Below, you'll see any text that was highlighted with comments from the reviewer.
Message to Readers
description and content and a little advice on vocabulary usage.
I really liked the content and the message of the story. I think that sometimes we need reminders that all of us have skeletons in our closets. Obviously, this is quite a personal subject for you, and I appreciate that you shared the story with us very much. I was moved by your descriptions of your campmates' struggles contrasted with their positive exteriors.
The part I could identify with the most was when you described how you shared your story, heard others', and for the first time, felt accepted and understood. It's a truly amazing experience to know that you're not alone and to know that you will always have support behind you.
I feel like the scene vs. reflection balance is mostly consistent throughout the story, except for the final paragraph where it's too reflection-heavy. The balance is well-executed in the third/main paragraph, but perhaps a touch more reflection is needed in the second paragraph.
I like how you added a resolution to your remarkable and poignant story and how you told the reader what you'd learned from the experience instead of just describing the scenes. However, I feel as if it's too much of a closure or too much of a dive into your thoughts, so to speak; if this makes sense at all, it seems as if you're emphasizing too much that it was the ending. It's the old show not tell cliché, but I think it would be really powerful if you can SHOW what you learned--by picking a situation that illustrates how you've changed or something similar--instead of straightforwardly telling us what you've gained.
I mostly commented on the writing instead of the content in my line editing, but I just wanted to let you know that I really liked your story. You have a piece with so much potential here. My main concern is fluidity--how you put your words and sentences together. I know this isn't your final draft, but when you do write your final, I'd read everything aloud to identify awkward phrasing or sentence structure and just to see if everything flows. On the other hand, I appreciate how you included details only pertinent to the piece and didn't dump excessive information/descriptions on the readers, a very easy pit for writers like us to fall into. The expository thread is very clear and it was great how you first gave us context for the "Story of Self" and then delved into the tale itself. However, even though your story works well chronologically, I'd urge you to experiment a little and create a more complex structure (flashbacks, flash forwards, etc.) Also, I noticed that you wanted advice on vocabulary/word-choice and I did find a few misused/repeated phrases in this story. To vary your word-choice, I think your best bet would be to use a thesaurus or to scribble down clever turn-of-phrases that you read. One last piece of advice--something that I've always found helpful is to keep a story as concise and vivid as possible by cutting out or replacing linking verbs and other expletives. Overall though, I think it's incredible that you managed to tell a fully developed story under 1000 words and not leave the reader hanging for more details or frustrated by the abundance of details. I was gripped from the start when you mentioned "Story of Self" and I'm so glad I read right to the end.
Thank you so much again for sharing this piece; reading this story was an eye-opening experience (yep. cliche!) for me. Good job and keep on writing!
P.S. Sorry, I didn't see that you had submitted a newer version of this, but I hope that my comments will be helpful for a future work!