Reviews for Grain of Sand
miragex chapter 1 . 12/13/2011
Haha! Really liked some of your descriptions, for example the part describing what the father packed, and the way you crafted the story from Katie's POV (like she's behaving like a kid, but the story has far more depth…lol hope you get what I mean) Anyway it's well done :D

I'm not very sure if the story's going to have an sequel, but I personally hope there'd be one XD…because I was expecting something out of the blue to happen and it just ended with "a few years later on the news…", it kinda felt abit rushed [lol or maybe I just read too much fantasy]

In addition, I really appreciate the note on Australian English before the story. To me [at least] it proved very helpful in understanding your story!

Hope it's useful!

PS: In event of multiple reviews and you need to return mine, and happen to go to the later chapters, please do refrain from commenting on grammar/format for ch 7 to 10, since I'm in the process of revising these areas for those chapters. Thanks!

miragex, The Review Game
mikey magee chapter 1 . 12/13/2011
"Aboriginal culture and geological artefacts" This might be a cultural thing, but Artefacts, should be "artifacts"

The one thing I've noticed while reading this was you overuse a lot of words. For example, "I scowled at my mother, as I stared out into the eerie depths of a ghostly white desert" A lot of those words aren't necessary and ruin the flow of the story. You could revise it to "I scowled as I stared out into the white desert."

"'Oh great, so what if I get bitten by a snake?' I demanded." You can just change "I demanded" to "I asked"

"In those days; Metallica didn't sue" I like the tongue in cheek humor here.

Small thing I want to point out, you use single quotation marks when writing dialog ('), but you should be using double quotation marks (") singles are only used when you're quoting something that's already in dialog. Ex: "Then she said 'I don't know'."

"I felt like Jesus Christ, walking on the surface of the ocean." I like this analogy. It's conjurs a very powerful image about how large the place is.

" I was overwhelmed with emotion about a loss of some kind" I like the idea here, but the execution left a little to be desired. Try to make the emotions she feels specific, instead of the vague feeling of "loss" try to think of a specific emotion to tie it all together. Ex "Forlorn settled upon me"

I liked the ending. I'm always a sucker for happy endings. I enjoyed reading this. Good work.
Ioga chapter 1 . 12/11/2011
Welcome back! I was just reading this earlier today and clapping my furry hands excitedly at a story themed to Australian wilderness. I like how the Mungo Lady ties into the name of the area and seeps through the story like that, and hah, I never would have guessed the prompt. It managed to pass by without mixing into the story too much - I'm sensing another independent narrative here. :)

The story being in I-form brought a couple of comments:

- "I had screamed back then" - seems to imply it was waaaay back then, but we never really pan forward to the far future except for a brief note how irritating the teenager being remembered must have been.

- "The disappointment on my face was tangible. Every undulation of my nine-year-old cheekbones was tinged with misery." The first note especially is a third-person sight, not a first-person note. If you make it be "I (had) made sure that the disappointment on my face was tangible," then the narrator is describing an intention they're aware of, or if it's obvious that she's imagining what she must have looked like. But certain data of what she looked like is something that she won't by default have.

Bore water - I'm starting to learn something new from this story too! But not entirely yet. Bore? As in drill a hole, or be boring?

I giggled at toilet paper and cholera epidemics. Thank you for the literally ****** mental image. :D

Had to look up 'agog' in a dictionary. It sounds like it must mean 'agape', given the context and since they're mouths, but I couldn't see why they'd be agape when he was just _starting_ to tell them stuff. I'm still a bit curious about how you can have a curious mouth, or is my dictionary being silly?

Also, you made Metallica play in my head in a way that I'm sure someone would like to come fine. I remember fondly how back in the day of C-cassettes, despite moans from the music industry on how capability for home recording would kill their market, it wasn't piracy at least in here to copy music for personal use - we paid an additional tax off the casettes exactly because it was completely legal. These days copying off the 'net has been made illegal even for private use ("unless it's from a legal source"), although we still pay these taxes for hard disks etc. Go figure!

(...)

Thanks for this!
Only an old bard chapter 1 . 12/11/2011
I really liked the imagery in this piece. It was very well done and it provided enough to know what was goin on and enough to leave the good parts to your imagination.

I didn't like the way you set up the plot of this. I felt as if it didn't really have any direction until about halfway through, and even at the end, it seemed sort of anti-climactic.
wisedec4u chapter 1 . 12/8/2011
This was very sweet. I loved how you were able to carry us 80s kids back in time with the little details, like recording on blank cassettes, reading about Metallica and New Kids on the Block. I certainly brought back some memories.

I like how you described tour and how the ranger spoke of the ancestors and how the children were taking from the mothers and forced not the speak their native language. All of which is similar to how Africans and Native Americans were treated here in the states when they were sold into bondage. I this was a very well written piece and I enjoyed it immensely.
Nesasio chapter 1 . 12/8/2011
Y'know, I hummed that song the entire time I reread this to review. *hums some more*

I love the characters in this piece. They're so relatable, like I was the main character, or could at least picture a time when I was just like her and could imagine being in that situation. I had so much nostalgia reading this.

I also really liked the history and culture you gave here. Even in so short a piece, you gave so much detail and information but it still felt like a story, not an infodump or anything. I wanted to learn more, wanted to ask Roy Charles some questions as if I was the main character, haha. It's all so fascinating.

Great job! Good luck in the WCC. :)
Stephanie M. Moore chapter 1 . 12/5/2011
"...this place is brimming with Aboriginal culture and geological artefacts."

I don't know if this is one of those cultural spelling differences, but you may have meant "artifacts."

