Peer Review by efflorescence (United States)

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in and out of the clouds (revised) #Helpme2020 #MagicalRealism

By: Wicked!


FREE WRITING

my grandmother says that the Xarae are the children of fire and water. they live in the turquoise waters of the innumerable Yagha in our land, lakes that formed in the hollow craters of perished volcanoes, their fire all but dead.

they aren't what you'd call fierce, though they certainly look the part-- sharp claws, large wings, eyes as brilliant as molten gold and whip-like tails with tips that they can ignite in flames at will. as a child, i used to lie down on the soft green grass in the evenings, looking up at the flocks of Xarae gliding in and out of the clouds, their lithe legs folded up under their golden bellies. sometimes i used to imagine myself flying with them, graceful, elegant, free.

my people consider the Xarae auspicious, and it is believed that if a woman heavy with child sees her belly's reflection in the golden eyes of a Xarae, her child will be as beautiful and elegant as one. many make the arduous journey to a Yagha, hoping to see a Xarae up close, hoping for a child as perfect. when she was heavy for the second time, my mother did too. before leaving, she had told me that within a month she would have a small baby, soft and supple, with whom i could play all the time. but she never returned.

grandmother told me that the Xarae loved her so much that they kept her to themselves. when i said that i loved her more, grandmother went silent. other people said that she was blessed by the Xarae. but i think that going to a volcano whose fire had died made the fire inside her die too.

but, lying down on the soft green grass in the evenings, i like to imagine her flying in the heavens with the Xarae, gliding in and out of the clouds; graceful, elegant, free.
 

i think that i subconsciously modelled the Xarae after a Pokemon. i'm not sure though; i used to watch Pokemon on TV more than ten years ago lmao. if you know about this, please let me know so that i can change it if need be.

Message to Readers

This is for DaBolo's #hybrid contest and amohn04's #tellastory contest. Go check them out!

Feedback is greatly appreciated. I don't mind harsh criticism at all, so be brutally honest :)


Peer Review

You used beautiful imagery throughout the entire piece. Even though you're describing a fictional land, I was able to envision the environment. Little details, such as the way the narrator likes to watch the Xarae and the superstition surrounding the creatures and childbirth, give a human aspect to the world. Some of my favorite lines are when you say, "...lakes that formed in the hollow craters of perished volcanoes, their fire all but dead" and "...looking up at the flocks of Xarae gliding in and out of the clouds, their lithe legs folded up under their golden bellies".


Overall, I think you did a great job of weaving this world together, from the minor details to the geography and lore. Even so, I think the third paragraph could use a little tightening. I think the main issue is the transition, which should be easy to fix. The paragraph starts by explaining the tradition of seeking a Xarae when pregnant, but all of a sudden you jump back to the narrator reminiscing about their mother. To fix this, I think you should start a new paragraph when you mention the narrator's mother, and maybe add another sentence or two to ease the transition.


Reviewer Comments

I really enjoyed reading your piece! Even though this was for a prompt, you succeeded in creating an entire world around your creature. With the subtle characterization of the narrator and her family's history, I think you could very easily extend this idea into an entire story. Good luck in the contest!