Peer Review by parachutes (Canada)

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The Woodland Forest

By: Aquila

    The Woodland Forest was an infamous place.
    Yet, I still walked through it, ignoring the “Beware!” and “Wolves Ahead!” sign. As soon as I crossed the iron wrought gate topped with a vine-covered stone arch, I found myself on a winding dirt path, damp with morning rain. 
    The dampness was in the air, and moistened my cheeks, until I felt I was completely doused in water, head to toe.
    The trees around me were green with life, foliage thick and flourishing. Colorful flowers sparkled like jewels with morning dew, and dotted the green grass, like sprinkles on a cupcake. The grass was slick with moisture and the damp turf underneath, bouncy. 
    The sky was overcast, a steel-gray color. The wind had a cold bite to it, but it wasn’t freezing. Just the way I liked it.
    A gentle wind rocked the trees in a sigh, as if all the worries of the world were gone. The soft breeze tickled the tips of my hair.
     It was like there was nothing odd about this forest. As if nothing had ever happened here.
    The silence surrounding me wasn’t deafening, but rather comforting. Morning birds called out to each other, and leaves rusted in the trees. What did I have to fear? All those who had grudges against my family were long gone. 
    I loosened my giant red cloak, which looked outrageous on me, a garment obviously three inches too long on my small frame. The wind blew the cloak around me, as I fiddled with the silver clasps, an addition that I had made to finally, finally have another color than red on the cloak.
    Everybody expected me to be just like by great-grandmother, Red Woodland. I often wondered how my great-grandmother, wore this cloak and went to her Grandmother’s house. It must have been far too big for her.
    Most people know Red’s story. 
    Little Red Riding Hood, the small eight year old girl, (she was actually nine), walked through a dense forest, (the trees in these woods aren’t that close together), and met the Big Bad Wolf, (who, to many protests and gasps, did not exist). The Wolf tricked her and ate her and her Grandmother. The brave woodcutter, (yeah right), rescued them, (he was the biggest coward who ever lived), and killed the wolf. He was a savior! 
    The story had changed so much from person to person, that the truth in the story was barely recognizable, but I knew the truth. The whole truth. 
    And that was part of the reason that I was even inside this infamous forest. Why, if it wasn’t for the “good” woodcutter, Red wouldn’t even have lived.
    That was what the world thought.
    It was all a lie,
    An attempt for a guilty man to make last efforts to save himself from being imprisoned. My family, the Woodlands, knew the truth. 

    Once a shapeshifter named Clarissa, lived in the Geode Lands, where the cliffs were tall and the shore low, on the easternmost side of our continent. One day she stumbled upon a golden box, hidden inside a cave. The box entitled the holder to fifteen wishes, (I still don’t understand what the obsession is with three wishes). 
    She planned to bring the box to Princess Topaz, ruler of the Geode Lands, who didn’t want the magic to fall into the wrong hands. 
    Along the treacherous path, she met a young man and his ill sister. He had nothing but an axe, which he claimed was a family heirloom, and he was loath to sell it for money. Feeling pity and sorrow for the siblings, she used one wish to give them a better life and heal his sister. The young man, realizing the powers of the legendary box, stole it from her and ran away, to give it to his king, who lived on the westernmost side of the continent, in the Laere Lands. 
    He managed to get away from her, but her mark remained upon the box, and the box stayed loyal to Clarissa. Unable to open the box and use one wish to get to the Laere Lands, he had to run on foot.   
    Clarissa chased the young man, hoping to get the box back and return it to Princess Topaz, the rightful owner. 
    The young man, named Anvil, managed to cross the Boughian Lands, the country between the Geode and Laere Lands, and hide in this very forest, called the Autumn Forest back then, for its magnificent fall colors.  
    Anvil hid himself in a small abandoned hut and waited for Clarissa to arrive. But, Clarissa was clever. Anvil would recognize her, so she shapeshifted into a wolf.
    She camouflaged into the shadowy forest and approached the hut, and she attacked Anvil. His fear of wolves was so great that he droppped the box and Clarissa seized it. As soon as she got the box, she fled and shapeshifted back to human form once she had run a great deal away from the hut.
    But Anvil had seen her.
    When she rested in a oak grove, he sneaked up on her, in her wolf form, (it had been a chilly night), and trapped her inside a net. Anvil brought her back to the abandoned hut and demanded for the box, threatening to hurt her if she didn’t. 
    That’s where Little Red Riding Hood came in to the story.
    She had been skipping through the woods. As she walked she heard yelling, growling and the sound of metal striking metal. Leaving the safety of the path, Red ran through the trees until she found herself in front of a broken cottage, where a man holding a glinting axe was preparing to swing the blade towards a wolf. 
    “Stop!” she had screamed, taking a small dagger and waving it around wildly.
    Anvil had realized that the altercation had been heard and had fled. The coward ran away from an eight-year-old girl! Red had saved Clarissa!
    As a tradition in the Geode Lands, a savior is rewarded with a prized possession. Clarissa had nothing but the box, which she gave to Red. 
    Anvil fled and told everybody in the Laere Lands that he had been deceived and had spun the tale of saving Little Red Riding Hood from the Big Bad Wolf, by hearing rumors and snippets of what truly happened. The truth of what happened and the tale he spun were similar enough, but each painted Anvil in a very different light.
     Thus, he saved himself from prosecution in the Boughian Lands and the king’s wrath in the Laere Lands. The king, (Anvil’s brother), coincidentally, also had a deep fear of wolves.

    That was a century ago. 
    After her encounter with Anvil and Clarissa, many years passed before Red had had a daughter, who she named Red the Second. Grandmother had Red the Third, my mother. 
    And I was Celine.
    It set me apart. It made me feel different. That was all that mattered.
    I hated being told that I would be just like Red the First. I hated having to wear this ridiculous cloak, our family heirloom.
    Who wants to be known as Little Red Riding Hood’s great-granddaughter?
    Some people even went as far as to call me Red the Fourth.
     All I wanted was to be seen as something different. To be remembered for who I was, not what my great-grandmother did, (or rather didn’t do), over a century ago.
    Who wants to be known for “surviving” meeting the Big Bad Wolf?
    Not me.
    Wallowing in my self pity, I slowed down, so I wouldn’t have to go my Grandmother’s mansion.
    The clouds rumbled overhead ominously and the woods were plunged into shadows as the sun disappeared behind gray clouds. I began to walk faster towards Grandmother’s house, not noticing the glowing emerald eyes in a patch of shadow to my right. 

I wrote this story from the perspective of Little Red Riding Hood’s great-granddaughter. I hope you enjoy this story! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Message to Readers

Constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated! I hope you enjoy reading my piece!

Peer Review

You put an excellent spin on this classic fairy tale. I thoroughly enjoyed how you incorporated princesses and shapeshifters; it added character.

I feel like you could expand more on this story, and dive deeper into the “true story” of little red riding hood. I am yearning to learn more about Clarissa, Anvil, and could maybe use this as a guide to write a short series of stories!

No, I felt like everything was consistent and explained in depth.

This is a really good start to something that is amazing. I feel like your details are excellent, the plot line is logical, and all in all, it’s really quite lovely. There are a few spots with grammatical errors, as well as spots were the wording isn’t quite right, so I would suggest reading it aloud to yourself, and fixing spots as you see fit.

Reviewer Comments

I would love to see this as a series. Great job!