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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Writer’s Skill/Craft (04/22/10)

TITLE: The Writers Craft
By Holly Hoell


This is lame, there is nothing good here Tony Barton thought, as he skimmed the book titles. This book mobile and the books in it are probably older than the school janitor. If they want us to do book reports, they could at least give us interesting books to read.

A friendly young librarian walked over and asked; "can I help you find something?"

Tony replied; "Yeah, you got anything from this century?" He said. Then louder and with some profanity, he stated how he felt about the books, making his friends burst out in laughter.

She walked over and leaned up close and told him, "You’re right, these are all older books, but I know of a book that you would like. My sister runs a book store in town called The Writers Craft and she will hook you up. Tell her Ann sent you."

"Is she as cute as you, because if she is, I'm there,” he said with a grin on his face.

"Go see her, you won't be disappointed," she said as she winked at him.

Tony strutted off the book mobile; he always did get along good with the girls. It was everyone else he had a problem with. His next period was math class. He decided to ditch that and visit the librarian's sister.

He walked a couple blocks, then found the little book store. You gotta be kidding me, he thought as he looked in the window. This is a christian book store! He didn't even want anyone to see him go in there. At least all his friends were in class. He went inside, looking at name tag of the girl behind the counter, he said "Hi Camille." She was much older than the sister who he thought was cute.

"Do I know you," she asked?

"Ann from the book mobile said that you would have a book that I would like instead of those old crusty ones she was trying to pawn off," he replied.

"What are you some kind of sicko?" She asked, as she ran into the back crying?

Dumbfounded, he walked out of the store. The woman was obviously mental. He lit up a cigarette and sat down on a nearby bench. He didn't have a book for the report, but what difference did it make, he was failing most of his classes anyway. It would be another reason for the old man to beat him some more.

As he stamped his cigarette on the ground, Camille came out and asked "how do you know of my sister?"

"Look, he said, I don't know what your problem is, but I already told you, she told me to come here because you would have a good book for me."

She looked down at the ground. "My sister has been dead for ten years now. She is in heaven, so I don't know who you talked to, but it wasn't her. Here, take this book, you should like it." She handed him The Cross and the Switchblade book, and mumbled, "it was one of Ann's favorite books."

"That's impossible," Tony said! "I saw her and she told me to come here. What happened to her?"

"A drunk driver named Michael Barton hit her as she was walking home from college," she replied.

"I gotta go," Tony said. He was upset and confused. He ran back to school. Luckily the book mobile had not left yet. He went in and looked for Ann but she was not there. He asked the driver where she was, but was told that there was no one named Ann working there.

He went to his friends, but no one remembered seeing the girl he described. They told him, "Dude, we thought you were acting weird".

That night Tony spent the whole night reading the book. He had never believed in God, but as the words penetrated, he knew he wanted something better. Anything would be better. Almost on queue, Mike, his father who was drunk again began screaming at his mother. He knelt down beside his bed and prayed for the first time in his life.

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This article has been read 564 times
Member Comments
Member Date
AnneRene' Capp04/29/10
Absolutely loved this! Very original using the Book Store as the topic title. Thought your dialogue was good too. I would really like to see this continue! Also...I'm ashamed to admit this, but have never read the Cross and the Switchblade and now I will. You shouldn't be in beginners very long! Great Job...really!!
Maria Egilsson04/29/10
Gripping story. Excellent.
Sharon Laughter04/29/10
Very good story which clipped right along. A little polish on grammar, punctuation, etc. and you'll do fine!
Theresa Santy 04/29/10
What a joy to read! I liked your clever and original tie in to the subject The Writers' Craft, loved the story, the dialogue, and excellent presentation of your main character.

In paragraph 8, "He didn't even want anyone to see him go there" If you take out 'even' your sentence becomes stronger. And I think there was a missing 'the' in a later sentence. But these are microscopic issues, and I thought this piece was fantastic.

Moved me to tears!
Yvonne Blake 04/30/10
A very interesting plot! You need to develop it farther into a longer story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/30/10
This is a very powerful and emotional story. You have several spots that need editing, but nothing can take away from the suspenseful storyline. I found myself on the edge of my chair. I also wondered why a teacher wouldn't reprimand a student for cussing, but then she was an angel and had more important matters to tend to.
angelos2 wark04/30/10

This was an amazing story!

As was already suggested, I would like to see this story
continued. The cross and the switchblade is an awesomwe book, I have met the Author, this being his true to life story, makes itan even more appealing read.
I was very moved when i realized that the drunk driver in your story was Tony's Father.
Good Job!
veronica cressey 05/02/10
This was a very good story!~I really enjoyed reading it because you covered layers;By saying that, I mean both physical and spiritual existence. I love the atmosphere too!
Well done.

Jan Ackerson 05/03/10
I loved "The Cross and the Switchblade" when I was a kid! Great choice for a rebellious kid.

There was an easily correctable punctuation error in a few snippets of dialog:

"Do I know you," she asked?

should be

"Do I know you?" she asked.

I awlays feel a little bit squirmy about "ghost" stories--they're kind of theologically "iffy" in my book.

Love the name of the bookstore!
Maria Egilsson05/03/10
This is an amazing first article. I'm new as well and my article, Teachers Gift, is my second entry. There are a great bunch of people here who share, encourage and correct. welcome

Eliza Evans 05/03/10
I loved The Cross and The Switchblade, too! :) Great choice.

Take your time. Part of writing is sitting on it (if you have time...which I never do!;) and reviewing and revising.

I think you did a great job, but I think you could have cleaned it up a little...a few grammar, punctuation and choppy sentence spots.

But I did enjoy this and I look forward to more of your writing.

So glad you have joined us at Faithwrters! :)
Joan Campbell05/03/10
Loved the story and characters - gave me goosebumps!

Your punctuation needs a little work, especially with your direct speech.

In paragraph 3: Tony replied...you also have a "he said" which is repetitive.

What I see though is great creative thinking and good writing that just needs a little polishing to really shine! Great job.
Beth LaBuff 05/04/10
ohh, great story... I enjoyed all of it's intricacies.
Mona Purvis05/05/10
This story exhibits an asset many writers can't buy, wonderful imagination. Take that gift and polish up the craft, you need to be writing.

Patricia Turner05/05/10
I can get past the punctuation glitches - you'll improve that with time. I agree that the creativity you showed in this will take you far as a writer. I too enjoyed all the elements of this story.
Catrina Bradley 05/05/10
I love the drama and suspense. The other commenters have covered the red ink, so I'll just tell you how much I enjoyed the plot and the development of your teen character, through your writing and in his life. Good job!!
harvestgal Ndaguba05/06/10
Awesome and clever plot, I loved it.
Connie Dixon05/06/10
Wonderfully creative entry. I encourage you to take advantage of all the encouraging red ink you have received and apply it on upcoming works. You should go far.