Peer Review by The Great Gabs-by (Singapore)

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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 love your writing style and your emgagement of the reader through this storytelling tone. Your tone treats the reader as a general audience and therefore, you're able to explain allusions more precisely and with a mystical air. It's enigmatic and interesting. The end is also a little poignant but hopeful at the same time and can really tear the reader in both directions which is absolutely powerful. This would be the strongest point in your piece.

In my opinion, barely anything is lacking here. The imagery and diction are all intentional and sophisticated. Everything flows naturally through the piece and there are no gaps in understanding when I read it.

Reviewer Comments

This piece is packed with allusions and bits of engaging storytelling which is so prominent in your writing style and makes the reader interested and invested in the story. You are able to strike such a good balance between hope and poignancy that it has the ability to pull the reader in both directions at the same time, wanting more from it. I think you have a wonderful writing style that is truly difficult to achieve! Can't wait to read more of your works!!:))

P.S. Sorry for such a late review and I hope you don't mind!