Lynn Hollander | SparkaTale


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  • Joined 10/10/13
  • Last login 08/21/16
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If you want comments, you should enable the copy feature.  This permits the reviewer to offer examples from the text of the problem she is discussing. 


I live in California and I tend to use American grammatical conventions; yes, some British style/vocabulary creeps in but often I'm not consciously inserting them.

I cannot enjoy poorly written, ungrammatical text.  I tend to give a story a chance, and if I wince too often, I stop reading it. 

So since I can make no sense of the rating and reviewing systems, I just review on a chapter by chapter basis.  No stars, just comments. 

" some published novels, and try telling me you don't see them use some of the same comma placement and capitalization..."  -- I do see that, but I don't accept them, nor am I likely to imitate such practices.  Publishing firms don't have grammar books:  they have style books.  The purpose of a style book is conformity, not correctness.   The Chicago Manual of Style is a good example.  Grammar books offer advice on --yes-- grammar..  Failing your own copy of Eats Shoots and Leaves or The Transitive Vampire or Woe is I  there are some on-line sites.  The Purdue OWL is one.  For specific topics check out:  under Syntax and Grammar; Brians Errors is an amusing site.    And of course, there is the lemming comment:  Just because X does Y doesn't mean you should. 


Lynn Hollander has not written any poems yet.
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  • Zjjan Master

    Well, this is just a waste of the readers' time. 

    Commented on: August 21, 2016

  • Heart of a Dragon: Ƒɩʀε

     'screams echoes'  --'screams' is plural and 'echoes' is the singular form of the verb.  --Very off putting beginning.Change to either 'A scream echoes' or 'screams echo.'

    Commented on: August 21, 2016

  • The Legend of Aveloth

    Action is more attractive than history.  START the story.  Don't make the reader wait.

    Commented on: May 1, 2016

  • Because I love you

    What is immediately obvious is the paragraphing.  .  The single sentence paragraphs are more annoying than interesting.  I read no further than the first screen. 

    Commented on: April 27, 2016

  • Shadowlurk

    Did you delete my review?

    Commented on: February 17, 2016

  • Kain the Dragon Slayer

    Well had you told me that earlier I might have reconsidered this hunt! I screamed internally. Well it was too late to do anything about that now.  **Interjections, such as well in this construction, are set off with commas (or the beginning or end of the sentence).    Well(COMMA), had you told me that earlier I might have reconsidered this hunt! I screamed internally. Well(COMMA), it was too late to do anything about that now.

    Commented on: February 17, 2016

  • The Birdsong Saga

    Since you disabled the copy feature, I can't offer exact examples of the goofs, but in dialogue tag sentences the dialogue sentence immediately before the closing quotation marks NEVER ends with a period:  "Come, Spot(COMMA)", said Jane.

    Commented on: February 17, 2016

  • Shadowlurk

    "This is the beginning of the story about Henry. He was born with the half-face of a shadow and the half-face of a moon warrior. He was learning how to use his shadow calling powers to call the shadows before the ultimate battle in the summer. He begins learning how to call shadows before his first year in high school starts. He learned the history of the land of Shadowlurk in the Dead world. Later on, he was encountered by bullies in Graveyard High and met with his new friends in the school."  --The blurb, what F/P and other sites insist on calling the 'summary', should hook the reader's interest.  This doesn't quite work.  Try:  Here begins Henry's story.  Henry is a shadow caller and summons shadows for the ultimate battle.  --and here add some more.--  Also, what is 'half-face'?  Does Henry display features from both a shadow and a warrior?  'the half-face' does not convey enough meaning.

    I can't offer comments on the story proper because you disabled the copy feature.  I will say that the first sentence is NOT a sentence, but is a sentence fragment. 

    Commented on: February 17, 2016

  • Raiders!

    "This is the second time travelling in such a manner and I can safely say there's no getting used to it."  --Try something on this order:  "This is the second time _I traveled_ in such a manner and I can safely say there's no getting used to it:  Clearer and more personal. 

    "Three of my five senses had already granted me with enough happiness...." Awkward.  Drop the 'with'.  "Three of my five senses had already granted me enough happiness... ." 

