The Official Writing Challenge
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It's amazing to have something you've written published! I hope you go far.
This is really great. You hit the nail right on the head and gave writers some excellent advice.
This piece was beautifully written, and you have a strong talent for similies and metaphors. In Par. 1, the sentence beginning with "The pond behind the house.." -loved this!

I also loved the paragraph, which began, "She recalled the words from.." I thought this captured important elements of writing.

But my favorite paragraph is the last one. And my favorite sentence was one that included: pangs of a thousand sand fleas--soo perfectly descriptive.

The only thing I can think of to strenghen this essay is to chop off the first paragraph. What?! It's so beautiful, with such exquisite writing. I agree, but, the action, power, and emotion begins with paragraph 2. If you absolutely couldn't bear to part with it (which I understand, since I myself, LOVE this paragraph), I would place it after paragraph 2, where it would follow "...jotted down metaphors, which..." Then, this paragraph would become a fabulous example of (her) magnificent metaphors.

But, even without the change, this is a beautiful, well-crafted piece, and a joy to read.

And, I loved the title Flower Kissers! What a clever name for a hummingbird article.
You have a beautiful flair for words and you knit them together so eloquently. You pulled me into your account and I felt all that you had to say as if it were me.

And whatever you do with the first paragraph....definitely don't get rid of but like Theresa said, incorporate it!
You definitely ARE a writer!

Ironically, the paragraphs that descriibed her writing process didn't grab me as much as the ones at the beginning and at the end. Maybe some more editing is in order?

The last paragraph in particular did exactly what it was intended--it felt "settled" and just right.
Congratulations in placing in the top 10 in your level.