Peer Review by Ursa (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

Can I start with everything? This piece is like watching a tapestry being woven; slowly taking strands of fabric and turning them into a work of art. Your descriptions throughout the piece remind me of the old folktales that are basically forgotten, just a whisper of a time long ago.

I know I'm being really unhelpful, but I really don't see anywhere that could be improved, other than that one "but." I originally thought the beginning was a little weak, but that's only because the piece needed to build into its beauty, not jump into it.

Reviewer Comments

This piece is made of gorgeous imagery and description. I love the length (perfect for just a taste of a story), and I love how it builds and concludes so peacefully.

Gosh I feel so lame for not having any critiques. I'm usually really good at finding places for improvement, but I'm at a loss here.

Great job, and I hope to see more of your work on the site.
Happy writing!