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Flight

by SunsetSprite


“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” - Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

Birds are extremely careless in the sky rather than humans. They always intend on laughing down on humans about whether if we’re having a good day or not, screeching their loudest cry and everything birds do they always do it right. But alas, I will never be a part of them.

The reason is because I’m neither one of the creatures. I’m merely the little guy. Literally. I live in the grass below human’s feet and stand just five centimetres tall. I’m very lucky in a way because it gives me the chance to hide when a predator come around.

I want to be different though. I want to live a different life. I want to go out riding bees. I want to be free! However every time I ask that, the village folk down here always laugh, “No. Never going to happen. Stacy, you’re a complete moron for wanting that.” So for many years I’ve sat in the darkness and spilt my hatred on everyone that walked or stared at me.

However, this time as I stand out here in the windy night, it will be different. I will be free. Then I can shove it in their faces. For this inventor, nothing is impossible.

My hair turns into a bundle of knots as I stand in the wind. I groan, why does it always have to be windy when I want to prove something? But that doesn’t matter though. I soldier on. This is a mission. And I am determined to get it over and done with.

I stroll up to my bag, unzipping it open and snatching my journal, eyes scanning the scribble until my page is found. My eyes beam. This is perfect. The plan is to test out my new invention, which is nothing more than glued feathers I’ve found along my workshop from birds on two planks of timber and a device that allows me to control the wings flapping. Nerveless this will work, I’ve tested it countless of times, (being around about four times), and I shall conquer this!

I scan the area to see if the people are staring at me again. They always do that when I’m testing something, cackling behind my back about how stupid my ideas are. However, as I have predicted, there are no people in sight due to the lack of sunlight.

The fools. Night time is the perfect time to get anything done. Why, with the moon shadowing over the grassy planes and the stars partying all night long up in the sky along with the frosty wind, this is the best time to do what you wish. Plus, hardly any predators come out at night so there’s nothing to worry about.

I spread out my arms, heaving the cool air into my lungs. This is it, the final rundown. I laugh, “STACY WILL NOW CONQURE FLIGHT!” Sprinting up the grassy planes, the wind hears my call and begins to lift me into the air. My feet are scraping across the ground, causing a throbbing sensation to zap throughout my nerves. My hair is pushed out of my face and I’m gliding towards the clouds. The feeling of success overtakes the throbbing sensation and I grin. I did it!

Now I test the hard bit, being the wings. My arms flap madly because of the roaring wind but eventually, it dies down and I manage to glide. I huff in exhaustion as the wind gets stronger and random leaves start to smack my face. My hands are beginning to sweat and my heart feels as if it’s about to plummet straight down to the Earth. My muscles shake wildly because of all of the energy I’m using and my vision goes blurry. Before I know it, I’m floating down towards the ground like a leaf.

However, the wind isn’t cooperating. Instead of gliding me on the ground like I have planned, it rockets me up towards the clouds and shoots me into a branch. I’m hanging like my mother’s laundry: wet and lifeless. My stomach hurts because I’m the sheet draping over the branch. My head is pounding against my skull because of the immense pain that has magically appeared from bumping into this tree. I’m still alive though, so it’s good...I guess.

Despite this situation, I manage a chuckle, “At least it worked…” I look at the wings. They’re completely snapped in half and the wind has stolen some of my feathers. Again. I sigh, “Maybe I should apply more…Strong materials to this, eh?”

This mission has been a successful one.


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Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:35 am
SpiritedWolfe wrote a review...



Hi Sunset! I know this is a quite old piece, but I'm working through the Review Checklist challenge this month, and you're the first person who left me a review when I joined YWS. So this may be a nice surprise if you ever pop back in ^^

Also, since this is an older piece, I'm sure your style of writing has grown with you. I'll make a few technical comments, but I'll focus more on the content of the piece, so that you can refine the ideas if you ever decide to revisit it ~ Let's jump in!

