|Hi ~ Aqua ~ -
Thank you for sending me a review request! It's my pleasure to be able to enclose the following review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.
I enjoyed the premise of this story. The use of the picture prompt felt natural and was well incorporated into the narrative.
The story was touching, heartfelt, and I think teaches us something about how to live our lives... and maybe even a little bit about how to end them well. I liked the fact that you started in the hospital as Peter is waking up; it really pulls the reader into the story right away and focuses on the most important moments of his life... not when he first gets sick or discovers he has cancer, but rather what he does with his life once he realizes the truth.
The interaction between the doctor and Peter at the hospital felt a little awkward. Peter goes almost immediately from "Am I going to die, how long to I have to live" to "You can't keep me here, let me go home." It felt like a rather sudden shift in demeanor; I think there needs to be more pressure from Dr. McCalem to get him to stay, so that he can be pushed into that reaction rather than just suddenly switching personalities from passive to aggressive in a heartbeat.
I also thought that Carla could use a little more development. We get a great sense of Peter's relationship with Lily, but Carla is almost an afterthought character who doesn't have a meaningful impact on the story until the very end. Especially since Carla delivers one of the most powerful lines of dialogue in the story at the very end, the audience needs to better understand Carla and where she's coming from before we reach that line at the very end.
The dialogue worked for the most part, except for the doctor's dialogue. I think you were trying to show the doctor searching for a way to tactfully tell her patient that he's dying, but her stammering and stuttering sentences reached a point where they made her feel a little incompetent. That might be part of the reason why Peter feels so suddenly aggressive when he wants to leave; if you were to make the doctor a more confident, assertive physician who is pressuring Peter to stay in the hospital, it would make a little more sense than Peter pushing around a meek and timid-sounding doctor.
There was a two-paragraph passage that felt like it might have been a little out of place:
"Lily, I brought you here today because a princess has to be aware of her people's problems. They are underprivileged people but they have every right to celebrate, look at those jars."
It was a marvelous sight, jars were hung at distance from each other with golden dust glitter. Under the lights, they shone bright like a blue sky filled with stars, all in a jar."
Up until the point of the first paragraph, the audience hasn't been introduced to the jars in the story. So when Peter refers to them as "those jars," it creates a moment where the audience goes, "Huh? What jars?" Only to learn in the following paragraph that jars are hung around where they are. I think if you swapped the two paragraphs, it would make more sense for the audience to "see" the jars and then have Peter reference them when he's talking to Lily. That way, nobody's out of the loop.
I think "surroundings" is plural, so it should be, "Peter looked around to take in the surroundings, which [were] all but familiar."
The line, "Lily's eyes sparkled with sheer excitement as she wondered which adventures her father had embarked on" felt a little too heavy-handed. I would recommend cutting it off after "sparkled with sheer excitement," as the next line about defeating the monsters conveys the same information about Lily's thoughts in a much more dynamic and natural way.
TYPO: "Lymph notes, liver and your spleen... I don't know how you are even breathing[;] it's a miracle."
Here's another example where I think less is more. You don't need to explain the thoughts behind the action, because the action implies it: "Peter raised an eyebrow and the doctor blushed for expressing her thoughts out loud." I think you could leave it at "the doctor blushed" and your reader will fill in the meaning on their own.
TYPO: "Peter stopped at Lily's favourite place to [pick] up [a] McDonald's Happy Meal."
I'm a little confused by this sentence; not sure what you're going for: "Lily noticed that the different, there were beggars that she recognised from cartoons because of their get up."
Overall, I enjoyed this story. I thought it was a great take on the prompt, and you did an excellent job executing the story. There is some room for improvement as noted above, but I don't think any of the suggestions will require a massive rewrite as much as a little tweaking and tinkering here and there. Sorry for the delay in getting this to you; I hope you're reading it with enough time to put the finishing touches on the story before the contest deadline!
I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!
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