply by the author on 07-Feb-2021
    thank you!
Comment by
2019 Script Writer of the Year
Bill Schott
 
Poet Rating
  Rank:  24
Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  12
Author Rating For Novels
  Rank:  16
Script Rating
  Rank:  5
Review Stars
  
 Rank:  17
 

#5 Ranked Script Writer
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Phill, I am simply blown away by this third-person limited narrative for Helen who has fallen in the garden. There are so many images that your wording evokes, as Helen slowly fades to her death. It is a 'life passing before my eyes' situation, as I see it, with her resolute perspective still intact, along with her ineffectual relationships with family. Looks like a May-December romance with her daughter's fiancée was necessary to seal her inability to get past her own needs in life. Trapped like Madame Bovary in a middle-class existence, only slightly aware that her inability to show empathy for others had robbed her of joy in life.
A real masterpiece.


 Comment Written 03-Feb-2021



reply by the author on 03-Feb-2021
    Hello Bill
    This is very thoughtful and generous of you. I appreciate your insight and very accurate observations. I am also aware of the time you spent on the reading, and all for very little 'reward'.
    I wish you safe and well - and all the very best with your own continued writing.
    Cheers
    phill
Comment by
Susan Newell
Premier Author
 
Poet Rating
  Rank:  47
Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  10
Review Stars
  Rank:  62
 

#10 Ranked Author
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
You have a tremendous sense of language and extensive vocabulary, rare these days. You did a excellent job with metaphors and allowed us to live every feeling, every moment along with Helen. A most excellent job of "show don't tell." Kudos and thanks for the good reading.

P.S. loved the hourglass!


 Comment Written 26-Jan-2021



reply by the author on 26-Jan-2021
    Hello Susan
    Thank you for this generous and encouraging review. I appreciate the time committed to reading the piece; there's so much else happening elsewhere on the site.
    I do not think we have 'met' before**, and so I wish you well here with your own writing.
    Again, I appreciate your kindness: stay safe.
    cheers
    phill
    ** I apologize if this is not the case, and we have! (yet another senior moment)

reply by Susan Newell on 26-Jan-2021
    I don't believe we have met. But it's been a frenzy, and I, too, have senior moments. Thanks for the good wishes. So far, I have limited myself to poetry and an 80-word story.
Comment by
kmoss
 
Review Stars
  Rank:  406
 
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
This is an amazing voyage through Helen's sea of life. Impressive! I started copying and pasting parts I liked below, but there are so many, basically I love the whole thing!

My favorite part: The nagging flaw, working at the tether Alan tried to bind her with, one worn thinner with the years.

Eventually her mooring slipped, and she drifted away unanchored, awash on an ocean of episode. But when she ultimately ran aground, shipwrecked, when she was broken up, it was Alan who gathered her; salvaged her, dried her out. It was too much by then for Sheila though: one woman's flaw proving to be the other woman's ceiling.

Great line: He was a kindred spirit, proof positive of the weakness they shared, and that a weakness shared is a weakness multiplied.


 Comment Written 24-Jan-2021



reply by the author on 24-Jan-2021
    Hello Krystal
    Thank you for the time you took to read this piece. I am grateful - there's so much more happening on the site that is quick and sharp.
    Your kindness and response are both very encouraging.
    I can only wish you the very best with your own writing in return.
    Stay safe.
    Cheers
    phill
Comment by
Elizabeth Emerald
Premier Author
 
Poet Rating
 
Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  1
Author Rating For Novels
  Rank:  48
Script Rating
 
Review Stars
  Rank:  4
 

#1 Ranked Author!

#4 Ranked Reviewer
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
CONGRATS ON YOUR WIN! (If you hadn't won, there'd have been mass mutiny, spear-headed by me.)

SSSSSStunning. I held off till I had a six--I will rereread this--it becomes richer each time! Cheerssssss. LIZ

I'm pleased to see that kmoss (above) read this per my recommendation. I am an inveterate matchmaker.

sugg: Standing, or even kneeling=>When she stood or knelt
the grass always looked trim, but as she impressed herself upon the ground, she could see this was not true.