To start off, it took me a couple of paragraphs to figure out what the piece was about and who this narrator was. We're told right off the bat that Stacy is "one of the little guys", but it wasn't clear to me what that meant. Since the opening paragraph talked about birds and humans, I thought it might be a story about an insect (like a grasshopper or an ant) wanting to fly, and it didn't occur to me that Stacy is actually just a small person. This may want to be made clearer, and you could take a variety of approaches. Maybe you could show us Stacy interacting with people in her village, before throwing in the twist that they're not normal people, but are in fact very small! This would be a much more engaging start to the story.

I do like that throughout you establish Stacy's voice through the narration. She comes off as a dreamer, and she has the brains behind those dreams, which makes her an inventor. Her stubbornness comes through the narration, since she struggles through the wind to test out her invention anyway. Also, the way she talks about the other villagers in town characterizes her more as the outsider, which lines up with her as a dreamer. So good job on conveying all of these characteristics through the narration! If you were to revisit, it may also be helpful to contrast her personality with some of the other villagers, so we can see the dynamic in action and more easily make these inferences!

One more suggestion is that you may want to expand the story a bit to show the trial and error of Stacy throughout her journey of creating her wings. It would build tension throughout the story, so the when the climax comes and she sores through the wind, it feels like such a big success since we saw her struggle for it, rather than setting up the struggle before and just giving us the end part. It’s much more rewarding that way :)

Otherwise, this was a cute tale! If you ever decide to revisit it, here’s another viewpoint ^^ Happy writing!
~ Wolfe




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Sat May 24, 2014 4:23 am
Carina wrote a review...



Hey, Sunset! I'm interested in all things that fly, so this brought me in right away. I'll give you the basic rundown, including the things I liked, potential improvement, then a conclusion saying you're awesome. :) So, starting from the top!

What's the most important part of prose? Your English teacher may say, "The thesis, duh," and maybe when you're in college your English professor might nod and say, "Yep, 'cause the thesis is your grade, bud." Well, you don't have to take my word for it (but you totes should), but it's not the thesis, or the fancy words, or the perfect grammar—it's the hook.

Yes, the hook! Most people want to stop reading after like five seconds (at least I'm like that), so it's veeeery important to create an introductory hook that will draw the reader in and make them want to read on, itching to know the next word. Personally, I wouldn't use a quote to start off a piece, but if you really like it, by all means, keep it. :) Put your 110% on the first paragraph. Read it over then ask yourself, "If I was the reader, would I want to keep reading? Am I hooked?" Furthermore, I'd end the first paragraph with a kind of "hit-and-run suspense" kind of thing, though I think the "Alas, I'll never be a part of them" seems to fit it nicely.

The second paragraph kind of confused me a little, but it might just be me. At first I thought the main character was a worm or a bug! Then I read on and realized that she wasn't, so that created a distraction for me and potentially other readers. Perhaps clear it up a little that she is still human, just smaller?

Remember the five senses: smell, sight, sound, taste, and touch (the 3S & 2T). Incorporate this into the first paragraph—heck, the whole entire story—and it will create that automatic link to the reader. It'll make them more attached, and they will want to read on further and further down. How did Stacy feel? How did it feel to have the wind whip in her hair and face, to be up dancing with the stars up above, to hear the roar of the world go past her? Did her heart leap in her chest? Did sweat run down her back? Did sparks run through her chest? Or what about when she lost her balance in the air? Surely sensual feelings emerged. Close your eyes and think; it'll all come naturally. :)

stars partying all night long up in the sky along with the frosty wind

I rather liked this line. "Partying," I think, was a nice use of personification, and "frost" was a sensual word that dealt with touch.

Here's a nit-pick (I know, arggh puke):
I huff in exhaustion as the wind gets stronger and random leaves start to smack my face.

If she's gliding, she's going to the current of the wind. That means the leaves are too, so they most likely won't smack her face. I know, minor nit-pick, but thought you should know! (It's another nice use of sensual touch, though!)

Overall, I liked the concept of the piece. True, I may be a bit biased considering I love birds and everything else in the air (with the exception of bugs, haha), but that only enjoyed the piece more. :)

Keep writing!

~Carina




SunsetSprite says...


Thank you for this!



Carina says...


No problem! :D



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Fri May 23, 2014 11:44 am
Apricity wrote a review...



Heyo Sunset! Subtle here for her 180th review! Which for some reason feels special to me, but not as special as your story! I haven't reviewed in a while I'll admit, so my reviewing might be a rusty. Excuse that.

