Monday, 8 November 2010


It was a dark and starry night. She was looking out the window watching the beautiful night sky; the sky was so much clearer compared to the city, one could see everything. The stars were like a painting, a painting with sparkles. She stares at the sky each time she thinks of her father. Somehow she manages to find a solution when she looks at the dark glitter painting.
Tomorrow would be her first birthday without him. How she wished he’d be there to celebrate with her. She decides to close her eyes for a bit. As she opens them slowly she looks out the window and suddenly sees the stars move. The stars start to scatter and form a shape. She can’t make out the shape but all the stars that are moving get bigger and brighter. She looked next to her drawer desk and held the picture of her and her father closely in her hand. It was a picture of them playing on the swings together. She smiled heartedly as she remembers the memory. Once more, she looks out the window and sees the dazzling stars, she observes them closely trying to find a meaning or hint in the vivid atmosphere she perceives. Finally she sees it, the stars are formed creating the image of the picture with her father, the joyeous moment she can not help but miss. Inspite of being rather surprised and curious, she laughs as she looks out. The stars start changing form again but this time they write out words.
“Happy Birthday. Love Dad” is what the stars seem to read. She smiles gratefully to find herself opening her eyes waking up. She looks in her hands and sees the picture held securely. One last time she looks at the sky and sees one single star, brighter than the rest and smiles as she knows who that star belongs to.
Dreams are not always just pure imagination.


  1. This was inspired by track 12 as in a way it sounded rather fantasy- like in a more atmospherical view of observation (therefore, i made it take place in a dream situation). This piece of writing is more fictitious and surreal with a fairly positive outlook.

  2. Venice, hi there. My name is Jonathan and I’m very pleased to be one of you moderators on this blog. Firstly, apologies for the late posting of my comment.

    Your piece 'Stars' is a very moving response to the task you were set. Your writing is very clear and confident, and you seem to have no problem getting across to the reader the ideas and feelings that you want to capture. The line “the sky was so much clearer compared to the city, one could see everything” is a perfect example of uncluttered writing.

    It begins clearly and finishes cleanly and succinctly, as required. However, I don’t feel that you have made as much of the other parts of the task as you might have.

    For instance, there is little in the way of rhyme or alliteration (though I liked “The stars start to scatter”), and only one simile (“The stars were like a painting”) – although you do make very good use of that one simile, indeed going so far as to turn it from figurative into concrete language: the stars aren’t just *like* a picture, they *become* a picture. This moment is the most powerful in the piece, as it shows the transformation at the heart of a common piece of wish-fulfilment: to bring those far from us near to us, and to fill out the terrible absence of the night sky with a comforting presence.

    This is a strong response, but it does seem to me to be somewhat lacking in originality. Comparing the sky (whether by day or by night) to a painting could be said to be a bit of a cliché – I would have liked to see you push the comparison a bit further. What kind of painting? Does it look like a Jackson Pollock, with random splashes and drips? And when the stars form the shape of the photograph, how do they do this? Is it like a dot-to-dot picture?

    Of course, this idea of stars forming pictures has a long history. The Greeks did it, for example in the story of Hercules who was taken up to heaven after his death and immortalised as a constellation. There is a mythic dimension that seemed to be hovering just behind your story and which could have been brought out and developed a little more in the finished piece.

    Finally, the idea of the stars shifting to form a picture is moving enough on its own. For me, the spelling out of the reassuring birthday wish takes the wish-fulfilment a step too far. It seems like something I have seen at the end of a Disney movie. I would say the piece would be more affective without it.

    A couple of other words and sentences that I think need attention: “She smiled heartedly as she remembers the memory” – use “wholeheartedly” instead of “heartedly”, but I would say you don’t need either. We know exactly the smile you mean, from the rest of the piece, you don’t need to fill that in. And “remembers the memory” is tautological – if you use “remember” you don’t need “memory”, it’s already implied. How about “remembers the moment”?

    And finally, “Inspite of being rather surprised and curious, she laughs as she looks out.” I would cut out the first half of this sentence – what is happening is so fantastical, so out-of-this-world that “rather surprised and curious” seem an unlikely response. If this did happen to me, in reality, I wouldn’t be “rather surprised and curious” – I would start to doubt my sanity! In terms of the piece, of course, the narrator simply embraces the magic of the moment, and that is absolutely fine: “She laughs as she looks out” seems a far more appropriate and moving response on its own.

    There we go. I hope you find that helpful. In general I think your writing style is effective and compelling – it is not overloaded or too fancy. You seem to know exactly what you want to get across, and do so with the minimum of fuss, rather than ‘showing off’ with an over-the-top style. The idea behind the piece comes across clearly, but, as above, I would have liked to see the idea developed a bit further. Write, and then think about what you’ve written – look for something hiding inside what you’ve written with which you can surprise yourself! I look forward to reading more of your work

  3. Venice,

    I adore this piece, you did a great job! It is amazing how you give the reader that feeling of happiness, especially towards the end.

    Also, "Dreams are not always imagination" is a very nice sum up and I like the fact that you wrote that in italics.

    Everything is very clear, altough a bit cliché at some parts, otherwise, as said before, I love it!

  4. Hi!
    I’m Kathryn, nice to meet you! Sorry I have an awful memory, but I will be more prompt with my comments in the future!

    This is a great piece, lots of emotive language! I love the image of the stars moving, although I agree with Jonathan, it does seem a little like the perfect fairytale ending. How about instead of writing “As she opens them slowly she looks out the window and suddenly sees the stars move” you write “As she opens them slowly she looks out of the window and the stars move for her”, which suggests that the stars aren’t physically moving, but moving to her. You could also work on implied writing. For example, we don’t need to know what the message says, writing something along the lines of “they spell out a message, written only for her” would both be poetical and add mystery, making us want more.

    I love the line “the sky was so much clearer compared to the city, one could see everything” because it gives location in one sentence. We know she’s outside, and we know she isn’t in the city. We also know that she maybe spends some time in the city, because she is in awe of the stars and able to make a comparison. The one thing I would suggest is to change the word “one” to “she”, because this is the one and only time that you make reference to YOU being in the piece. Without this word there is only an implied narrator, but when you say that suddenly you are there with the girl. Also, it sounds a little formal for such an intimate piece.

    One last thing. The last line is beautiful. But would the piece lose or gain from it not being there?

    Can’t wait for the next piece!



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