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OldSalt

A MOTHER'S LAMENT by zeldasmith

Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level

Since you provided me with a thorough and helpful review of my recent post, I just had to look up your work. I know I ranted against FanStory's relaxed rating system, but I can't help it. This was a tremendously moving piece. As you know, a technical critique is not my forte. I have nothing to offer in the way of grammar or punctuation. What worked for me was the way you built up the character of Billy through examples like the toy car episodes. Also, the way you portrayed the mother-child dynamics with this difficult child, your resorting to subterfuge to get a break from him. You showed the logical progression of negative feelings competing with and sabotaging a mother's natural love for her child, until that final explosion seemed almost inevitable. The other frightened children on the sofa, yes, that too was telling. The abused aren't limited to the one child receiving the overt abuse. In too many families, that incident where you lost control would have been the start of a cycle of physical abuse that might have ended in homicide. You fortunately had the insight to realize what had happened and the courage to get professional help. If you had not done that, how could you have intervened with tough love when your child became an adult and faced similar issues. Some readers might quibble over your didactic ending, the ten things to do. Some of them are familiar anger management precepts, but they bear repeating and are entirely appropriate here. Several are new to me. Substitute "friend" for "child" and they are equally useful. Old Salt
Comment Written by OldSalt on 10-Jul-2013

She Loved Him to Death by Adri7enne

Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

Too bad you missed that country song contest. You'd have won hands down. This was a fun poem. You followed the rhyme scheme meticulously. However, some of the transitions seem to me a little, how should I say, bumpy. He describes her in the third person, and then talks to her in the second person. I don't know if I could pull it off, but I might try writing the poem addressing her consistently in the second person. E.g.: What would I do without you honey... You don't much care for the money. You get the idea. I liked the third line, second stanza. If I read it right, our Marvin is a drinker, to considerable excess, as well as a lazy good-for-nothing. Anyway, interesting image to get that across. Finally, I'd delete the final stanza. Take its last line and use it as the last line of the fourth stanza. I know it breaks the rhyme scheme, but that is appropriate to the dramatic shift. The poet breaks the rhyme; the pan breaks his head. The new final stanza then shifts to Marvin in the third person and makes for a satisfying conclusion. Old Salt
Comment Written by OldSalt on 10-Jul-2013

Flamenco, Ole! by Adri7enne

Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level

Adrienne, this is a gem, but you know that, which is maybe why you revived it. The pacing, the intricate detail. What I especially liked was how the growing heat between Michael and Jessie was mirrored in the dancers. A convincing story of passion sustained and renewed. Ten years, maybe a record. Old Salt
Comment Written by OldSalt on 02-Jul-2013

Overload by Phyllis Stewart

Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

Phyllis, I've missed you. Haven't visited Fanstory for many months since I gave up on chapter eleven of Joyride. Turned to other pursuits. The other day, an afternoon captive in my air-conditioned living room, the desert heat being 106 or so outside, I decided to take it up, finish the darn chapter anyway, no promises for the future. Explained my absence, but didn't apologize for it, in the share section of my Fanstory home page, then finally posted it, chapter ll, and also saw that I had messages. Couldn't resist and was rewarded to find the above poem, a fine example of Phyllis Stewart tongue in cheek humor and lots of fun to read. I mainly agree with its sentiment, in that it's good to remember the important things that when forgotten, or mislaid, puts a crimp in the smooth progress of daily life. Except that I personally don't want my brain to be swept clear of the less than useful clutter. I like knowing and mulling over inconsequential factoids. It was the Yankees fifth series win in a row, a record. (I hope I'm right on that, as I'm not going to look it up.) It's a respite from the over-abundance of nasty consequential stuff going on in the world. Good rhyme scheme, very suited to the subject matter. By the way, what is the top speed of a gazelle? Your friend and a favorite fan (I hope) Old Salt
Comment Written by OldSalt on 26-Jun-2013