    Commented on: February 17, 2016

  • The Unkara awakened

    I have a number questions about the text, but since you disabled the copy feature I cannot give examples.  So here is a general comment:  you need to read this out loud.  There are several passages that really make no sense.  Sometimes reading the work out loud helps the writer notice the problems.

    Commented on: February 17, 2016

  • Dungeon Hunters

    What's the gravity on Etakk?  I'm all for fantasy, but even with a willing suspension of disbelief, I can't believe in Etakk. 

    Also, if you want comments, encourage reviewers by allowing copying of examples from the text. 

    Commented on: February 17, 2016

  • An Educational Fable

    This story has been updated.  15 February 2016

    Commented on: February 15, 2016

  • An Educational Fable

    This story was updated on 15 February 2016

    Commented on: February 15, 2016

  • The Knights of Sheba

    The chapter numbering system is inefficient and confusing.  Needs a revamp.

    Commented on: December 4, 2015

  • The imagines of tomorrow

    Age,gender,nationality,credence,all of these doesn't matter on what you could do to take your world for tomorrow.  ~~this is a very confused sentence.  There is verb/number confusion:  '...ALL of these DON'T matter'.(You could also try:  None of these matter.)  Then it becomes even more confused.  '...what you could do to take your world for tomorrow'  doesn't seem to have any connection to the first part of the sentence.  What are you trying to say here?  'Age, gender etc don't matter when you are focused on tomorrow'?  Age etc don't matter when you are dealing with the world?  In the first place, all those things do matter:  a very young age means you are dealing with parental control/baby sitters.  Gender--not so much. Nationality may still matter to other people, and you'll have to deal with that,  Credibility --whether people will believe you or not.  Are you known to be a liar?  That also will change how other people regard you.  The whole sentence is poorly conceived and poorly executed.  Work out what you want to say, then put it in the simplest construction you can.  Good luck. 

    Commented on: October 25, 2015

  • Love Comes Later

    In the blurb you have this:  Rose Marie Dryer has a past she can never say allowed.

    Did you really mean 'permitted' or should it have been 'out loud'?

    Commented on: October 25, 2015

  • Dark Magic Rising - Book one in The Sisterhood Trilogy

    If you go to 'my books', and select 'action' and then 'edit' and then scroll down, you'll find this box:      Would you like to disable copying of your story?    * Users typically copy content for use in critiquing specific sections of your work.

    Leave the box blank and hit save. 

    That's how I permitted copy/paste for reviews. If ST is ignoring that, I don't know what to tell you. 

    Good luck.

    Commented on: October 17, 2015

  • Dark Magic Rising - Book one in The Sisterhood Trilogy

    When you post chapters,the checklist includes an option enabling copying.

    Commented on: October 11, 2015

  • Dark Magic Rising - Book one in The Sisterhood Trilogy

    The pronouns are occasionally confusing.  With only two characters --both make-- be clearer about who is doing/thinking. 


    I'm not going to take the time to transcribe the story to paper just to add examples.  Copy protection is hard on reviewers. 

    Commented on: October 10, 2015

  • Magical Cards

    The introduction needs editing. 

    "It has an explanation mark on it." --what is an explanation mark?  Is it related to an exclamation point?  or possibly a question mark?

    This card hasn't chosen yet. --If the card chooses who it will endorse, why does Thomas try  to keep it?  If thwarted, will the card just give in and accept the child in whose bed/pocket the card first manifested? 

    The society/background seems to need more thought.

    Commented on: October 7, 2015


    Start over. Try to make sense. 

    Commented on: October 7, 2015

  • Egypt's Queen

    The date is 1492 B.C. and there's nothing more painful than having to do something you absolutely, positively don't want to do. I cried, I begged, and pleaded with Amon-Re.  --how can the narrator know that in 3500 years her time will be called 1492 BC?  Too illogical to continue ...

    Commented on: October 7, 2015

  • Games Immortals Play

    The Rules of Grand Tag are established by compact for each game. The rules Njal. Úlfa et al. agreed to are both unique and representative.

