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12/30/2010 c1 6The Saturday Storytellers
You, me. Okay, then. Let's see what this one's about!

I wonder if 'silver cool' should be hyphenated. It feels like it to me, but that's your choice, of course.

The word 'delicate' comes up twice in a short space of time, so perhaps another word needs to replace one of those? Again, just a thought.

At the end of this scene I'm not quite sure what the narrator means by 'younger, and tougher'. Than what? I just feel the need for a bit more information, there. Something more to latch onto, some feeling common between myself and the narrator.

"There's one: a silky cloth twisting around the waist, the final length drapes around the shoulder. It's a sari, I realise, as the girl's midriff and belly button is exposed. In front, I catch sight of furry animal skin bundling a younger girl. Eskimo?" Again, I feel there's a need for longer description, here. It's good, but it's over too soon.

"My feet came to a halt. It is impossible.

Improbable."

I see what's happening here between 'impossible' and 'improbable': a shift in thought about the possibility and likelihood of something. And that's a sweet little tactic you've used. I'd like to see more... how can I say? Nuance to it. Perhaps a bit of telling the self off for calling the green sailor suit impossible when of course it isn't. Like someone says in Hitchiker's Guide, it's just very, very improbable.

I'd like to see just a little more of the significance of this uniform and what it means to the narrator laid bare. At the moment, I can see *that* the uniform has great meaning for the narrator - that it means the wearer and she have something in common - but it's still being kept just a teensy bit too much under wraps, so as the reader, I'm having to take the narrator's word for how interesting this piece of information is.

"Not only my country, not only city, but even the same district, even the same town!" This sentence seems to be zooming in: country, city, district. But then it zooms back out a bit by saying 'town'. May I suggest that district and town are swapped, or is this deliberately done the way it is?

"What I would give, to talk to her right now." I'm unclear what's stopping the narrator.

"A 6th former stuck her head into our locker bay." And this sentence contains a change of tense, which doesn't seem to fit into the scene.

"There. I spot the uniform from miles away..." Should I be reading this as later on, perhaps at lunch time? I'm guessing so, but it would be nice to have a bit more build up, because we have launched straight into the uniform obsession thing without actually having had a break from it. If the uniform signifies so much and represents such a punchy concept, one thing that would help here would be a peak and trough routine: give us some information about the uniform the first time the narrator sees it, let us focus on other things (the lunch hall, perhaps) and then have the narrator see, and focus, on the uniform again.

"It's because they don't understand, what we've been through, together. Like soldiers in the army: the incredible bond between us." Is whatever makes the bond still a secret, or is the fact that boys are essentially afforded more attention as humans, as individuals, part of what the narrator and the sailor-suit girl have in common?

"...their forearms bulging with sinewy." This needs to be either, 'bulging with sinews' or 'bulging and sinewy'.

Mushroom? Unusual name, if I may say so!

"We turned towards him, dumbfounded. He averts our eyes." To avert one's eyes is to look away. A person can only avert their own eyes, not another person's, as far as I am aware.

Tell you what, though, I get the impression he just owned up for something he didn't do, just to protect the rest of the class. Am I right?

"For some, it is the stereotypes. Kiwi for New Zealand, kangaroo for Australia, Eiffel tower for Franceā€¦ " When you said stereotypes and then mentioned Kiwis in NZ, I thought you were referring to the fact that the people are sometimes referred to as Kiwis. As such, this might be considered a stereotype. But Kiwis are also the New Zealanders' national bird, so when you went on to mention the kangaroo for Oz, and the Eiffel tower, I realised that perhaps you meant national icons, which is a different thing from a national stereotype.

All through this, I'm feeling that I need a bit more scene-setting. I'm not sure if you're keeping this story abstract deliberately, so it is of course your choice to do so and perhaps I'm just misunderstanding the way you wish to present it, but if you want a full-feeling story, then I'd say it needs more scenery.

