SummerSparrow, The Wordsmith

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7/26/2022 1:06 PM

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C U R I O U S ? 

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I come and go but may occasionally rise from inactivity to post game reviews.  

Trophies Earned

Earning 100 Points

Recent Posts

Looking for Beta Readers for a Story on 7/29/2021 2:14:28 PM

Hey there! I'm glad you found my feedback helpful. I took a glance. You did a good job with rewriting those sections! If you're looking for grammar feedback, I edited this sentence from the bog scene (awesome description of the brook by the way. I could hear it): 

“Wait,” you whisper and lean forward. Stacy and Corey's conversation dies out. Sure enough, drifting above the distant gurgle of the brook are approaching voices. And they’re coming right towards you. 

Well, it seems you have plenty of time before the contest deadline. If you want more feedback & beta readers, waiting a little longer doesn't seem like it'd hurt. Either way, best wishes with your writing!

Looking for Beta Readers for a Story on 7/28/2021 8:14:00 PM

Hey! I still stop by to check out new games. This site offers a good variety.

And thank you for the commendation and your comment. That's nice of you to say that! :) 

Looking for Beta Readers for a Story on 7/28/2021 8:00:07 PM

I enjoyed playing your game. I felt as though I’d entered a full-on war, so you effectively communicated the game’s tension and seriousness. I liked how you broke it up with casual, "childish" conversations during jail time and patrols. The strategies and rules were fun and well-explained. I enjoyed the various problems, variety of choices, and sometimes unexpected outcomes. 

In addition, because you gave each group member a unique trait, they became more memorable. My favorite character was Corey and his stealthiness. I'm unfamiliar with rating game difficulty, but I didn't see anything less than family-friendly. Overall, I felt you did a good job. 

I’d like to offer several suggestions that may help enhance your story. (Please excuse my rough examples.)


First, to better capture interest and avoid overwhelming readers with information, consider opening the story closer to/in the middle of action. What if it began with a setback and raised the game’s stakes? Seeing the characters and their traits in action can increase their appeal. For instance, including more action may look something like: 

(Set near the opening scene)

“Pick faster!” Katherine snaps. 

They’ll be coming for you soon. By now, you and your group should’ve been deep in your territory, preparing for the game to start. Instead, you’re squatting on the streambank next to Mike, who’s sprawled on his stomach. Green, spiked burrs cling to his jacket and pants. 

Katherine scowls. “What were you thinking?” She rips another burr off his sock. “Why’d you roll when you landed?”

You roll your eyes. “He wasn’t thinking. That’s the problem.” Everyone knows that when you leap across the stream, you need to land on your feet. 

Mike’s face reddens. “Guys, stop,” he groans. 

Across the water, the woods echo with distant shouts from the other team. Earlier, you’d sent your faster runner, Stacy, to hide the flag. But if your opponents cross the stream to steal it, she won’t last long alone. Tossing aside the last burr, you pat Mike’s shoulder and heave him to his feet. “C’mon, we gotta get moving.”  

As for your great background information, it can be alluded to throughout the story. Ex:

“Do we really have to do this?” Katherine’s [color] eyes cut to you. “It’s just a cafeteria seat. Can’t you find another?”

At the thought, you bristle. “No way.” [explain why it’s important]

Alternatively, once the action/scene has been set, you could use the next scene and briefly jump back to earlier that morning (ex: “It all started when . . .”)


Second, consider spacing out character introductions to reduce confusion and avoid overwhelming readers. One way is to later introduce some of the characters’ unique traits through action, rather than stating them. It also helps readers feel they naturally discovered the information. 

Another way is for opposing team members to be introduced during encounters since the protagonist doesn’t initially spend much time with them. For instance, it may look something like: 

(During the scene when you hide in the bog)

The voices grow louder. As they near the bushes, you peer out, only to freeze.

It’s Jonathan, the second fastest boy in your class. Next to him walks Finn, whom you’ve seen with your friends but never talked much to. 


Third, to avoid repetition, perhaps reduce the use of dialogue tags. You could also alternate them with actions, which can reveal more about the character. For example, instead of (“It’s almost five minutes,” says Katherine, checking her watch), try keeping it to: (“It’s almost five minutes.” Katherine checks her watch.) 


Fourth, to show instead of tell and also increase immersion, consider reducing filter words similar to “you hear” or “you see.” Too many can place distance between the character and the reader. It also reduces the impact of your great descriptions. For instance, the sentence “You can hear the sounds [of] voices approaching” might look something like: 

As you land on a tree branch, a noise stops you. “Wait,” you whisper.

The group falls still. Your sneakers wobble on the branch, but you hold still, straining your ears. There. Distant voices drift through the woods, coming closer.

Katherine exchanges a panicked look with you. 

“What do we do?” Stacy hisses. 

