Peer Review by seaomelette (United Arab Emirates)

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A Sea of Blackness

By: Writing4Life


PROMPT: Cli-Fi

I sit on the beach, my feet burrowing into the greasy sand. The long stretch of sand, once yellow and clean, is now covered in a thick, black layer of grime. The ocean is no longer a cool blue, but a dark, filthy shade of grey. I stand up, brushing off the sand, yet the black oil stays on my clothes, sinking into the cloth. I walk to the water's edge and dip my feet in the liquid. The oil swirls around my feet, and I watch a small fish slowly swimming through the darkness. Its scales glint dully in the sun's light, and its tail seems too tired to move itself anymore. Perhaps it wishes it had never been born. Most of us wish that now. I wistfully stare at the ocean, wishing I could have seen it with bright blue waves swirling towards shore, gently washing over the sand, cleansing all that lay beneath. I wish I could have seen it once, just once. My fingers trail through the slimy fluid, and I watch as the water follows my fingers. Crows circle above me, cawing loudly. I look up at them, tiny and black against the greying sun. They stare down at me, a small, insignificant dot surrounded by a sea of blackness that we created.


Message to Readers

I just went to the beach today, (learning how to surf, whoo!) and that inspired this piece. It was a bit of a cloudy day, but even with the tall waves and grey water, it was still so beautiful.


Peer Review

While sci-fi can be super scary (check out Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man), in a way, cli-fi can be even scarier. I mean, some of the things cli-fi points to are already happening in our world, and that's terrifying.

I feel that you really captured that essence of shock, worry, and desolateness in this piece. I loved the title! It snatched my attention (and imaginary wig) right away. We always think of the sea as being blue and beautiful, and a black sea makes for an eerie, unsettling image. I also really loved your descriptions! They were vivid and gripping.


I don't think any additional detail is necessary - I was able to understand the story, and even imagine myself on the gray beach with the narrator! If you do plan on revising this piece again, however, I think it would be awesome if you could expand the progression of the story a little more. For instance, consider trimming the narrator's movement (standing up, trailing her fingers through the sea) and adding a little more back story (maybe snapshots from the past, a community elder who remembers a blue sea?). If you like, you could also consider spicing up your sentence structure to make your descriptions even more powerful. I could be too nitpicky here, and I understand the 300-word limit, but varying sentence length (i.e. short, long, short, long, long) and adjective placement can make an enormous difference in flow and structure. It's really up to you though, and if you aren't planning to revise this piece, feel free to ignore these suggestions.


Reviewer Comments

Keep up the amazing writing! And I wish you all the best with your surfing endeavors :D