Usuki Singing Stars #29: Sparkles Be Not Proud
"Scary! Look! Look! Look!” Sparkles chanted, rushing into the living room. The pink Bruce eagerly waved an envelope over her head. “Look at what I got in the mail today!!!” she gasped.
“Don’t tell me you actually got fan mail,” Scary groaned. The purple Bruce flipped through her fashion magazine, not bothering to look up. “Or is it another NT rejection letter?”
“I got a review!” Sparkles was a bit out of breath, so she panted enthusiastically, “It’s…for that...story I…wrote for…this week’s…”
“Yes Sparkles, I can still remember when you got another story into the NT and Snaw took your trophy to increase his collection.” Scary yawned. “It’s all old news since the NT came out three days ago.”
Sparkles squealed. “And somebody was actually kind enough to write me a review!!”
“And how did they find our address?” asked Scary.
“Who cares about that? I can’t wait to read my very first review!” Sparkles tore open the envelope and looked over the lavender coloured paper that held her much-desired review. In a matter of seconds, however, she was aghast by what the navy blue ink writing was saying:
Your story had a very nice premise, but the actual execution was horrendous. The protagonist had too little flaws and her appearance was unknown to me. What did she look like? And why did she like wearing hair bows?
The settings needed more descriptive words and the antagonist’s back-story sounded shallow. I found it hard to believe this story wasn’t written in just one day because of how inconclusive the ending was. Did the protagonist get into the canoe or didn’t she?
I fell that if you could improve your writing style and perhaps grab a thesaurus, you could create stories that would be truly memorable. Right now, your skills just aren’t that good.
“This...it...I…this...” Sparkles sputtered, her eyes growing wide. After taking a moment to process the review, she crumpled it in her hands and cried, “How dare this…this fiend say such unreasonable things to me! Whatever happened to when NT authors were given fan letters rather than spam??”
“I’m guessing your stalker didn’t care too much for your story,” Scary muttered as she closed her magazine. “What I want to know is how this creep found our address. If Snaw’s been going around telling our address again…”
“They’re going to regret ever crossing with me,” Sparkles fumed, reaching to grab a purple jacket off a wall hook.
“And where are you going?” asked Scary.
“I’m going to track down this troll and give them a piece of my mind.” Sparkles glanced at the envelope and placed it in her pocket.
Scary sighed as she got off the couch. “You really won’t let this go, am I right?”
Sparkles shook her head. “I can’t let myself be insulted by somebody who has never met me in person.”
“And you honestly think this n00b needs to meet you to change their opinion?” Scary laughed. “Get real!”
“Well I’m still going,” Sparkles insisted. “They don’t live that far away, so I can talk with them today and get it over with.”
“In that case, I’m coming along,” said Scary. “I’d like to meet this stalker and inform them we’re well armed for any upending battles!” She grabbed her black leather purse and led Sparkles out the door.
Sparkles approached the yellow neohome and sighed. The front lawn was adorned with garden gnomes, the baby Chomby one being her favourite. Behind lacy white curtains was the silhouette of a Draik…the Draik who had the nerve to mail somebody a critical response! “Here we are,” Sparkles breathed as she walked down the red cobblestone rail, approaching the front door with hesitance.
“So now what,” said Scary, trailing behind. “Are you going to break in and steal her shoes?”
“Why would I do that?” asked Sparkles.
“For revenge purposes,” Scary explained. “You know, since this creep’s been stalking you and jilted you with her review.”
Sparkles knocked on the door. “I just want to speak with her and ask why she felt the need to critique my story so unfairly. Besides, maybe I’m not the only angry author Miss Critical had to deal with today.”
“Or maybe she won’t care,” Scary scoffed.
As the doorknob turned, Sparkles felt her heartbeat increase and her hands clam up. Was this really a good idea? Should she really confront the replier today? No, I mustn’t run away, since that’s exactly what Miss Judgemental would want me to do, Sparkles fumed as the door open, and she found herself facing a blue Draik with long eyelashes. “Hello,” she mustered up. “Nice weather we’re having.”
“Oh please,” Scary mumbled.
The Draik glanced at Sparkles and then at Scary, her gaze a bit confused. “How can I help you two?” she wondered.
Sparkles straightened her posture. “My name is Sparkles, and today I received a very unjust review from you in the mail. I have come to set things straight and receive an apology.”
“Excuse me?” The Draik cocked a thin eyebrow. “I don’t think I owe you anything. And besides, I read your story, so isn’t that enough?”
“Not with her,” Scary muffled.
“But what you said was really hurtful and so negative,” Sparkles argued, “and you don’t even know me or how long I worked on my piece! So for those reasons I am demanding an immediate apology.”
“Are you serious?” The Draik crossed her arms. “Last time I checked, I don’t have to be polite when critiquing a review for an NT written piece. And besides, what’s the big deal? Did you get multiple reviews saying the same critical things?”
Sparkles blushed. “Actually…you were the only one who’s written a review.”
“Then what’s the problem?” pressed the Draik.
Heartbeat increasing, Sparkles struggled to find the perfect words to express her emotions. Was this confrontation all about a review she received…or was it about something else? “Well you see…I was…I don’t know…”
Scary kicked a lawn gnome. “Ha! Take that, you stalker!”
“Hey!” shouted the Draik. “You put that gnome right side up now or else I’ll call the Defenders of Neopia on you!”
“Pfft. They couldn’t solve a robbery at Usukiland if they tried,” scoffed Scary.
The Draik sighed. “Look, I’m very busy right now and I would like to get back to my reading. So can you two leave my doorstep now? Please?”
“I can’t,” Sparkles insisted, “without my apology. Not just for your harshly written review or your inconsiderate behaviour towards us…but for also making me dislike my own story!”
Scary whacked a garden gnome with her purse.
“Stop that!” scolded the Draik.
Feeling her face burn with shame, Sparkles muffled out, “Reading your review made me realize my story wasn’t as great as I thought it was. And to only receive a review form you made me feel a bit uncomfortable, you know?”
The Draik nodded. “I get it: you were feeling so confident over your story and then everything crashed down because of my review.” She shook her head. “It’s okay to feel sad if somebody critiques you, but it’s not okay for you to let it ruin your NT career. And besides, how do you feel about the story you wrote?”
“I don’t know,” said Sparkles, shrugging as Scary kicked over a third gnome.
“What I suggest is re-reading my comments again and decide whether or not they should be applied to your story,” suggested the Draik. “Perhaps after you listen to my advice and maybe take a writing class, your skills will improve and your next story will be a lot better.” She furrowed her brow and added, “Now please let me be and stop that purple Bruce from knocking over all my gnomes!” before she closed her door.
“That was pointless,” groaned Scary as she and Sparkles walked back home. “What was her problem anyway?”
Sparkles shook her head. “She wasn’t the one at fault here, Scare.”
“Sure,” said Scary.
“I’m serious,” urged Sparkles. “In fact, I was wondering whether I, you know, overreacted to her critique. Perhaps I should have listened to her first before I stormed over to her neohome and allowed you to knock over her garden gnomes.”
“So now what?” Scary asked.
“We’ll go home and maybe I’ll start on another story,” said Sparkles, sounding more optimistic. “Maybe I can write an even better piece for the NT; one that will receive critical acclaim all over Neopia! Then Ms. Draik will see who truly has NT talent!”
“And I’ll destroy those tacky Bruce gnomes Snaw bought last week,” Scary proclaimed as they reached their neohome.
Hopefully Ms. Draik was right when she said I had potential, Sparkles thought as Scary kicked over her first Bruce gnome.