The Official Writing Challenge
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09/12/05
A prodigal daughter! Nice, original idea. This sentence--"just keep praying this is going to be one of the most difficult days in my life" needs a period or a semicolon after "praying", otherwise, it sounds like she is praying for a difficult day! Love the reconciliation at the end.
09/13/05
It's ok. I didn't really feel how she must feel or any other characters, for that matter. If you just tweeked it a little to put more of the character's feeling in, then it would be up there with the outstanding lot in this pile. :) Anyhow, Bravo and God bless.
09/14/05
I agree with what the two writers above said.
09/21/05
Beth, I want to encourage you with your writing. This was a nice take on the prodigal story, but it needed a little bit of tweaking to really get the message across. But that's what being a Level 1 writer is all about - having the opportunity to have a go, grow and develop.

I was acting as a Level 1 judge for this particular topic, and I did make a note of a couple of things in particular.

The opening two sentences of dialogue were a little confusing. Because it was on two separate lines, the reader didn't automatically register that it was the same person talking. To overcome that, you could have done it like this:

"“Sharon, Do you want coffee?”

Maggie watched her friend sitting at the table and staring into space. She knew that it was going to be a difficult day for Sharon, but had been praying that it would also be a wonderful day.

Still holding the coffee pot and waiting for a reply, Maggie tried again. "Hello! Do you want any coffee?"

That's just a rough idea of how to tie things together in a way that sets the scene and keeps the piece flowing in a smooth and clear way.

Another thing, always watch to start dialogue with a capital letter, for example, "Sharon looked up from her cereal and said, “just keep praying..."

That "just" needed to start with a capital. Also, as someone mentioned, you needed a fullstop after "praying."

Another thing that most of us fall into fairly easily. Keep an eye out for the word "just." If the sentence can stand without it, then leave it out. Like I said, it's a very easy crutch to lean on (I know I'm guilty from time to time). If you read through your story, you'll see that you use the word "just" rather a lot.

Anyway, it was a good story and with a bit of editing, it would have been even better. Be encouraged - I believe the ingredients are all there, and now it's a case of mixing everything together to get the perfect end result. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)