Peer Review by David M. (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?


By: tiredwriter

After stumbling through the dense forests, losing your footing as you cross countless rivers, and fumbling with your courage to press on in your journey to wherever it is supposed to lead you, look to the mountains; then look higher. Crane your neck to the point you feel your head attempt to detach, for only then will you notice that there, nestled among the towering mountains, rests a city that glows with such intensity, for a moment you forget about the fatigue creeping up your legs.

The aching returns as you find yourself ambling towards the brightness.

There's a pulsating that pounds underneath the dirt. You wait for the city to become louder as you approach, but no increase in sound ever reaches your ears, only a distinct feeling that there is life up ahead.

You pull yourself up my the elbows and rise to your feet. The sun is beginning to sink towards the ground behind you now, you can feel its warmth on your back, but that doesn't really hit you in the moment, because in this moment, you are staring at a city sculpted from amber.

There is no other explanation. Every building, every house and shack, as far as you can tell, was painstakingly constructed from the resin of the forests down below. The smoothness of every wall reinforces your use of the word "painstakingly;" there is nary a crack or area that doesn't shine as evenly as the rest of the surface among this craft someone decided to pour their devotion into.

No one walks along the dirt paths that are offered through the city. It appears that every citizen has resided to their home.

While you can't see people, you can see their bodies through the amber walls.

Everywhere you look, there is an undeniable presence of people. People dance together, twirling around the room slowly; people who must be children, with their fluid motion and short statures, run across the room and fling their entire being at a crouching figure.

All around you, there is life. All around you, there is no sound.

That is what drives you to head back down the mountain and be embraced by the forests that witnessed your feat. You know that beyond those walls, you would be able to hear many things: laughter, talk, gentle sighs. But you decide to leave, because if you return and the city is still there, shining bright among the mountains, then that will be worth the risk of the city fading out of existence, even though you can feel in your hollow stomach that a living organism as radiant as this city would find difficulty in disappearing.

You walk away, but turn around in time to note that when the sun sets, the entire city looks set ablaze.

And thus the city of Elaria remains burned into your mind, even after darkness has thrown itself across the sky, like a blanket molding to the body of a slumbering child.

Message to Readers

If there's a better way I could be setting the scene, please let me know and I'll give it a shot

Peer Review

There is really one primary description, that the city is made of amber. It's really a gorgeous image... imagining the blurred shape of people moving behind the flawless glowing walls of an entire city.

Very wistful. It's a city focused on beauty that is remote and hard to reach and somehow preserved. Things get preserved in amber... and the main point of this city seems to be to preserve its own beauty.

Why does it exist? How does it exist? Who made it? Why doesn't the main character try to enter? What is it like to live there?

Reviewer Comments

This is a really cool image! The whole piece seems dedicated to delivering one image, that of a city shaped of amber. And the second-person narrative is a cool device for delivering that. That said, there isn't very much narrative. This isn't surprising; it's a piece focused on image. But if you're going to have so much narrative framing one image, I think you need some more detail, some more description, some more images and perspectives of this city made of amber. I marked some spots where I think you could use more imagery as well as some grammar and phrasing things. But overall, you've imagined a very cool image and delivered it well with some very cool imagery!