Peer Review by Dmoral (United States)

Below, you'll see any text that was highlighted with comments from the reviewer.

Tap on comment to view. Using a mouse?

Hover over comments to view. On a touch device?

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 depths of the innumerable yagha in our land, lakes that formed in the hollow craters of perished volcanoes. but the fire of the xarae is all but dead, for it comes, as the tales say, from within their souls.

they are not 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 just 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.

‚Äčlying down on the soft green grass in the evenings, i still like to imagine her flying in the heavens with the xarae, gliding in and out of the clouds; graceful, elegant, free.

Message to Readers

Republishing for prompt 1 of HelpMe512's #Helpme2020 contest as well as The Great Gabs-by's contest. Go check them out!

Feedback. Please.

Peer Review

Okay, so I definitely see the potential here for a full-on series. Your descriptions are godly, from the imagery you use to describe the world to the metaphors written to help readers better understand what's happening. Simply, outstanding work. I enjoy the mystery you have regarding the "what happen to the mother" and the 'truth' (if you will) of the "xarae". It's amazing how you immediately thrust the reader into your world and make it so they instantly understand enough of the myths/legends to get an idea, but not know too much where they get bored. What I'm saying is, you did amazing about letting the readers know what they need to know but also keeping secrets and mysteries to keep them interested.

I highlighted a few ideas where you could expand. But one main thing I noticed where some highlights tie back to is the culture. In your stories, as your world build, you also have to create a culture for the people. Here, you tactical one big part of the culture: beliefs. However, you could also add more, like their names and symbolism. (Now, you can also borrow this from other languages, it doesn't have to be 100% made up.) Another place you could dive further into, is the part where you said the xarae are keeping the mother to themselves. I think this concept, but I feel as though it needs a little more detail. Like is this normal-do they often 'take' mothers and that's why the child would quick to believe? Or was this new and something never happened before, therefore pulls into question is her mother a goddess or of some special importance?

Reviewer Comments

So, I enjoyed this piece a lot and would definitely read more if you continued writing. I liked the way you talked, your diction lovely and you used 1st person perspective brilliantly. Also, this was like a childish tale with listens to learn but also a fantasy novella worth reading because it's so magical. Best wishes! And keep writing!