Judges Comments for Assignment # 1 Alien Landscape
A nifty idea, but it tried to reach too far. Simplify the story, and simplify the writing. The reader is pulled in too many directions.
After all of the fantasy (and the line what happened was unconvincing, which creates the notion of doubt in the readers mind) there are a couple of solid messages, but they do not have a foundation with substance.
There is a continuity problem, in that was what James read in Serenamind, but two paragraphs later, they are described as the words of James.
Beyond that, repeating the phrases so quickly tends to weaken the impact.
What I like:
The author has strong storytelling instincts. Theyve created a moral story with fable-like qualities in a very small space, and I think this needs to be applauded. We have a mentor figure, a dreamscape, a natural catalyst (the whirlpool) and an emotional engine (the fatal car accident). There is a clear journey and a clear narrative drive to the prose. The story is also constructed around a fascinating concept, which is given to us by the character of James: Dreams are linked to reality. And finally, a flying contraption that can handle an altitude of 9.5 billion miles? Wonderful. Love it.
What Id like to see more of:
What I find most interesting about dreams is that they often seem real while one is asleep, but absurd when one wakes. So I like that the author decided to create a dreamscape for an assignment about an alien landscape. Again, solid instincts. What Id like to see in future assignments is a more acute attention to detail, to tangible objects and qualities within the world of the narrative. We interact with environments through our senses, and our sensual experience is linked to our emotions. Remember, our characters are an opportunity to help readers engage with our settings, and vice versa.
Questions (not necessarily to answer, but to think about):
1. Does the dream and the dreamscape seem more or less real to Serena than her reality?
2. How does the dreamscape affect Serena?
3. Is the moral of the story, which is given to us twice, something that needs to be written, or is it implied by the narrative?
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