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~ Critique Series ~

Guardian of Shadows
United States
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Joined 11th Apr 2015
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Guardian of Shadows
United States
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Joined 11th Apr 2015
Forum Posts: 327

ManorMyth said:This is a poem I wrote awhile ago and posted on here, but I always felt something was off about it. If anyone could possibly help me figure it out.

A Scream Echoes...

A scream echoes through the halls. (lose the period and go with nothing or a semicolon to connect the next line)
With the sound of nails screeching across the walls.

First, I agree with Johnny on the elipses doing nothing. I want to add that while I understand your goal may have been to lead the reader into the poem somewhat suspensefully, what it actually accomplished was the reader not being able to take a deep breath into the first stanza. If you hadn't repeated the title at the beginning of the line, the ellipses may have provided a different effect. But, as it stands, we already know a scream is echoing down the hall, so it's kind of a let down to read it again after the eclipses.

A shadowy figure then appear[s,] that is quite very tall.  
It camecoming to take my life,and that is all.

I might even go so far as to rewrite this so it flows more smoothly, i.e. -

A tall, shadowy figure appears
To take my life, end my years

I'm not saying use that couplet, I'm saying you may be able to rewrite for a smoother transition that seems less forced to rhyme.

Also, your tenses are aligning, i.e. - present and past. In parts you're living in others it seems you're recalling.

It'sIts presence surroundsparalyzes me with fear and loathe
As it reaches into me and
my heart begins to slow...

I agree with Johnny on the suggested edits, but feel much of the syntax reflected in this is to force rhyme. When writing, ask yourself if you would literally say, "fear and loathe".  The goal of this verse is to convey your horror regarding the arrival of death. That's your central focus, not rhyme (although rhyme could be a goal). So, the question is, how do you convey horror and retain a seamless rhyme that doesn't interrupt the flow nor detract attention from the emotion you're attempting to project?  I would suggest substituting paralyzes for surrounds so the reader immediately freezes in fear vs imagining being surrounded by something. I mean the very word paralyze (for whatever reason) evokes fear and dread. When selecting words to convey emotion, think hard about what you want the reader to relate with...in this case, fear.
...down toon one knee I drop and, clench my chest.  
With a feeling Knowing/Realizing/Resolvedthis will be the last place I rest.

Do you feel like you're dying or do you know you are? This is very important emotion to convey to your reader.

I agree the ellipses here is brilliant. It takes the reader down with you and conveys the sinking feeling perfectly.
I begin realize the scream through the halls was actually me  
And the screeching across the walls was me dropping to that knee.

This was a refreshingly surprising stanza that I didnt see coming. After removal of the extraneous words you may want to revise the syntax a bit.

I'm continuously reliving the day death came to set me free.  
As I burning in hell
for my sins for the rest of eternity.

I would refrain from using the word "sins" as burning in hell implies you haven't been an angel. Also, "the rest of" negates "etenity", as eternity is endless.

I would further agree with Johnny regarding details of your life. A flashback to a sin, perhaps, giving us some indication of what you committed that lands you in hell.

I think with a tad of reworking this could delve a bit deeper into some circumstantial details for the reader to relate with, while conveying the emotion through carefully selected and placed words.

Thank you for the honor of the read and opportunity to critique.

jade tiger
Dangerous Mind
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I think you & Johnny did a superb team critique on ManorMyth's piece!

👍😎👈wearing shades to prevent rain blindness

Guardian of Shadows
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Psycotic Mastermind
Twisted Dreamer
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Even us critters are not above being critiqued.


Where has My Head Gone?

As the previous evening and
night's events flash unfold
in a sudden rush, I take inventory
Such a carriage ride of disturbing dreams!
tossing, turning, tumbling
me around with far less prosing
much more favoring poetry
posing a story so deviously plotless
my brain could no longer follow
Waking on the cold ground
before dawn, still sleepy
Hollow my body lay in - a dense brush
and bramble nightmare. Creepy
doesn't begin to describe
how this day is starting out
and I find myself asking
while fumbling about

Where has my head gone?


A carriage ride of disturbing dreams...how very aptly put. The reference between poetry and prosing is an interesting one and can be translated per the reader's individual interpretation. It's almost as if you felt you were drowning in a sea of prose looking to poetry as a life-preserver. Or being haunted by a plotless piece of prose you were forced to read repeatedly.

I would recommend hyphenating flash-unfold, as I tripped and had to reread. Almost recommended you remove it; however, just as a flash-flood comes on quickly and unexpectedly, so, too, do recollections of disturbing dreams as we attempt to make sense of them.

Love the Sleepy Hollow reference, I almost expected to read a footnote saying this was in regards to the headless horseman.


I shall heed your recommendation in an upcoming revision, as I am not satisfied with the whole shebang. It is a mess of rhymes that are out of sync.

Where has My Head Gone?

ick ...
A body
waking to rain, cold
... yuck
Soggy, muddied
on sloggy ground
What the fuck?

As events of previous eve
and night flash-unfold
I find myself taking inventory
during the sudden rush

Such a tumultuous carriage ride of disturbing dreams!

tossing, turning, tumbling me around
with a mischievous weave of poetry
so bizarrely prosed, it seems a story
much composed by an absent mind
Who would dare an attempt to follow?

Before dawn
Groggy, still sleepy
Hollow my body lay in
a dense brush, wood
and bramble nightmare. Creepy
doesn't nearly begin to articulate
how this day is starting out
but solving the mystery has to wait
as I have to ask while fumbling about

Where has my head gone?


There. Much better.

Your assessment clued me in to the fact that I wasn't being forthcoming enough with the narrator being a victim of the Headless Horseman.

Thank you.


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