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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Critique/Review (for writers) (05/06/10)

TITLE: What do you Mean?
By Sandra Carter


She read the comments on the back page of the paper in disbelief and anger swelled up in her.

There was a B minus at the top of the page and the words, “You did not write this paper!”

She yelled within herself, “What does she mean by this? “I did write it!”

The origins of the paper began to flow through her mind.

The assignment was to write a three to five page typed, double-spaced paper for her English class. She had gotten the assignment at least two months prior and had plenty of time, but had put it off. There were other things she preferred to do. Being a teenager there was always something better to do than a paper for English class.

As the time drew near she reluctantly began to work on the assignment. She had difficulty finding a topic at first. Each time she would start to write the paper seemed to come to a dead end. The words would not come and she would give up in frustration.

The due date for the assignment drew near and she still had not finished. As a matter of fact, she had hardly even begun. What was she going to do? She had never missed an assignment and certainly with this being the end of the school year, it was not the time to start. This paper was a large portion of her grade. She knew she had to do it.

It was finally the night before and she had no paper, but she resolved within herself she would write one, even if she had to stay up all night. Little did she know this is what she would have to do. She knew it would not be easy but somehow she had to do this. She could not accept a failing grade.

She made herself sit down to write. She still did not know what to write, but slowly the paper began to come together. It was not without effort, hard work, and her occasional cries of, “Oh Lord, please help me.”

At midnight she was so sleepy her eyes began to burn. She desperately wanted to fall into her bed and sleep, but could not for fear of an unfinished paper.

She worked until three in the morning combating periods of frustration mixed with fatigue. Her head began to pound from stress and lack of sleep.

Throughout the ordeal she could not understand why the assignment was so difficult.

Finally she finished! She was encouraged and thought the paper came out pretty good.
Now it had to be typed.

She pulled out the old manual typewriter, typing paper, and the typing eraser. She was a decent typist, but this needed to be without errors and any corrections would have to look smooth. She did make errors which frustrated her immensely. Tiredness tried to overtake her, but she was determined to get it done. Not turning the paper in was not an option.

Finally at 6:00 A.M. she finished including the required title page and decided to lie down for the few minutes until it was time to get up and get dressed. The paper was done after pulling an all-niter. She set the alarm clock and crawled into bed.

After reading the teacher’s comments, she decided she would have to find this teacher and defend herself. She knew the work she had put into the paper. If the teacher thought the paper was that good, did that mean that she had writing skills? Did being pushed to her limits make the best come out of her?

She diligently looked for the teacher, but could not find her. Every time she would go to the classroom there would be no one there. She finally decided to leave it alone and accept the grade she was given. She just wanted to let the teacher know it was her own work and no one else had written it for her. She did it through determination and the grace of God.

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This article has been read 478 times
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Sara Harricharan 05/13/10
Ouch! That is a hard thing to swallow, when a writer puts so much effort--blood, sweat and tears kind of effort, into a piece of work, only to be told that their brilliance is not their own.

You did a great job of showing how your MC struggled through the whole writing process and it tied together nicely to explain by showing, rather than telling, why it was such a blow when the B was received. Thanks for sharing!
AnneRene' Capp05/13/10
You did a great job of conveying the inner turmoil that accompanies a writer's struggles with deadlines. Liked the MC's perseverance and loathed the untrue accusation of it not being her own work. Even got knots in my stomach for her, so, yes...good job touching this reader!
Theresa Santy 05/15/10
I enjoyed this one, and I felt the main character's angst throught the entire piece. (I had a similar experience in a college Accounting course. My homework answers happened to exactly match the answers in the back of the book!)

One thing I'd like to mention is this statement, "she yelled within herself." The 'within' throws me for some reason. Maybe something like she screamed silently, or, inside she was screaming. And with, "resolved within herself." I think you can just say 'she resolved'.

This was a very relatable piece, and a fresh and unique take on the subject. You did a great job running emotion throughout it.
Mildred Sheldon05/16/10
I could feel the MC's pain. You put blood, sweat and tears into an article and got very little feed back or a grade such as she received from the teacher who was not to be found. Good job.