 Comment Written 24-Jan-2021



reply by the author on 24-Jan-2021
    Hello Liz
    The cheque is in the post (but hey, you know what the postal service is like sometimes...)
    Thank you for the time invested and the great response (also the direction: noted. You are right. I am never sure, so every bit of direction helps)
    I woudl like to assume that you and yours are all safe and well. And I wish you the very best with your continued, prolific and appreciated writing.
    cheers
    phill
Comment by
tfawcus
Level 3 Pro
Premier Author
Premier Reader
 
Poet Rating
  Rank:  75
Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  33
Author Rating For Novels
  Rank:  7
Review Stars
  Rank:  66
 

#7 Ranked Novelist
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
It would be trite to write this off as the wandering, stream-of-consciousness ramblings of a dying woman who sees her whole life in fleeting shadows as she struggles to make sense of her predicament.

It is a gradual and skilful unfolding for the reader of seemingly random facts eventually placed in the gaps in the jigsaw. David, for instance, who is scarcely noticed at first, under the wide nose of the Japanese businessman, ends up being a central character in the cast. I loved your expression, "ships that collided in the nightcap", and the final revelation that he was, in fact, her daughter's husband.

You have many such striking phrases (And the elderly too; a fall, heralding the onset of winter ... a few blurred and resilient leaves, taunted by the vague breeze ... if they were on speaking terms. Listening terms ... awash on an ocean of episode ... etc.).

Your sustained nautical metaphor emphasises the traumatic relationship the Helen seems to have had with her disapproving father. One that obviously plays heavily on her mind in her dying moments.

I like the way your words echo, as in the rale of breath and the rail of death. I also like the way the wandering mind of Helen picks up on a word and runs it into a new meaning, and the way her mind seesaws between what she can see in the foreground with her one eye and what she can remember. It suggests a wandering in and out of consciousness as she begins to fade.

The folkloric symbolism of the black feather, signifying death and a passage into the spiritual realm, makes a powerful ending to this story of Helen's harvesting by the Grim Reaper.

This is a brave experiment in POV and one that succeeds magnificently, in my view. Powerful writing, indeed.


 Comment Written 24-Jan-2021



reply by the author on 25-Jan-2021
    Hello Tony
    I have popped you a PM
    cheers
    phill
Comment by
Carol Hillebrenner
Premier Author
 
Poet Rating
 
Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  71
Author Rating For Novels
  Rank:  51
Script Rating
 
Review Stars
  Rank:  51
 
Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
you write very well and you have a real talent for imagery. I think you have made your point about Helen but she seems such a sad instance of being human. I'm not sure anyone could survive with so little joy. Best of luck with this.


 Comment Written 23-Jan-2021



reply by the author on 24-Jan-2021
    Hello Carol
    Thank you for the time you took on this piece. I appreciate that it is a lot longer than most and that the site has so many other choices for you.
    I also appreciate your thoughts and your response.
    I wish you safe and well
    cheers
    phill
Comment by
Dana Starr
Premier Author
 
Author Rating For Short Works
 
 
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Seriously? Why did I read that? Now I'm ruined. I can't write another word because why????? What is even the point of my puny efforts when there's this in the world???? You painted such beautiful imagery with so many great lines; such as, mountains as the ragged teeth of the earth and autumn was already in everything and influence can be a passive force and felt the fall through her child. I could go on and on but it's embarrassing so I will not. I read it twice just to find something to nitpick. I was unsuccessful. This is the kind of reading I thoroughly enjoy. I like that you don't tell us exactly what's going on. You let it unfurl at your own pace and it's lyrical and literary and such a treat. Thank you.


 Comment Written 23-Jan-2021



reply by the author on 24-Jan-2021
    Again Dana
    Thank you for your kindness.
    Your observations and reactions are very rewarding - and the time you invested in the piece is acknowledged with great thanks.
    Cheers - I wish you the very best of things.
    phill
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