Peer Review by Starflower (United States)

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

By: Wicked!


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

I think that the whole piece is beautiful. You have really nice imagery and your descriptions are amazing.

I think you could add another layer of depth to this story by showing more about the Xarae and what they are like. I'm interested to know why they live in lakes and also have wings. You say they are the children of fire and water, but it kind of seems like they're also the children of the air or wind. I think you tell us enough about why they're the children of fire, but you could add some more details about why they're the children of water. Another thing you could possibly do is to tell us more about the feelings of the narrator. They lost their mother, but don't seem overly concerned about it. There are some beautiful lines at the end about this though, so overall it is very good.

Reviewer Comments

Since you're writing in the lowercase only style, it occurred to me that capitalizing "Xarae" and "Yagha" doesn't fit in with the general theme. I don't really know anything about the lowercase prose style, so maybe you have a reason for doing it this way. Anyway, I just thought it might make more sense if they weren't capitalized. Other than that, this is a wonderful piece, and you did a great job! :)