The Official Writing Challenge
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What a likeable character you've written!

The last half of this seemed a bit more "tell-ish" than "show-ish"--maybe some dialogue to help us get to know her and the young man better?

I enjoyed reading this story very much.
Excellent reminder that our words and actions are watched by others. Great opening paragraph, it drew me into the story.
I thought the descriptive writing was really, really lovely "Branches of the river-oaks came together and formed a cocoon arch over the sandy-brown, narrow road ahead" Such gorgeous imagery! I am THERE...but to be honest I am not sure what the purpose of the ongoing description of the setting is. Does it further your story?

It's beautiful writing but you say yourself "Misti didn't notice" "Misti was oblivious to the setting" so I would re-think that.

Also, I had a hard time with the "fire" concept. It was a little too mystical for me in the context of this story.

To me it almost feels like you're writing in 2 different genres.

Have you ever written free verse poetry? You should try it. :) You have a gift.
Just a note to this author's family & friends who would bow up in her defense. . . Don't.

She asked for critiques. She appreciates each individual's honest opinion.
Oh, I liked your fire analogy! It reminded me of the Scripture verses that talk about us being baptized "with the Holy Spirit and with fire," and the one that says "our God is a consuming fire." I liked the contrast between the peacefulness of her surroundings and the troubling and yearning of her soul. You have a very descriptive style, which I enjoy, because that's how I write, too! :)
I will just say - you are a very gifted writer. Every descriptive moment in your story built, for me, towards that moment of decision. You made me feel for your character and feel through your character - and that's not an easy thing to do, no matter what anyone says. Thank you!
You have a wonderful gift for descriptive writing. Somehow I missed how this was on topic so I'll have to reread when I get a chance. Great message too.
What a beautiful story; I loved it!
I liked the imagery in this piece, though the "burning" aspect of it didn't fit well with the setting, in my opinion. I would see it fit better with the Southwest area, connecting the burning of her heart with the burning of the desert sun.

It also didn't quite fit the topic....though set in the USA, it wasn't necessarily about the USA.

BUT as a written piece I did like it, and thought you had some very well-written sentences. Definitely could have expanded the story and added more details, as I would like to read more of this. WELL DONE! Don't be discouraged - you're a great writer! :)
I enjoyed your story very much. The conflict of your mc was clear throughout, and I thought the description of setting furthered the idea of USA. Since it's written in third person, the mc could be oblivious to her surroundings.
Your descriptions are absolutely breathtaking, and the atmosphere was so rich.