You scan the area, but there’s not much cover. Only mud and tree roots. Finally, your eyes fall upon a cluster of bushes on the left. The only problem? They’re sitting in the wettest, muckiest part of the swamp. If someone stumbled upon you, the mud would slow you down. 

Another option is to sneak around the voices towards the right. A risky move, but if spotted, you have a better chance of escaping to your territory. 


Finally, consider condensing your sentences. Multiple times, they contain unneeded, lengthy phrases. For instance, instead of “It’s slow going through the swamp, since you don’t have any particular desire to . . . etc.” perhaps it could be reduced to:

Going through the swamp takes ages. You’d cut through it, but who wants to slosh in mud and run around in wet sneakers? Instead, you and your group stick to the dryer parts and climb on tree roots when possible.


Overall, I enjoyed your game. The dynamics between your characters felt engaging and fun. Combined with the conflict and interesting war strategies, it was a fun, short read. Adjusting the opening scene, spacing out introductions and information, and working on the immersion would enhance your piece. I hope you keep writing!

Character designs? on 5/19/2016 11:01:52 PM

Asking others to design a character for you is a dangerous move, especially since you provide very little detail. Creating a character can be an intimate, difficult process - it's not as simple as jotting down a few facts about them before slapping a name and random background on them. They aren't a faceless object whose only purpose is to play their role: they are a unique person with strengths, flaws, worries, and quirks that set them apart from others. You're forming an entirely new being, which requires you to look closely at their different aspects. For instance, their past is extremely important, as it influences their traits and helps form the person they are today. Their appearance is also essential, as humans have unique appearances with different features that help them stand out. 

Because your character will also play a major role in your story, it's best to know them as well as possible so that you aren't constantly questioning what they'd do in different situations. Designing your own character will allow you to share a deep connection with them. Because you know them inside and out, you'll have an easier time writing about them than you would if it were someone else's character. They will fit better in your world and story. Furthermore, you are more familiar with your own plot than we are. You should be able to tell what types of people would be best fit in your world. If you truly value your work, you'll be willing to make time to create your own characters rather than asking other people to do so for you. You're more than welcome to ask for suggestions though. Best wishes.

Biology sucks right? on 5/19/2016 10:38:09 PM

Honestly, I was hesitant about reading on after I realized that I was facing an overused opening scene: the main character awakens to face a new day. However, I liked how you didn't waste time going through the character's morning routine. Instead, you made them immediately face a serious problem before offering an unsafe solution: pretending to be ill. It was a good move to make, as many different events could occur as a result of this choice.  

As for your grammar, I feel that it could use more work. I think that the major issue is your lack of commas, as I noticed many places where they were missing. Your writing style was alright - it was good that you didn't include too many useless details while the character was awakening; otherwise, it may have discouraged me from reading. However, I feel that some of your descriptions could be replaced with stronger ones so that the reader can connect with the character and their emotions better. Some of them sounded a bit awkward. For instance, "as you groggily begin to start moving around" could be replaced with "Kicking off your sheets, you release a loud yawn and tug your arms back into a stretch. Your open textbook catches your attention, and you stare at it through drooping eyes. Mmm, what was I studying for last night? you wonder. For a few seconds, you struggle to recover your memories from your cottony mind. But then, it hits you. Today is your biology final - you fell asleep before you could even start studying the second unit!" Also, "You jump out of your bed filled with nervous energy" might sound better as "As your stomach flips, you scramble out of bed and press a hand against your pounding heart." 

Best of luck. I hope you continue working on this, as I'm interested to see what happens to the character. Using a mundane opening was a dangerous move, but you managed to recapture some of my interest by quickly presenting the problem. However, you may have to be careful when writing the next few scenes (be sure that you keep the reader's interest) because it'll be easy to lose your reader's attention if there are too many dull or seemingly unimportant moments. 

Was A Ghost - Now Active on 5/17/2016 10:12:10 AM

Oh dear. I'm not entirely sure how to feel about being compared to him, but . . . thank you? Human flesh doesn't appeal to me though, so I don't think I'll be the newest Hannibal Lecter - at least I hope I won't. Thank you - I'll definitely enjoy this website. 

Was A Ghost - Now Active on 5/17/2016 10:01:48 AM

I'm glad that my formality isn't considered to be strange. I've been compared to a robot on many occasions (and been demanded to prove that I'm not a bot), and that apparently unnerves some people. Thank you for your encouraging words - I'll definitely be more active on here. 

Was A Ghost - Now Active on 5/17/2016 9:59:03 AM

Thank you so much for the encouragement, Jimmy. I really appreciate it!

Was A Ghost - Now Active on 5/17/2016 9:58:24 AM

My bad - I've switched to the threaded view so that this doesn't happen again.

Was A Ghost - Now Active on 5/16/2016 1:35:46 PM

Thank you for the welcoming comments, everyone! I'm glad to hear that I've made a positive first impression. I hope to get to know you all better in the future.