    1) Players select which group they shall be in: Runners or Hunters

    2) Selection of players will close on 0000 on the Second Equinox in the 159th year of the reign of Rickard IV. (1).

    3) Runners leave first, according to their gate opening times. Hunters shall be released 42 local days after the last Runner departs Hove (2)

    4) Players are due back 11 complete cycles(3) after the last Hunter departs Hove(4).

    5) Prizes will be awarded to any Runner who returns to Hove tagged and to any Hunter who has tagged one or more Runners. Exact shares will be determined after all Players have returned or been declared dead.

    6) Collusion between Runner and Hunter will result in disqualification of both parties.


    1) Local time. Earth equivalent is approximately 1889 CE.

    2) Hove is a nexus planet. It has 23 commercial transdimensional gates and an uncounted number of wild cards.

    3) A 'complete cycle' of the 23 Hovian commercial gates takes 9 local years.

    4) The customs of Hove do not permit speculation on how long a king will reign. The unspoken assumption is that this will be the 258th year of Rickard's reign. Earth equivalent will be approximately 2013 CE.



    Commented on: October 5, 2015

  • Games Immortals Play

    'High Tag' is the game the younger Alves are playing. Actually, I haven't codified any rules for it yet. 

    Can you please be more precise about what you're talking about? 

    Commented on: October 2, 2015

  • Games Immortals Play

    What are you commenting on? 

    I haven't offered any rules for High Tag.

    Commented on: October 1, 2015

  • Redacted Essays from the Celestial Encyclopedia

    I fixed the problem.  Thank you for your help.

    Commented on: October 1, 2015

  • Redacted Essays from the Celestial Encyclopedia

    And how did you get that nice dark text?

    Commented on: October 1, 2015

  • An Educational Fable

    Sentences can also end with an exclamation point or a question mark.  I located one typo where a comma came at the end of a sentence and corrected it.  If you can find other goofs or errors of fact, please be specific about what and where.  Thank you for your comment.   

    Commented on: October 1, 2015

  • Redacted Essays from the Celestial Encyclopedia

    Coincidences happen, but I think yunü trumps yunu:  the nymphs have seniority.  Since yunu look nothing like yunü, who usually look like beautiful young women, I believe even SW fans can tell them apart. 


    Commented on: October 1, 2015

  • Redacted Essays from the Celestial Encyclopedia

    Yunü are Taoist nymphs and existed, in myth and literature, long before Lucas produced whatever chapter of Star Wars you mentioned.. I did not name them, except as individual yunü, and I am unaware of any yunu in Star Wars.  Check any book of Chinese myth, where they may also be named Jade Maidens.  They have a male counterpart called jintong or Golden Boys 

    Commented on: September 30, 2015

  • Games Immortals Play

    Thank you for your comment. 



    Commented on: September 28, 2015

  • Whispers of Nowhere

    "As to Phenex’s dialogue…I literally see no difference between mine, and the two examples you provided—save for the capitalization of the H in “he” on the last one. Otherwise, your examples are the same as mine."  --Ah, no; both my examples are different and both are correct.  It may be subtle, but it should be noticeable upon inspection.  The original, which I copy-pasted from the story,  is a long dialogue tagged sentence with two intrusive capital letters and three commas.  Either the punctuation or the capitalization is incorrect, and I offered examples of changes that will correct the problem.  Further along, you do it right:   “This isn’t happening,” she muttered, “you’re not real. I’m not really in my kitchen…I’m asleep in my bed, and any minute, I’m going to wake up from this nightmare, and laugh the whole thing off.” –This is also copy-pasted from the text and has correct punctuation AND correct capitalization. 

    Commented on: September 25, 2015

  • Whispers of Nowhere

    As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she noticed –but she woke up to darkness.  Her eyes were not adjusted to light to begin with, and apparently they just stayed that way. 

    As a curator for the local museum, her father’s hours were unpredictable at the best of times.  –How does this follow?  What is it about her father's job that results in unpredictable work time?  A zookeeper or trauma surgeon must surely be on 24/7 call, but why a museum curator?