I've just realised that I'm unclear whether the narrator is male or female. They could be either. Is that deliberate?

"If you tug an arrow from a dying man's heart, and patch it up, could the heart beat again?" This is very pretty, very philosophical.

Hmm. I'm not sure I understand the last scene here. So the narrator saw herself? (And here, I'm guessing the narrator is in fact female)? Is this some comment on the lack of identity given to female Orientals, that the narrator has virtually had an out of body experience because she feels so detached from the, well, *lack* of identity?

That's what I'm going to take as I leave this story, but if that's the right way to understand this story then I feel it needs to be more strongly defined.

Thanks for an interesting read, though!

- From We Return Reviews.
12/18/2010 c1 63RedactedNoLongerWriting
Striding into the gate of the school, I ignore the kids coming in by my sides.

-From the descriptions that follow, it seems like she's paying more attention to them than 'ignore' implies.

...others already standing shift their positions to relieve our already tender skin.

-I understood this, but the two 'already's made this part of the sentence a little awkward and hard to follow. It's not that important to say they're already standing, so you might consider omitting 'already standing'.

Standing under the sun for hours, smearing our faces with charcoal, pushups, situps, laps...

-You should probably say 'doing pushups, situps, laps'. The way it is now, it reads like they smeared their faces with charcoal, pushups, etc.

He averts our eyes.

-'We avert our eyes' or 'he averts his eyes'. He can't avert their eyes. Unless you meant 'avoids'?

Relationships:

I loved toward the end when the narrator was outraged on behalf of the girl she thought was from her school. "We defended not ourselves, but the person beside us. It was not I. But we." The camaraderie is a powerful and important feeling in this story and you conveyed it so well. I could really feel the emotion at that part and throughout the story.

Scene:

The flashbacks were a little hit-or-miss for me. The first one was somewhat confusing at times. It might just be because the situation is so strange, but I had trouble understanding at first what they were doing. All the details about the water and how they shared it were great, but I needed a little more of a hint before that flashback that things were pretty rough for the students. I did, however, truly enjoy the flashback about Jay's unwarranted punishment. The mix of betrayal by the school and Jay's sacrifice for his class was wonderfully handled.

Pace/Plot:

This felt a little rushed toward the end. The beginning (before she sees the girl) is slow, detailed, and her fascination with the girl has a similar build. The last part, though, where she's walking home, was an abrupt shift. I felt like I had missed something at that point (particularly when 'logic worms its way into me'; I expected and very much wanted a confrontation about this fury the teacher inspired but it was dismissed offhand), and then the girl simply vanished/was the narrator. BAM! Over! The last scene could benefit from just a little more detail. Perhaps describe a little more what the narrator saw.

Enjoyment:

I liked this. It had some nice descriptions and the way the group stuck together was inspiring. I was a little confused about how it all came together with the narrator seeing herself (did the teacher call the narrator out and she was picturing this injustice happening to the other girl as a reaction? was the girl just the narrator's way of facing her memories? something else?), but I think it can be a great piece with just a little clarification about that last point.

This freebie depth review was given at sophiesix's request. :)
12/11/2010 c1 12lianoid
It's a sari, I realise, as the girl's midriff and belly button is exposed.

-Edit?: Should "is" be "are"?

What I would give, to talk to her right now.

-Edit: I don't think the comma after "give" is necessary.

"Come here man." Jay strides forward and grabs Mushroom

-Edit: Comma after "here".

I really enjoyed the flashbacks, which was a pleasant surprise since I'm normally rather weary of them. The piece is solid as a whole, but I feel like I'm missing something. D: I liked the focus on the uniform and the group dynamic, but I don't think I have a good grasp of the setting and politics. Blame it on the word limit and my tired mind, of course, so no stress; I think this piece was really great. Best of luck in this final WCC of 2010!
12/11/2010 c1 30sophiesix
Man, I can still feel that sunburn by proxy: the back of my neck is raw and glowing! an exploration of identity and two portayals of the way teh more powerful can take away your freedom, though one did it in a way that also let you gain fraternity, and the other did it in a way that just cut you down. Love this.
12/11/2010 c1 21Sercus Kaynine
Loved the emotional way the character went through the story. She was tugging on my heartstrings the entire way. Cool reveal at the end, even though I wasn't precisely sure what had happened I knew it meant something to the narrator.