I love the nostalgia in your narrator's voice. It's nice to listen to the way she reminisces, and some of the memories even make me smile. Cassette tapes, pirated music... who would have thought? The details of her childhood are a nice touch.

It seems like a such a surreal landscape you've described, and because of the memory, the entire scene seems like it's surrounded by this almost dream-like quality that really suits the landscape, especially when the woman appears. That's a chills-along-your-arm moment. It's so removed from what we consider a normal landscape- a desert that seems devoid of life.

This was a really nice piece. I said this before, but I like the way she views the past and her experience, and the way you interject her mature thoughts about an experience that she may not have completely understood at the time. It's a nice effect, and it seems like this was a transforming moment for her, when she learns about the Aboriginal people and her own.

Nice piece, Dragon. Good luck in the contest!
Inkspilled chapter 1 . 12/5/2011
Wow, I loved the nostalgic sense you put in here. The background and the narration even gave you the sense of being nine. I think you capture that time very well, and the factual accuracy in your story really helps create that atmosphere. All the little details really built it up, I especially liked the occurrence with her brother's Metallica song.

The part that I really loved, though, has to be the moment at the sand dunes. I feel like you really framed a significant and beautiful image there, and you really got the childish part of my mind interested. The idea and image of laying atop a sand dune is really something that's glued to my mind. Also, I liked the narrator's voice, both the past and present with an awareness on looking back.

I'm glad you put in the definitions of Australian slang, no matter how many times I hear it, I still can't get over thongs. Also, we use gross in Canada, too. Maybe in the States, too. Anyways, I really liked this, it was informative, nostalgic and engrossing. Nice job! :)
jinx1764 chapter 1 . 12/4/2011
I enjoyed this! Australia is on my top three list of countries I want to visit before I die. I've traveled all throughout North America, Canada, and the Islands, now it's time for me to get on the other side of the ocean. Your story reminded me of when I used to camp with my parents as a kid. Even the adolescent whining when things didn't meet my expectations, lol!

It's nice to look back on those days with fondness and even cringe a bit recalling how bratty I was too.

I really liked how your character experienced the magic and nature of the Outback, a place I would love see one day.

Edits:

You have sentences of dialogue in which you mistake them for tags. Remember: if it's an action after the dialogue, then period and capital (can they speak it/whisper/etc) A person can snarl and speak at the same time for example, therefore snarl is an action while speak is a tag.

['It'll be okay Katie,' my brother reassured me] period after Katie, Cap. 'My'

[Then finally, it clicked, 'Craig! Keys, now!'] period after clicked.

[As Craig dropped them into Dad's open hand with a sunken lower lip, Dad reassured him] This one needs to be rephrased. You have your modifying phrase 'with a sunken lower lip' after 'Dad's open hand' but it's supposed to refer to 'Craig'. The noun it's modifying is separated by another noun therefore at first read it seems to be implying that -Dad's open hand apparently has a sunken lower lip- which of course makes no sense. The it also has the wrong noun again following it, reenforcing this confusion.

['You wouldn't have gotten anywhere with them anyway, there's nothing for miles out here,] first comma should either be a semi-colon or a period since these are two independent clauses.

[Mary's in Adelaide,' Mum explained.] period after Adelaide. Explaining is an action.

[plenty of drinking water,' she assured me.] period after water, cap. 'she'

[even at that age I understood I] comma after age

['See that red one, that's mars,' Mum pointed out.] period after mars and Mars should be capitalized since it's a proper noun.

[I'm a Paakantji Elder,' the ranger began, to a circle of nine agog mouths.] period after Elder, cap. 'the'

[She'll be here soon,' The ranger said,] period after soon

Enjoyable read! Very enlightening about Mungo Lady and Man, and it is a terrible shame what indigenous peoples have endured on every continent. I'm glad they finally returned home.

Good luck!
Laoch chapter 1 . 12/4/2011
Another cool twist on the prompt :)

I liked how you set this in a place completely estranged from the idea of sirens; they exist with water not sand. It was different and intriguing and greatly enjoyable.

One thing that I found a little off was how... Broken up this seemed. To me, I feel as though all the parts could have been wound together with another line or two. But nice and the characters were believable and likeable as well.

Good luck in the WCC!

lazer
Dr. Self Destruct chapter 1 . 12/4/2011
Yay! I'm glad you were able to get your WCC in, mic or no mic. I'm always excited to read your entries because they're so different from all the others, and this one is no exception. I enjoy how you venture into the mind of a young girl, and she has such a cool family to boot. Craig was me favorite, especially how he was telling dirty jokes that Katie didn't understand and his father kept smacking him over the head, ahaha. xD This sounds a lot like my own family.

Loved that remark about how this was before Metallica sued people for pirating music. xD It's funny how that whole issue spanned the entire world, isn't it? Damn, I think I was in middle school around the time that happened... this really brings me back to the days where I used to sit in front of the radio and wait for a good song to come on so I could record it on my cassette player.

My, how things have changed.

The whole issue of the people killing the natives really makes me think about how the US handled the Native Americans. It's really sad how often stuff like that happened throughout history, and she's right when it's not something you learn in school. After all, history is written by the victors - I'm sure there are probably a lot of dark things hidden by both our societies.

I love Metallica, so I enjoyed how you included their lyrics. :D And how they also lead into the Mungo Lady's appearance. That line about going to never-never land really fit it perfectly there. If Katie weren't such a young girl, I'd almost think she was tripping at this point, haha.

I love didgeridoos, by the way. They sound so damn awesome.

Yay! Mungo Lady goes back to where she belongs. :)

Good luck in the WCC!