    When her gaze fell on an amethyst cluster twice the size of her hand, she reached out toward it, admiring the deep purple crystals lined with quartz. Gwen had developed a keen interest in gemstones at a young age, and as a result, had learned to tell certain ones apart. Amethysts were no exception, and had been amongst the first ones she’d learned to distinguish from all others.    –1)  amethyst is simply colored quartz, as are citrine and chrysoprase, and others.  Rock crystal is clear quartz.  It is not easy to visually determine which gem a stone is, given the variety of colors found in the corundum, beryl,  and quartz families.  Some lab tests –weighing/specific gravity, refraction:  yes/no, spectrum and down to Xray crystallography may be necessary for a valid identification.  2) 'at a young age' –wordy and awkward.  Try simply:  When she was younger Gwen had studied basic gemology… .

    Aside from his frock coat, which Gwen thought looked suspiciously like the ones she’d seen in her history textbook, he wore a black dress shirt; the collar just visible beneath the unbuttoned lapel.  –Why suspiciously?  Also, lapels are part of the coat's collar and usually aren't buttoned.  Is there anything special about a shirt having a collar? 

    “Well, aren’t you a jumpy little thing,” He chuckled, grinning crookedly as he continued, “Not that it’s any of your business, human, but the name is Phenex.” –Yes, who said it and what was said make one sentence, but this example is not that.  This is a dialogue tagged sentence with two bits of dialogue and requires special attention.  It can go:  “Well, aren’t you a jumpy little thing.” He chuckled, grinning crookedly as he continued, “Not that it’s any of your business, human, but the name is Phenex.”  or   “Well, aren’t you a jumpy little thing,” he chuckled, grinning crookedly as he continued, “not that it’s any of your business, human, but the name is Phenex.” –which is still a little awkward.


    Commented on: September 24, 2015

  • The Princes and the Dragon

    "'Quickly this way!' Sir Borin said as he led the Queen and the Prince through the catacombs of the castle. The King had been burnt to a crisp in his attempt to face their foes, so that his wife and son might have lived. When Prince Jarin had turned to see what became of his lord father, all that had been left was a shadow upon the wall, scorched in like a memory."

    ~~after that rambling introduction, this paragraph packs too much into three sentences.  A paragraph takes ONE idea or the ACTIONS OF ONE CHARACTER and should NOT jumble Borin, the King and Jarin all together.  As a general rule, actions flow from previous actions and do not spontaneously pop-up.  Back story matters.  Take a little time and get the set-up right.   


    Where was the king when the dragon burned him?  Establish that, and who was with him.  If the king was not with his knights, but was already within the catacombs, how did the dragon kill him?  Get the death scene worked out.  (I use a 3 foot by 5 foot dry erase board like a foot-ball play by play action/analysis. I'd be lost without it, but a pad of newsprint is also helpful.)

    After the king dies, go on to the next move.  If the king dies in the catacombs, go directly to the running.  If the king dies in the general fighting there are new questions:  Where was Sir Borin?  Where was the Queen?  Where's the door to the catacombs?  --This is known as getting the ducks in a row.  All writers need to do it.

    It's sometimes difficult for an author who knows the story inside out and backwards to step back and read what's been put down and ONLY what's been put down.  Try to forget what happens next and make sure what you're writing NOW is what you want the reader to know.

    Commented on: September 9, 2015

  • Haunted

    Well, this is not really my sort of story:  I don't do angst.  I can only comment on the writing.  There is a frequent misunderstanding of the object/subject pronouns.  Here are two examples:  Friends with my brother and I –  A useful tool for evaluating the compound pronoun is to simplify it.  Drop the brother.  What you have left is:  Friends with I.  This should make your writer's nerves cringe.  The sentence  should go something on this order:  He was friends with me.  You could also completely rephrase it and write:  He was our friend –or something on that order.


    Here is the same problem, but with the third person pronoun:  We seemed frozen in time, him and I –  If you put the subject pronoun 'we' and 'him and I' closer together, you should be able to see that it must be:  We, he and I, seemed frozen in time….etc. 

