The Official Writing Challenge
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07/12/12
Thank you for sharing your story with us. I did not know about the story of the first child born to English parents. You certainly had much to say.

One of the best things I can offer here, is what someone else told me, that is to "express" your story with a bit more of "showing". Example: When you described the Fried Chicken, and Apple Cobbler being good. Is there a story behind how it was made? Or, What about the people who attended, or activities went on? I hope this helps,and I enjoyed your piece. Thanks.
07/12/12
How blessed you are to have memories like that. My own family was scatterd here and there. Thank you for this beautiful piece and for sharing it. I almost felt like I was there!

God Bless, Lynn
07/12/12
Sounds like so much fun! I can tell how fondly you remember the event. It was a little repetitive, but the ending was beautiful:)
07/12/12
What a wonderful picnic memory you shared with us! You made me see what a special event Daniel's Day was! :)

I liked the way you ended your story, too! I look forward to many picnics in Heaven!
07/13/12
Lovely, touching and so well written. Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories. I enjoyed it.

God bless~
07/16/12
I enjoyed your entry. The best memories are always those with people we cared about. Your ending with being with Jesus puts the emphasis on what will make Heaven so wonderful - His presence for ever and ever.
07/17/12
Your title drew me in. I have struggled with a death phobia since I was a child. I think one of my fears was what if heaven is boring? As a child I often found church services to be a tad monotonous and picture heaven to be similar.

Try to do more showing than telling. The word was is a passive verb and by switching some of these out with active verbs will help your reader be able to paint a picture in her head. For example -- The Daniels Day picnic was for everyone with lineage in the family, no matter how distant. Can be switched up just a bit -- All relatives, no matter how distant, reveled in the Daniels' (oh Daniels should have an apostrophe at the end to show it is their picnic) picnic by gorging themselves with fabulous food or entertaining everyone by playing a favorite game. (That's probably not the best example but I hope it shows you a bit of what I'm trying to say.) Another example with a similar thread would be your opening sentence. Instead of asking the reader a question it might be more of a grabber if you describe the MC musing with something like-- As a young child, I spent countless hours imagining the fun I'd have in Heaven.

I liked your take on the topic. Plenty of people wrote about family picnics this week but you made your story different and original by comparing it with heaven. I can't even begin to tell you what an impact your words have on my fears. I do have one question--Did you ever come across Andy Griffith during those wonderful days spent in his hometown island? Thank you for taking me back to a idyllic time. I think it's so important to share those memories lest we forget. I'm sure this story will be a treasured keepsake for many years in your family.
07/17/12
I love thinking about what heaven will be like! If you've never read the book, "Heaven is For Real", you should. I love anything that gives a glimpse of the glories of heaven, so thank you for your piece. It was definitely a nice twist to the topic.

In addition to passive verbs (is, was) I noticed you used a lot of prepositions (on, in, to). You can rephrase some sentences to eliminate some of them.

Example: As a boy in the 1950s, I always looked forward to the annual Daniels Day picnic in the fishing village of Wanchese, on Roanoke Island, in North Carolina.

Combined you have six prepositions and passive verbs connecting all your thoughts. It bogs the reader down and is not very interesting. An alternative way to say the same thing would be: As a boy in 1950s North Carolina, I always looked forward to the annual Daniels Day picnic in the Wanchese fishing village on Roanoke Island.

I eliminated two of the words in question, yet you could take it a step further with Shann's advice, by changing "looked forward to" to "relished". This adds a strong verb and makes the sentence more interesting, while "showing" how you felt about the picnic.

You had a whole slew of prepositions in the paragraph about Virginia Dare Day as well. Keeping up with the information being given in that paragraph was a bit of a chore. It would flow better and be more easily understood if it were less wordy, which is partially done by eliminating prepositions and passive verbs.

Example: The picnic was held on August nineteenth, Virginia Dare Day. This annual holiday celebrates the first American child birthed to English parents on Roanake Island. Virginia Dare–born August 19, 1587–was part of Sir Walter Raleigh’s Lost Colony, which disappeared without a trace sometime between 1588 and 1590.

So there are a few things to chew on when writing your next piece. I do love the idea that heaven is a picnic and you painted a lovely picture of an interesting and unique annual picnic. Thank you!
07/19/12
There are some big ticks here. First of all you are on subject. Something I often have trouble with.

Secondly, you wrestle with a difficult subject. What happens when we die? You answered this without insulting our intelligence. For that I'm grateful.

If you want to be a serious writer don't be afraid to ask a trusted group of people to give you feedback. Some of my harshest critics have been my biggest help.

You have something to say. That much is obvious. Keep writing.
07/19/12
Congratulations! God bless~
07/19/12
Congratulations! God bless~
07/19/12
Congratulations! God bless~
07/19/12
Congratulations! God bless~
07/19/12
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR Highly Commended PLACEMENT!!!