Our Hero by Phyllis Stewart

Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

Hi Phyllis,

Your little poem sounds downright nuclear. I assume Tom is the Fanstory guardian of morals and right speaking, or some such. As a veteran, you know these things. Well, it's been some weeks since I last visited Fanstory. As I said in my last message, I decided to take a break from the writing and reviewing game. It's not my natural bent in any case. At best a sometime hobby. I have been going over the stories I wrote last spring and summer and re-working them to condense and sharpen per the critiques I received from Fanstory reviewers. I have also been doing some revising of Shady Acres. These exercises are sort of like playing in the sandbox, however. I haven't returned to Joyride, other than to decide that chapters one and two should be in reverse order. To date, my "literary" friendship with you has been the best thing about my Fanstory experience. Old Salt
Comment Written by OldSalt on 10-Apr-2013

Ugh, Winter! by Bina1

Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

Hi Bina, You capture the mood of the season. However, you must not live in the NE if up to now you've gone all winter with only a brief flurry. You chose a good rhyme scheme for a winter poem: e.g. stuff, huff, puff. The third stanza provides a nice contrast, in the music of it, as you look forward and wish for spring. However, the meter does not stand up as well as the rhyme. It is a little jerky in places, but maybe that's appropriate to the "action," ie. shoveling the snow. For example, I would have inserted an "and" after house in line three of stanzas one and five, giving maybe a sense of exhaustion from the shoveling, a kind of sinking into the easy chair, or maybe I'm reaching. Read it with and without the and, and see what you think. PS: we had snow in Tucson yesterday. REally came down. It stuck for about an hour before melting. I went out and made a snowball, memories of midwest winters when I was a kid. Old Salt
Comment Written by OldSalt on 21-Feb-2013

More Night Visitors by Phyllis Stewart
Chapter 6 of the book My Precious Treasure

Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

Hi Phyllis, truly your story of your "adopted" (if not legally) son is moving, and very revealing of your own character. I confess to only scanning the earlier chapters. I am taking a break from reviewing, and I guess a semi-break from Fanstory. I still work at the next chapter of Joyride, but it may be a while before it's posted. A good novel, even detective ficion, creates a world, and my fictional world is pretty spare. I've been studying some of my favorite authors, one being John Lescroart, his most recent Treasure Hunt, but I have read almost everything he has written. San Francisco is his world, and he puts you there as you read. He gives his fictional portrayal substance and depth. That comes from really knowing your subject before you start writing about it. For example, Lee Child really knows guns and the military and the criminal mind (for want of a better term) and the look and feel of the settings and locales where Reacher finds himself in the various novels. These writers have done their homework, have learned, either through experience or research, what they need to know to create a compelling fictional world. I haven't even figured out what the "organization" (Carl et al) is about, what is their focus: drugs (naw, they leave that to the cartels) autos, loan sharking, murder for hire ???? I plan to bring Jason and the feds into it, but under what mandate and how would it work bureaucratically. RICO investigation? I got some ideas but I hardly have a world I can tap into for building the story. I am starting to get better at the mechanics of telling a story (thanks to Fanstory folks like you) but that only goes so far. Anyway, time to regroup. Old Salt
Comment Written by OldSalt on 20-Feb-2013

Snow, Snow, Snowin' by Phyllis Stewart
Chapter 5 of the book Singing Penguins

Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

There you go with your penguins again. They're a cheery lot, even if they are singing under protest, what's needed in this time of earth's weather run amuck. Today in Tucson it's pushing 75, but recently we had some days in the 50's (high) with desert nights near freezing. I may have lost my lemon tree to the freeze in January. Some of your rhymes are frankly a stretch and deserve a groan or two, but what can you expect from penguins. Old Salt
Comment Written by OldSalt on 15-Feb-2013

Detour Epilogue by Phyllis Stewart
Chapter 138 of the book Detour

Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

You love your epilogues where everybody ends up happy and fulfilled. But no disappearances this time, no alien abductions. Glad Lee got out of undercover work. Bet Lottie is too. The writing is just fine. It's a six star book, but of course Fanstory only lets me sprinkle the posts with fives for the most part. Old Salt
Comment Written by OldSalt on 15-Feb-2013

Curiosity by Phyllis Stewart
Chapter 136 of the book Detour

Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level

These last several chapters were really good because you gave the reunion, and what it entailed for Teri and Nick, the right degree of complexity and mixed emotions. No just a goodbye and nice knowing you on the part of Nick and Teri. You dealt with the depth of feeling that had grown between them. Made it real. Good job. Old Salt
Comment Written by OldSalt on 15-Feb-2013


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