    Commented on: September 9, 2015

  • World's End

    It's important to fix the readers interest in the story.  When you waste the reader's time by needless back story and too much scene setting, the reader's interest may fail. Try starting the story with something like this:  A girl appeared next to Ashley's table and asked, "May I sit here?" --this is ACTION.  Action is almost always more interesting than back story.  Right away the reader wonders what's happening, who is the girl, why is she here.  This is showing, not telling and is a basic writing tool. 

    This allows the minimal necessary back story to be revealed in dialogue.  Go straight into it:  "What are you doing here?"  "I'm going on a journey."  "Where?"  "Destination X(or wherever)."  "Sounds dangerous.  Can I come?  Who else is coming?"  --and so forth.    The waitress, the food order and other extraneous details can be omitted. 

    This is too abrupt:  She started drinking her soda and a battle was going on outside and explosions appeared everywhere and Ashley said, "So it begun."  Try:  Ashley heard an explosion, then several others.  Looking out the restaurant window, she noticed an armoured personnel carrier (APC) stop on the street outside the restaurant.  Armed men jumped out onto the street ...and so forth.  This is still quick, but the action flows more believably than 'explosions appeared everywhere'(Explosions are usually heard first, then seen.)    Note:  Verb tense.  It's either 'It has begun' or "It begins." --

    Note:  It is unnecessary to say:  Ashley heard.....  The reader will assume all people in a conversation can hear all the other participants. 

    You might try reading this aloud.  That is often helpful in noting awkward constructions or wrong word choices. 

    Good luck with this. 

    Commented on: May 30, 2015

  • Forgotten World

    "Her red dressed more torn and rather slowed her down."  Yes, 'dress' is a noun AND a verb, but in English nouns are not conjugated.  --She dressed in a red dress.  She dresses herself in a blue dress.  Etc. 

    'more torn and rather slowed her down.'    What is the sense of this?  More torn than what or maybe, when

    As written, the whole sentence makes no sense and needs to tweaking. 

    Commented on: May 19, 2015

  • Tears Of The Sky

    No, I wasn't commenting on the pronunciations.  I never studied phonics at school --I'm a Navy Brat and went to 8 different elementary schools and always missed phonics-- I do the word recognition method because that's all I know. I don't pronounce at all while I'm reading.  I may, however, rely more than other readers on punctuation to guide me through the text. 

    This text, as I said, has very erratic punctuation.  There are run-on sentences where two sentences are jammed together and commas inserted or omitted.  I suggest you stop putting quotation marks around non-dialogue words, like:  "Heit" and so forth.

    Do give The Transitive Vampire a look.  It offers excellent and amusing examples of correct grammar.  Eats Shoots and Leaves  is useful for intelligent punctuation. 

    Commented on: May 10, 2015

  • An Educational Fable

    Apparently not.

    AbsoluteWriteWaterCooler is an excellent site for a variety of forums about writing.  The Guide to Dialogue Tagged Sentences can be found under Syntax and Grammar. 

    Commented on: April 28, 2015

  • An Educational Fable

    The Young Write could have gone to:   --for help with dialogue tag sentences.

    I know that I was not born with a facility for grammar:  I learned it by constant correction and good examples.  There is really no excuse for anyone who has read Dick and Jane in first grade to screw up basic dialogue tagged sentences, unless like the Young Writer she hasn't been paying attention. 

    Now, let's see if the absolutewrite address come through legibly.

    Commented on: April 28, 2015

  • An Educational Fable

    So where do the comments go after I post?  We'll see.

    Commented on: April 28, 2015

  • Wastelanders: Revolution

    This appears as a monolithic block of print.  It desperately needs PARAGRAPHING.  When the narrative switches topics or characters, hit the enter tab.  A new paragraph will be created. 

    There are many intrusive commas:  His, fiery red, hair flying up behind him as he did. --omit the comma after his and after red.:  His fiery red hair ...etc.  Also, this is a sentence fragment. 

    The whole text needs a careful and attentive pre-post edit.  Good luck.

    Commented on: April 28, 2015

  • The Cause and Effect of Deciet

    It's spelled deceit.  And the saying is:  I before E except after C--there's something very unappealing about a misspelled title.

