I've just picked up;
No Place for Ladies: The Untold Story of Women in the Crimean War by Helen Rappaport.

Marilyn Johnson wrote:

You've got to quit reading my mind, Dill!  How didja know??

Sorry for the horseplay MJ. smile I was merely demonstrating that a good reviewer pays no attention to the author. It is all about them, their interpretation and agenda and what they want your words to be. How else could we staff the press agencies?

Scrumpy Jack -- fucked up!

Marilyn Johnson wrote:

I love getting reviews, but I hate somebody trying to rewrite every word I've written.  Been there, don't like it. Don't get me wrong - a suggestion here and there is great and appreciated.  But to highlight every single paragraph is ridiculous unless I have asked them to do it in advance."

A nice try MJ, but surely you meant...

I enjoy receiving reviews, but am less than pleased when somebody edits my words into their own. I've experienced it and it irks me. Please don't misunderstand - a few suggestions are greatly appreciated, but to focus intensely upon every paragraph is certainly not called for... unless we have entered in a collaborative development understanding.   

Marilyn Johnson wrote:

Last time it happened to me, I returned the review with this:...

..."I certainly don't appreciate all the time you spent grooming my Âne du Cotentin so it sounds like your Baudet du Poitou instead of mine. I am sure it was time-consuming but totally not necessary. Due to the fact that both you and I are here, on this site called The NextBigDonkeySanctuary, probably shows that neither of us has an Andalusian or an Âne grand noir du Berry in the stable...

Nay, I say. 


(In my opinion)
It takes a while for some people to understand that reviewing is just that... you review the prose as it stands. Surrender an opinion upon the product.

Yes, you may point out mistakes (i.e. technical stuff -- typos and legitimate grammar issues) maybe suggest an alternate word choice, or two.

Anything other than the above is actually 'rewriting' and not reviewing.

You don't attempt to change the author's 'voice' into your own and you do not distract them from their style.

Yes, once a relationship has formed and both parties are happy to give and take, you can discuss ideas for plot expansion, story and character development and overall style etc. but this is not reviewing, this is collaborative development.   

I've had a few in past who seem very intent upon me turning my words into their words, my story into theirs.

There was loads upon this subject, a huge amount of discussion, knowledge, experience and debate within the forums of the old tNBW site. A gold mine, those old forums. Hundreds/thousands of hours of peoples voices. Some sparkling minds. Hardly a day goes past that I don't remember something valuable there within those old forums, which I can no longer access. There seems to be less investment within those kinds of group discussion subjects here on the new site. Some might say, why bother when it could all be gone by tomorrow?

Sherry V. Ostroff wrote:

I'm reading the first in the series of The Lymond Chronicles.....

You are in the right place for Historical Fiction fans. Please let us know how you find the read.  Cheers!

Memphis Trace wrote:

Here's a great bio of Kady:

That's a great bio MT, thanks for that and the site itself - 'Civil War Women' A great resource with rich content and links!

Here's one from an area of the American Civil War that I've been drawn to and am researching. Brits who fought in the conflict.

English officers at Yorktown, 1862. Image owned by 'Library of Congress'

Amazing sharp focus within this image from 1862

Although the image is titled 'English' the guy on far right is a 'Scots Guard' officer and would probably be peeved to be remembered by history an Englishman.

The guy in the rear-right looks like the gamekeeper of an English estate. No doubt fed-up with shooting English Pheasants, he traveled west in order to shoot American peasants. wink

She was a Zouave Vivandieres... they had Zouave regiments on both sides of the conflict. I'd assumed deep south French speaking swamp people... but I've been caught up in the stereotype!

Same photo session, with her husband Robert

corra wrote:

Her uniform looks like the women's rights bloomers. That paired with the soldier's cap is an interesting effect. Her face could be from today.

When I saw the photo I assumed it was Zouave and she was a Confederate. Born in Africa, French mother and Scottish father. Typical American of that era.

