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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hotel/Motel (09/12/05)

TITLE: Hotel/Motel (i)
By Debra Dotson


The sign was flashing “Hotel/Motel” I’m driving on deserted road miles from people and I’m tired and cold. I think, do I stop? Do I chance it? Maybe this is like an old movie, The Bates Hotel and I will be stabbed by some crazy man that has his dead mother sitting in a room with him. Or do I trust in Jesus, that He will take care of me, in every way.

So I decide to say a quiet prayer and close my eyes as I pull into the place and realize there are no other cars in the parking lot. Do I begin to worry once again or do I have the faith that Jesus heard my prayer and He won’t leave me nor forsake me.

I hold my breath and quietly walk up to the door and ring the bell sitting on the desk. After a time, no one comes, my mind begins to work overtime, I rang it again. Still silence, then just as I am turning to face the door, I hear a faint voice say, “Welcome sweetheart, would there be one or two?” At that point I was afraid to turn around for fear of what I might see, but I slowly turned and there in front of me was a small woman, reminding me of my grandmother, with a rosary around her neck and a bible tucked up under one arm. I sighed in relief.

I said there is only me. What happened in the next few hours I will never forget. This tiny lady and I talked through the night about Jesus and His miracle working power. She shared with me how her husband had died and she only had what she knew, the Hotel/Motel. I felt such a sense of God’s presence around her and really was sad that the sun came up and I had to be on my way. I felt as if the Lord made this possible. I knew He had given me exactly what I needed that night, hope that He will make all things good no matter how bad they seem and to trust Him through the darkness, there will always be a little light shining where we least expect it.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 09/19/05
You have some inconsistencies with tense here, but an interesting little vignette. I'd like to see it expanded, to hear more of the conversation with the old woman, and to develop her character more.
sandra snider09/20/05
very nice. A couple of things: "I felt as if the Lord made this possible." You could probably delete that sentence. It adds nothing to the story and the reader is already aware that this was all God's doing. Also, the final sentence is way too long with run-on ideas and poor punctuation. the story needs to end on a stronger note. I agree with the above critique in that you could have expanded more on the conversation you had with this dear woman. What did she say that ministered to you, and you to her? Try level 2 next time!
M'Kayla Kelly09/20/05
Heh-heh. This is exactly what happens when we watch horror movies! This is a good story and it would be even better if you gave us more details, stretch it out a little. Blessings!
Deborah Porter 09/27/05
Debra, you have a very relational style which, with polish, will work well. Now though, as has been said, you just need to watch some of those run on sentences. The first one for example, where there needs to be a break between the flashing hotel/motel sign, and the bit about "I'm driving..."

The other problem is that your tense changes, which is probably because you started writing in what is quite a hard tense - as though the action is happening right now. The sort of thing we mean by tense problems is seen in the third paragraph where you first "ring" the bell (which is right for the tense), but then you "rang" it again (which is wrong for the tense - it's past tense).

These are all things that we learn as we develop our writing skills and they are common mistakes.

One other thing though, please don't feel pushed by one of the comments to move up to Level 2. You are a quite legitimate beginner and deserve the right to grow and develop your skill, then shine on this level, before moving up to where the competition is much stronger for a level champion award. As well as writing, the best advice I can give you is to spend time on the Message Boards here and learn from some of the others who hang around there, and also to read a lot of other material. It's a great way to pick up what does and doesn't work. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)