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  1. Hi there! I really enjoyed your blog. I had not read the Tiny Tales version and if this story was in the public domain edition I think maybe I forgot so I was so intrigued. I felt a stab of pain when you started explaining how his sister fell ill and then passed away before their trip. However, I am glad that he was able to have Bella by his side. As this was a new story to me as well I had no idea what to expect. As I read I kept getting nervous for him that maybe he would get lost or hurt himself especially with his hallucinations. However, I am glad that Bella possibly teaming up with his sister's spirit became in a sense his guardians. Overall well written story and I am excited to come back to your portfolio and see what else you have added!

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  2. Hi,
    I enjoyed reading a unique, and different approach to the scene where Lakshmana’s wife, Urmila, sleeps all day and night for him. The story you wrote contained a lot of emotion and depth. I really felt for the part where his sister had passed, but he continued to persevere and finish this trip for her. In the original his wife is seen sleeping for him, but in this version, his dog companion Bella is taking that place. By creating a whole new version, it allows the reader to understand that this story has a deeper meaning that doesn’t have to apply only to humans. I read the tiny tale’s version too, and I was able to visualize the scene when reading it. I also was able to envision your story – the bike ride from one side of the country to the other - and him feeling hallucinations because he was so tired. A really good job!

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  3. Bike Ride Comment:

    I appreciate the character Mike and his love for the outdoors I also love to be outside and enjoy riding my bike. You mention the passing of Mike and Emily’s parents but don’t mention much more about them. It might be easier to relate to your characters if your give a little background on their parents not being in their lives. Maybe include how their parents died, how old Mike and Emily were and the effect it had on their friendship. Emily’s passing is very sudden as well it might be helpful to the reader if you include more details on the how. I enjoy the character of Bella the black lab, I have a yellow Lab named Lola so I can picture the character well. I love a redemption story and the Bike ride seems like a great way to honor Emily. As you expand the story more I would love to hear specifics on adventures that Bella and Mike have on their cross country bike ride. Maybe you could talk about the states they visit and the people they meet.

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  4. Hi Jessica! I loved your story. It kept me engaged and even though it took me a bit of time to understand which story you had based it off of I ended up understanding. After I realized it was based on the story in the Ramayana where Lakshmana's wife Urmila had slept for her husband so he could stay awake and keep watch over Rama. The story was overall well formed and had me invested from the beginning. The modern take on it made it more relatable and to me more interesting. The only thing I think I would like more personally would be a deeper dive into the feelings behind Mike's actions. You said what he was feeling in areas but I like to see the feelings behind actions to know what is more true behind characters. I loved the story overall and was very excited to see that Bella took on the role of Urmila. I love animals in stories and I loved that she was also given more detail throughout it.

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  5. Hey Jessica,
    First off I really liked your title it caught my attention when looking in the list of portfolios. I found your story very interesting and fun to read. I always enjoy a modernized version of the stories we read in class. The character name choice alone aid in making the story more modern but you also did that with your setting and languages used as well. One suggestion as to the style of your story is adding a collapsible author's note at the bottom. It will not only clear up some space for the readers eye but helps stylistically as well. Another suggestion is maybe having another unique header image for your story or even your cover page. If you are doing a storybook you are following a theme of sorts you can use image related to that theme. Otherwise your site is looking really good, keep up the great work!

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  6. Hey Jessica,
    I really enjoyed reading your story and it kept me engaged throughout its entirety. Your take on the original story is very unique and interesting. You captured the main idea of the original story while modernizing it and completely changing the circumstances. Your set up to the story was really good and I think you personified the characters very well. One suggestion I have regarding the page set up is to have a divider between the author's note and the rest of the story. I didn't have one originally on my story pages but once I added it I really loved how it looked. I think it could be interesting to go more into detail about what the trip entailed. Adding more details to this portion of the story would enrich the overall plot. Overall I think you did a great job and it was very fun to read!

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  7. Hello Jessica! I just finished reading your story, "Bike Ride". I also read Tiny Tales from the Ramayana and I can see a lot of parallels between the original story and your version. You took a very creative and unique approach to this assignment and it was a lot of fun to read. In the context of your story, I was not expecting Emily to pass away that suddenly. You mentioned that she got ill and then died in the same sentence. One thing you could do is introduce that she is ill earlier in the story and then later on let the reader know that she had passed. This will make it less abrupt for the reader. Either way, I loved the story. I also really like the layout of your site. It is easy to navigate and is very visually appealing! One thing to consider is to put a link to your comment wall on the story page as well. That way the reader doesn't have to go back to the home page to click on the link.