Her face is of today. I saw her twice on the train into London Liverpool Street this morning.
Kady Brownell

Putting words around the pictures.

What am I reading right now?

Following a recommendation;  Louisa May Alcott’s first draft of Little Women

I know that you're proud of me. smile

I was totally kidding when I mentioned talking to your mother; but of course she's an expert.

I do find the ACW very interesting. Aside from the accounts of the war I especially love the sepia Daguerreotype, Tintypes, and Ambrotype images. The first historical event to be photographed. I can while away hours looking deep into those faces and the backgrounds. Truly fascinating. I often recognise features within those characters which resemble people I know today... like we are all related somehow.

Anyway, I've just started to watch Ken Burns documentary series upon the Vietnam War...  Only 5 mins in, but I have great expectations. x

Malinda Blalock, a story to behold! Fought on both sides in the Civil war. What a life. That's a great new reference for my ACW research files and material.

Deborah Sampson would have no problem posing as a man. According to that picture she'd have more trouble passing herself off as a woman. Again, what a life! It is good to read that she finally gained her military back-pay and a pension.

These people should be immortalised within book or film. They certainly earned it. Much more so than Ant-Man.


(8 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Norm d'Plume wrote:

I'm aware that many classics do it. I can even think back far enough to some of them. lol I'm more interested in modern trends. Almost all of the books I read here and elsewhere use multiple POVs. I mentioned the genre (supernatural thriller), since I've never written one and there may be best practices to follow that differ from sci-fi, which is what I've been writing. Even the best-selling sci-fi novel of all time, Dune, which was written in the 60's, used multiple POVs.


My favorite classic, Dickens 'Tale of two Cities' is a masterful weave of many different POVs. They come together like an orchestra piece (like Dune).

The 'strictly stick to a single POV'  guideline' is a modern invention. A safety net.  It has been defined for the $50 Creative Writing for Dummies courses. It is like the other 'rules' that ban the use of adjectives, the word 'suddenly'  and long sentences etc.

It is designed to get the untrained writer up and running quickly and simply because unstructured, (unintentional) confusing 'head popping' POV switches are a common trait of the novice author. The rule is imposed for early-learning purposes to instill clear and structured prose before the functional etiquette of a POV within creative writing can be fully understood and mastered... like the correct employment of adjectives and long-sentences.

That old adage, 'you need to learn the rules before you can break the rules' applies here.

Walt Dickens

Scrooge McDuck

Digesting the above and the Battle of Alamance. Wow!
Everywhere you look in history there are such great stories; all the better when there is vested interest. This sparked the revolution.

Why am I not surprised that the revolution was your fault?  smile

And there was me assuming that it was N. Korea behind all the shenanigans and disruption on the Internet. I forgot about the day when you took the wild world web down to it's knees! xx

dagnee wrote:

I can access a person's profile who've blocked me. I've done in twice with two different people. BUT when I tried to access a third, it said: This member's profile is private.

I think I know why. If you go to your profile settings you'll find a box that says: Make my profile page visible to: and a drop down menu with two options: Everyone or Only to logged in users that are not blocked.

Your 'troll' must have picked that option and that is why you can not block them.

I don't know if that's a loophole or not.


Sounds logical. Thanks.

Although the persons profile is blocked to me and marked "Private" I still get presented with the profile mugshot of said person, which strikes me as not very 'Private'; also disconcerting in terms of imagery.


(24 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

I use Tinder. But mainly for research.

SolN wrote:

OK. We'll look into the block functionality.

Thanks SolN.

corra wrote:

Well, sir. You are most inconsistent. I clearly recall you comparing me to one of these in the recent past. If I'm a hobbit now, I feel tall! And tidy! cool

I'm getting to the age and condition where I can't remember what specific insults I've issued to whom. I'm sorry corra, of course you are a Troll. What was I thinking, you are Troll royalty. Queen of Trolls. wink