Also like the flashbacks. Very hardcore. Man, the certainly sounds like something that would bind people together through thick or thin.

Good job and good luck in WCC!
12/7/2010 c1 Collen for the Review Game
Opening: The opening hooked me in, because it left me wondering, "Why does the uniform have a number on it?"

Scene: The flashbacks were interesting, as they were a way of explaining things, but making sense while explaining them, and not in the middle of something else.

Dialogue: As I mentioned before, the 2-3rd flashbacks sorta came without warning, and afterwords the main character didn't say anything about them. It felt like a big-lipped alligator moment, if you know what I mean.

Characters: You gave good explanation about what the girl was feeling, like her overwhelming curiosity about this other girl in her uniform.

Relationships: The girl's conversation with Jay sounded like it could really happen, and it showed something about the girl's personality.

Writing: In this category, I have to say that the writing was a little confusing, like the end, where she says this:

"It is I who wears the uniform."

I don't really get that, because the other girl talked to the teacher, and the teacher talked to her- What happened there?

Spelling/Grammar: As for spelling and grammar, there was this sentence:

"Hurt her as she did us."

I think it could be rephrased as: "how I wanted to report the teacher to the principal, to hurt her as she did to us."

But I'm not sure if that's a UK thing or what.

Enjoyment: Well, I read on because I was curious. I enjoyed it a bit, but I was washed out with all the confusing sentences in the story.

Plot: As for the plot, it didn't feel like a plot, more like a girl telling us about her life. While that's fine, since it was written very well, I'd like to see the idea put into a real story, with a problem and a solution.

Pace: The pace was fine, although in some places it seems to go too fast. To fix this, you could add some description to the places the girl goes, like the classroom and the hallways.

Techniques: The way you wrote this story is a way I haven't seen before, and I have to say, it's a mixed bag. As I've said many times in this review, some parts were too confusing, and some parts were too fast. You should iron out areas like describing things.

Ending: The ending felt awkward, as if it shouldn't be the end.

It did close the mystery of who this girl was, but maybe you could explain what happened with reporting the teacher to the principal.

Other: Explanation, descriptions, they're all things that would make reading this story easier to read. If these things were added, I'd like the story so much more.

~Collen (for the Review Game)
12/7/2010 c1 8Adrenalin
Sounds really depressing to be a kid studying in Taiwan!

I liked the idea of the mirror image (well, the other kid running around in the same uniform then realizing it's herself) but why did your character saw it? Is she mad? Is it something supernatural? I didn't really understand.

Other than that I really liked the piece. It's well written and the flow is just right to give the impression of a dream (the flashbacks help).

Good luck in the WCC!
12/6/2010 c1 2Collen
This is a nice short story. It really says something about the girl's school. I'd HATE to go to a school like that. Anyway, something I have to say is that some parts are confusing, like, the second and third flashbacks: when did they happen?

But, I will give you props for the ending.

It made me go back and read it again.

All in all, a good read, but it would be better if it was a little less confusing.
12/5/2010 c1 8Kobra Kid
I love the idea about the uniforms. It's really creative & original. :) Your writing is splendid, as always, but I found the flashback's dialogue a little weird. Just a quick look over it would fix it. :D. Great job on this!

-Kobra Kid
12/4/2010 c1 13blurrylights
I like the idea and the flashback, but I feel like the execution left a lot to be desired. The conversation was weird- was she imagining it or was she saying it herself?

Overall, nice writing but a little tweaking could go a far way.

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