I am going to say that I really loved the idea behind this short story, to fly. Flying is always something I've always dreamt of, and even though this story was pretty short and simple. I thought it was lovely and unique. I'm going to go through some technical things like spelling and grammar, before moving onto discussing the style of your story.

Spelling, grammar the gist

rather than humans


Is that rather needed? I think 'than humans' would have made perfect sense on its own.

this time as I stand out here in the windy night,


Past tense, stand should be stood.

unzipping it open and snatching my journal,


Unzipping and open has the same meaning, so there isn't much point is saying the same thing twice in a sentence now is there? So, I think 'unzipping' would be fine on its own. When writing, anything, whether if is a narrative essay or an analytical essay always try to be as concise with your word choices as you can be. Avoid redundant words that has the same meanings. But I know that sometimes these things can escape your eye, so I guess just proofread more carefully in the future?

My head is pounding against


I noticed that you have a tendency to switch past and present tense, it can be a bit confusing to the readers. But I will assume is the past tense in this story, so pounding against should be pounded against.

They’re completely snapped in half and the wind has stolen some of my feathers.


They are completely snapped in half. The 'are' is used in the wrong context, they have is what you want here.

“Maybe I should apply more…Strong materials to this, eh?”


Unless Strong materials is the name of someone, and an event. The capitalized S should be a lower case.

I don't think I've pointed out every grammar and spelling mistake in here. But I don't think people should fuss over such mundane things as spelling and grammar, I mean they're important but I'm more interested in the flesh of the story. As in the content, how the story flows and its central message. Let's get onto that!

Flesh of the story:

I noticed that your story has been written in a very simple vocabulary, I know you've written this to take your mind off things so I'm not going to comment much on it. Except that in several places, you probably could have put it some better description about the wings and explained things more. Let me give you a few examples:

I stroll up to my bag, unzipping it open and snatching my journal, eyes scanning the scribble until my page is found. My eyes beam. This is perfect. The plan is to test out my new invention, which is nothing more than glued feathers I’ve found along my workshop from birds on two planks of timber and a device that allows me to control the wings flapping.


I know this is meant to be a short story, but I am really curious about what the design looks like. And sorry to say, but saying the glued feather on planks of timber isn't very descriptive or plausible for that matter. I think that timber would be quite heavy and just simple feather stuck onto that wouldn't be able to propel it up. So, always consider the plausibility of things while writing.

Instead of gliding me on the ground like I have planned, it rockets me up towards the clouds and shoots me into a branch.


When you say rockets me up towards the clouds, I was thinking of someone shooting up in 250km/hr and the same with shoots. I get the feeling that Stacy was splat into the tree like some fly, which really isn't the expression you're trying to create here. And then after she crashed into the tree, I have expected some more reaction on her part and perhaps reflection (internal reflection) on what has happened. The trick to writing a good ending, is actually for the character to have realized something (not necessarily a moral) but some sort of reflection on what has happened. Just mere physical reflection is not enough to make the readers feel the story.

Balancing show and tell, and use figurative language to bring out the emotions.

As a writer, you are transferring the mental image inside your head to ours. As a writer, you must be able to make the readers feel and connect to the characters inside your story. As a writer, your ultimate goal is to communicate something to the world through words.

In this story, I have noticed that there are very few descriptions on the surroundings and the same goes with the character. We don't get much of an insight on Stacy, we only see what is happening physically, we only see the actions. But we don't get to understand what propels her to do this, what makes her gears turn and how her mind work. Even if it is a short story, you should find a way to incorporate these things into your story. Figurative language, such as personification, similes and metaphors. I will give you an example:

My head is pounding against my skull because of the immense pain that has magically appeared from bumping into this tree.


In here, you are telling us that there is immense pain from bumping (is not really bumping is it). But instead, you could have described how immense or intense the pain is.

Despite all of that, I still really liked the idea behind this story. Sorry for this very long review, enjoy your day/night!

-S.s




SunsetSprite says...


Thanks!




Why does the Air Force need expensive new bombers? Have the people we've been bombing over the years been complaining?
— George Wallace