    I never encourage a writer to rely solely on a spell check program, but as a quick resource they are very useful. 

    Commented on: April 28, 2015

  • Bloodline

    Ingrid rose from her comfortable bed to let her light feet strode across the cold stone floor. The first sentence is very important: This one displays verb tense conflict. 'Ingrid rose' is in the past tense; but so is 'to let her light feed strode across...' and that is incorrect. Ingrid rose from her comfortable bed to let her light feet stride across the cold stone floor. --is the right tense.


    This sentence: 'The gets and greets with the usual pleasantries...' is completely confused: who greets whom? What does 'gets' involve? The sentence need a complete rewrite.


    “That, is none of your business”, Ingrid replied firmly.

    “What are we talking about”? Little Archie demanded curiously.

    “Nothing”, Ingrid assured him. ---These are all incorrectly punctuated. Briefly, dialogue tag sentences, like these, follow a standard form: “That is none of your business,” Ingrid replied firmly. The comma, or the exclamation point or the question mark, goes INSIDE the quotation marks. Take up any Harry Potter or Twilight or Game of Thrones and you'll see THIS STANDARD PRESENTATION.

    Throughout the text verb tense wanders all over the place. That's confusing. The entire text needs an attentive edit.

    Commented on: April 28, 2015

  • Tears Of The Sky

    Punctuation is awkward.  Check out Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss, or Woe is IThe Transitive Vampire is also an excellent book on grammar and punctuation.  The text needs a lot of work, but the story line is fine.  Good luck editing. 

    Commented on: April 14, 2015

  • Marked: The Beginning Of The Fall  offers visual examples of doublets and hose, including breeches.  Doublets need hose or some form of breeches, since the doublet is a short jacket and stops well above the crotch.

     Formal court doublets are generally tighter and stiffer than everyday or working class doublets.  For fencing, gentlemen would remove the doublet for freedom of movement or come dressed in a loose garment.

    Some typos –it's where it should be its; grip's where it should be grips. 

    But it's the pronouns that give the most trouble:  Three male characters, all using the pronouns  —he, his, and him— and it's hard to track who is meant.  Try not to confuse the reader unnecessarily.  'He slapped his face while he watched' does not convey adequate information to the reader.  Use names more often:  Adam slapped Bob's face while Charles watched.  This need not be taken to extremes:  Adam slapped his brother's face while their cousin watched —assuming that the relationships have been made clear before this action, this construction is just as clear as the first example.  Clarity matters; make the action —exactly who is doing what and to whom it is being done—  clear for the reader.

    Sometimes an author can know the story so well she omits what to her are 'obvious' ideas, steps in logic, or actions.  The ability to step back from the story as read it as if it had been written by a complete stranger is a useful tool for the writer.  Remember, what the reader knows is what is on the page.  Is that all what you want her to know at this point in the narrative?  If not, edit.  Good luck. 

    Commented on: April 13, 2015

  • Working Title: Games Immortals Play

    OK--currently centered, with italic enabled.  Size is too big, but I'll work on that later. 

    Commented on: April 9, 2015

  • Working Title: Games Immortals Play

    Well.  I just noticed in the posted  version there is no centering. 

    Apparently there is no way to edit this without reposting the whole first and second chapters. 

    I'll attend to that in a little while. 

    Commented on: April 9, 2015

  • Carriers

    I see you have manged to get indentation in your paragraphs.  Can you explain how you did this?  I am so far unable to include indenting in my presentations.  --Lynn.

    Commented on: October 15, 2013

  • Hunt for Mermaids

    I notice that you have managed to get indentations.  Can you explain how you did this?  I am so far unable to post an attractive presentation. --Lynn

    Commented on: October 15, 2013

  • The Watcher and the Bull

    I see you manage to get indentions.  Can you tell me how you did this?  I am so far unable to get a presentation I am happy with.--Lynn

    Commented on: October 15, 2013

  • Cast Out

    So I looked at this.  There are no indentions.  Have you ever managed indentions?  I know some stories here have, and I am anxious to learn the technique.--Lynn.

    Commented on: October 15, 2013