Peer Review by Sofia Miller (United States)

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By: she’s-got-a-story

Martin from French IV stands like a stalactite. Why are we on the ceiling of my old bedroom? The last time I saw him or that house was sophomore year, but we're here, right-side-down and together, just left of the ceiling fan. 
"Are you St. Peter?" 
"I'm afraid of heights."
This isn't height; it's descent. I'm sure, now. Soon the room will start to melt upwards, and I will wake in sterility sans Martin. Unless those purple-curtained windows really are the Gates. 
"Martin, If I jump out, will I fall up or down?"
"Down, into the sky."

Peer Review

The title! I never took French (so I didn't recognize it as French immediately), but the word in another language drew me in, especially since it was still enough of a cognate to be recognizable in English.

You introduced small details that exposed some of the background pretty subtly. For instance, when you mentioned "The last time I saw him or that house was sophomore year....", you clued us into a piece of the narrator's past: we can now infer that the narrator has moved, and probably far enough to switch schools since they haven't seen Martin since sophomore year either.

The last line also suggests a really interesting idea to the reader: that whatever force is holding these characters up on ceiling also applies to the rest of the world, which is really thought-provoking and a nice way to leave your readers curious while also sprinkling in a piece of worldbuilding!

One line did just leave me a little more confused than curious: "Unless those purple-curtained windows really are the Gates." These Gates are only mentioned once, and then are never elaborated on. Given the mention of St. Peter earlier, are you referring to Gates of Heaven/Hell? I think tying a Christian element to this piece is interesting and adds a layer to the story, but I'd love to see you flesh out this aspect a bit more :).

I enjoyed reading this piece so much!! It offers an interesting perspective on the world around us (literally), and you kept my attention throughout the entire piece! Writing under such a tight word constraint is a pretty difficult challenge, but I'm so glad you took the challenge! As you continue to draft and find areas of the story you want to elaborate on, some other parts might have to be to stay under the word limit :(. But with such a tight word limit, in this way, you'll find the heart of your story, the message that you want to tell most. That might mean having to restructure your story a bit as you continue to revise, but that's all part of the process! And it'll just make an already strong piece even stronger :)

Reviewer Comments

This really is a strong piece. I can't wait to see the final draft, as well as what else you decide to create in the future! Best of luck to you in this contest, and whatever endeavors you undertake in the future!