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  8. Hi Jessica. I just read your story and I really enjoyed it and thought it was cool. It sounds like Mike is really intense especially since he likes camping in freezing temperatures in the mountains where it is almost certain to be windy. I know for sure this is not something I would ever do. Moving onto the story I thought that it was kind of sad especially since Mike was so close to his family and they all died when he was, from what I assume reading the story, relatively young. It was nice, however, that Mike still had his dog, Bella, to keep him company in life and on the bike ride trip. I do wonder though if Mike plans on biking back to Raleigh. I also love the picture you chose for your story. That dog definitely has some style, and I think it definitely fits in with the story. Overall a great story and I look forward to reading the other stories you will write for your storybook.

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  9. Hi Jessica! I liked your take on this story- there are so many interesting things that you can do with this story's concept! I liked the idea of using the sister's soul as the goddess of sleep- I especially liked when you further explored that concept with the "bodies may die, but souls live on" line. That was a cool way of dealing with the concept of deities with familiar vocabulary and in a way that we have already heard about. This is a bit of a nitpick-y comment, but in the second and fourth paragraphs, you use the term "bike" and "ride bikes" or "bike rides" a lot. I would try to see if you could replace some of these with other words or just modify the sentences so that you use them less overall. Maybe "go on a bike ride" could become "go on a trip together, wind whipping their hair and they hurdled down the twisting paths". That way we still know that you're taking about biking, but you don't actually have to use that term.

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  10. Hi Jessica! I Read your story "Twin Sister" and really liked it. I had read the story before the revisions and I like the changes you made. I like how you expanded on the characters and added some more backstory to make a more full story for your portfolio. I like how you added some dialogue which made a more well rounded story. I also think that the setting is a perfect way to make the jataka into a more modern and relatable story to many readers. I think the added dialogue at the end was also a great way to make the story more modern as well. The way that people act with friends and in a disagreement was included and even made it more relatable along with the original lesson of the Jataka. Overall I like your story and am excited to see what you will decide to write next.

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  11. Hey Jessica! It's nice to see some other portfolio projects, and I really enjoyed reading through yours.

    "Bike Ride" was a great way to make the story of Lakshmana guarding Rama and Sita more relatable, even the bittersweet elements. I love the way you tied the blue bike into the blue light, keeping that theme constant, and of course, Bella is a very good dog.

    "Twin Sister" was also super interesting, and I didn't immediately connect it to "The Foolish, Timid Rabbit." I thought it was super fitting to add the part at the end where Callie ends the friendship - I prefer a story like this to have consequences for the misconception, which is something I found lacking in the original.

    Keeping the banner image consistent is (I think) a good plan for your portfolio site, but you might consider doing something different on the lower "half" of the page - a different background image for each story, for example, or even different colors. Of course, I am a bit biased in this regard - I find black text on white backgrounds somewhat harsh to read - so that's totally your call. Oh, and I couldn't find a link from the comment wall back to your portfolio.

    I hope this helps! Great work, either way.

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  12. Hi Jessica! I loved both of your stories! I love how after reading the Author's Notes it was clear what each story was based on, but you did such a great job of creating original stories that I didn't get the inspiration while reading! I also love how you used such vivid storytelling to describe your character's thoughts and the settings. Since the focus this week is images, I will say that I enjoyed the image for the first story and the second. It was not clear until getting most of the way through the stories why you included those images, but I liked how they were connected without spoiling anything. One suggestion I would like to make would be to suggest that you maybe have Lionel and Callie decide against the surprise party? I was surprised myself that they still went through with it, and I think it would showcase their anger better by having it be cancelled. Besides that, great job so far!

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  13. Hey Jessica,

    I must say "WOW" for your bike ride story. I think that your story is so unique that it is hard to describe how unique it is. I really like the fact that you brought the character's feeling and emotion as well as describe the character as just a regular friend that the audience can relate to. I must say that your story telling style is so "vivid" like you are telling a friend about the story right next to them. Though I wonder "Did Emily pass away?" I could not seem to figure that out when reading the story. I thought that she was just very sick at home and could not go anywhere. I think that you can put a clarification to that notes. Other than that your story is amazing. I love the little picture of the sidecar on the bike. It is very cute.

