|Ooh, this is a juicy one to review, but first I have to comment on how delightful are the blinking feline eyes of your portfolio case. Very cool. I think the darn thing blinked at me fifty times before I finally figured out what the holy heck was going on You'll have to teach me how to do that one day, when I'm wealthy enough to afford the site's first-class tickets.
That said, time to get to it. Okay, the writing is excellent overall. It's like this next-to-the-last draft sort of thing where some final, but important edits are found necessary and wanting. They're all easy fixes with some being stylistic in nature, and others just plain structural boo-boos.
I hope you won't mind, but the best way to show what I'm talking about is to shamefully type right on top of your own work. Please follow the bouncing cursor
“Aw, we live on Neptune!" Oberon shouted out in frustration. "Why do we need to learn about people who lived on another planet thousands of years ago?”
Notice how I moved the speaker closer to the first expressed thought. We want to know who's speaking and how they're saying it, as soon as possible in any given sentence of dialogue.
“Oberon!" Rhea Vesta snapped at the unruly ten year old. "You will not interrupt in my class.”
So these were two examples of what I consider to be a very important structure consideration.
Rhea collected her thoughts. Sometimes I wonder why I took this job as a History and "Stellar" Cartography teacher.
You meant stellar, right? Man is this guy picky or what?
“As I was saying…many of you have some percentage of human in your bloodlines. (small m, not capital)
After a short period of chemical and nuclear weapons "usage", there was nothing at all left of their home planet.” The word, usage, sounds weak here. Maybe a word like "destruction" would work better: After a period of destruction from chemical and nuclear weapons, there was...
Ooh, my favorite: the elusive ellipsis. They generated oxygen through electrolysis…” Although this sentence is technically correct, it doesn't use the ellipsis correctly in this instance. You intend the ellipsis to indicate an interruption by the bell. But it's confusing because the cut-off comes at the end of a complete sentence. It works much more effectively when the sentence being interrupted is more obviously cut-off in mid-stride. For example, look how easily this is remedied: They generated oxygen through electrolysis and…”
As you all know, our ancestors here on Neptune discovered and rescued the struggling human colony while mining on the Martian moon of Phobos. Your homework is to write a report about the archived story from one of those early colonists."
I don't understand what the above paragraph means. Their Neptunian ancestors were mining on Phobos when they discovered a struggling human colony? I have no idea who's doing what with whom here. Please clarify
I like the scene changes. I forgot what they're called.
“Rhea!” Grace, Rhea’s neighbor, caught her breath as she ran to catch the teacher before she entered her house. “It’s your daughter, Miranda!
Rhea's neighbor, Grace, caught her breath as she ran to catch the teacher before she entered the house. "Rhea!" she called, "...it's your daughter, Miranda. (I think this reads smoother. It's so easy to confuse personal pronouns with the appropriate character, it doesn't hurt to word it as well as possible. Which isn't necessarily my version)
"She's" lost quite a bit of life essence, and no one can find her healing horse.
Rhea checked the small bump at her temple and realized that it was indeed shut off; she must have pressed it by accident. “Grace, where’s Miranda now?” Tears then dripped/ran down her face as well.
In the sentence above, the first comma was removed and a semi-colon added. Even though these changes weren't necessary, technically, they do help to break the monotony of all the sentences being structured in the same way. Just as sentence lengths are varied, so is punctuation usage, just to keep things"jumping". Notice that I removed the words "streaming" and "now" which were unnecessarily repeated and sounded boring
Miranda fell down a long drop. Luke ran home to tell me, and I called the rescue unit...but they can’t fix her. (again, here's a correct usage of the ellipsis in mid-sentence. One of the many reasons I love the ellipsis is because its use is so wonderfully varied, but whose proper usage can be demanding)
Rhea felt dizzy after the words that Grace quickly blurted out sunk in.
Try this instead: Hearing the words that Grace quickly blurted out, Rhea felt dizzy as they sunk in. Or, As the words quickly blurted out by Grace sunk in, Rhea felt Dizzy. I tried to separate the verbs "blurted" and "sunk" which run too close together. Try to do a better job than I did
When a contact list appeared in front of her face, she clicked on her Aunt Lucy’s name. The "relative" lived right outside of the forest. (the first part wasn't a complete sentence or thought)
Let me know if she is, and I’ll have Miranda "'transported" there at once." (do you mean as in "beaming" like in Star Trek? By pickup truck? By sled dogs? Sling shot, what?
Another nice (and appropriately timed) scene change. Darn, I still can't remember what these breaks are called.
Rhea found herself crying again, this time "with" tears of joy (no comma) as she watched Miranda’s pretty blue eyes open.
If you change POV to Miranda, she needs her own paragraph:
Miranda smiled as she hugged the champagne colored horse. Only moments earlier, the seven-year-old's limp, barely breathing body had been placed on the life-giving horse. The girl was going to be fine.
If you don't want to overuse the word, "as" then the above could be re-worded thusly:
Hugging the champagne-colored horse, Miranda smiled. (I also changed some of the subsequent wording in the paragraph. In case you hadn't noticed
Rhea felt her heart ping with joy at (hearing) her little one’s words.
Okay, time for apologies. I feel like we were dancing and I stepped on your toes during the whole song. So forgive me if I overstepped myself. This piece was so easy to edit because it was so well put together to begin with. I mean that, really. As you know, all too well, I'm sure, this whole self-editing stuff is tuff. Nor was my intention to be the teacher and you the student. I don't like being presumptuous and if my critique comes across as such, then such was not my intent.
Tip-toeing through the tulips of your garden helps me as much as I hope it serves your own interests. Anyway, thanks for allowing me to trample on some of your flowers, and either make a fool of myself, be a helpful little elf, or both
If you incorporate some or most of my suggestions and recommendations, I believe this piece can pretty much be put to bed. The ending is a tad soft, but fits the rest of the story well enough. After the dust settles and you're happy with the work, I think we could add a tiny touch to the end that would spruce it up a bit. Or not. Let me know