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  14. What a story! It always frustrates me in romantic comedy movies how the whole plot is thrown off by one tiny bit of miscommunication. Your story completely captures this frustration. It is unfortunate that Callie had feelings for Lionel as well as Ruby I hate when boys ruin a friendship. Though neither Ruby nor Callie seems like an exceptionally good friend. I think it could be a great addition to your story if you added a little more interaction between the characters. That way the readers could get more attached to Ruby and Callie’s friendship and they would feel more pain when they stopped being friends. Overall, your story has a lot of great potential. The plot of feuding females never seems to tire.

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  15. Hi Jessica,

    I really enjoyed reading over your story, "the bike ride." I thought It was a very cleaver way to tell that story, and thought you did a wonderful job. It was very sad to see Mikes parents go, along with his sister Emily, but the gift Emily gave Mike was her disguised as the dog. I was curious when reading along as to who they ended up dying? I feel like if you maybe give detail as to why they weren't feeling well it would make the story that much better. Was it because they went on all these strenuous trips?

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  16. Hi Jessica!
    I am from the other class and I got to read your storybook this week! I am so glad I chose your storybook. I read the story, The Princess in Disguise. The twist was amazing, I actually did not expect it at all. While I don't have much background since I am not part of the Indian Epics course, I completely was able to understand the story. I think this is good since if this were ever told to someone with no context of your class, they could understand too! I thought the princess was very smart to look for a husband that way, and she got really lucky... minus the part where she almost got stabbed. I actually thought that man was going to be her prince so it was fun that your story was not predictable. I usually try to make a suggestion of something for clarity or a question I had, but I came away from your story very content! Great job!

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  17. Hi Jessica,
    I have not read any of your stories before, so I am excited to read some today! For this week, the assignment is to focus on your paragraphs, so here are some comments I have for you. In your first story about the Princess, most of your paragraphs are short. However, I think this flowed well with this story because each paragraph is unique! It is also very easy to read. Overall, you use this short paragraph structure in each of your stories; however, I think it works with how you write! One thing I think you improved on throughout your stories is your dialogue. I think the dialogue you had in your third story was much improved compared to your first story. You do a great job overall and I really enjoy your stories!

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  18. Hey Jessica!
    I love your Lil' Stories! I think the stories were very cute. You could make and publish a collection of short stories, I think. This was a really fun portfolio to read. The last story, Feuding Friends or Twin Sisters, was very wild. I did not expect the story to go the way it did, but I think it was well executed! I had read the story you were taking inspiration from, and I think you did a good job coming up with your own thing.
    I do not really have any criticisms for you or any suggestions to make either. I am not the greatest at understanding how grammar works; I just say stuff and don't think twice. It looks like everything in your storybook or portfolio is going well. I wish you the best of luck with the rest of the project.

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  19. Hi Jessica,
    I read your first story titled "The Princess in Disguise," and liked the Ramayana derivation you gave to the story of the princess having trouble finding her one true husband. Something that makes this even more enticing as a reader is that this is a typical theme you see in princess fairytales made by Disney or past time folk tales. One thing I think you should add to this story are specifics. Not that it's a bad thing to leave the reader with a mind of their own and play out parts of the story with their imagination. When I say specifics I'm meaning names of the princess, prince, king, queen, or even the palace. There's a good mystery to being in a "kingdom somewhere," but maybe just be more specific or formal about where this palace is located. Also maybe elaborate more about the dog in the real story. Other than that it was good Jessica!

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  20. Hi Jessica,

    Princess in disguise

    I love a good fairy tale. I really appreciate the fact that the princess wanted to be loved for being her true self and not for being a princess and her title. The sorceress probably was not approached very often to make people uglier. This was a very clever idea that the princess had. It is a great way to show a person’s true character on how they treat people who are different and less fortunate than their own selves. That is very sad that the dog did not have any food or water that makes my heart hurt. What a scary image, being attacked by a random man with a knife. And what a great twist to the story. I love how the dog protected the princess. And the fact the dog was actually a man under a spell- wow I was not expecting that. I can totally get Princess with the Frog Vibes and Cinderella vibes. Also true to all princess story I like that she had an animal sidekick even if just for a moment.


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