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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Day's End (01/01/14)

TITLE: Heaven on Earth
By Melissa Doerksen
01/08/14


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Heaven on Earth
Without a warning, our sixteen-foot fishing boat began being tossed around by the wind and waves in an unexpected competition of nature. Dark clouds overhead rumbled threats of bursting wide open at any moment. Glancing toward the nearest shoreline, I viewed the towering pines sweeping low and then frantically being shaken in the opposite direction. The waves slapped the aluminum craft mercilessly, followed by rolling wildly back to the jagged shoreline, crashing down with an apparent vengeance.

We had experienced summer storms before; however, never this sudden and vicious. As I quickly pulled on my windbreaker, the gales surrounding us almost gleefully snatched our hats right off our heads, throwing them clear across the lake. Within moments, the temperature dropped by ten degrees, darkness settled upon us, with sporadic blinding illumination streaking across the sky and downward.

Our island loomed in the distance, and as the motor sputtered against the onslaught of excessive water, we prayed for safety. Amazing how long a ride can be in these conditions. We plunged through the rollers, feeling almost at a standstill, when the clouds exploded with fury, large droplets ferociously drenching us. Coupled with the continuous spray across our faces, vision blurred, and the cold began to sear every fibre of our beings. I took up steering toward the island, while my husband began to bale unwanted water in the back of the boat.

At long last, the rocky docking area was straight ahead, only twenty feet or so. Mike tried to steer us safely into a location where the boat would not sustain extensive damage while still being tugged at and prodded by the lake now behind us. Using a paddle to guide our craft into a snug hollow, rather than directly atop the rocks, Mike then jumped to shore, carefully avoiding the treacherously slippery surroundings.

With the boat tied securely, we dashed for the cabin, eager to rid ourselves of wet clothes, start a fire, and gulp down some freshly brewed coffee. Not even sure how long we warmed up, but exhaustion clearly overcame us, and we drifted off for a short while, lulled by the storm outside and the toasty warmth of the crackling fire before us.

Aroused by the singing of birds, and slivers of sunshine sneaking through the slight openings of the gingham curtains, we stretched and headed out onto the veranda. Thank you Lord for providing us safety back to our island, and now for this glorious day’s end. As our eyes travelled the expanse of calm blue before us, we were stunned anew by the grandeur of God’s creation. It was difficult to comprehend the previous intense storm, as we viewed our serene location now. Life just could not get any better at this moment. Blue sky as far as the eye could see, gulls swooping down for lunch, the warmth of the sun tantalizing every sense. We sat down to sip a coffee, nibble on fresh fruit and jerky, and to simply enjoy the beauty of nature all around, that had returned to us at day’s end.

Indeed, life could not get better. Mike tucked a tiny daisy behind my ear and gave me that all too familiar smirk. We grabbed our fishing rods and headed down to the rocks below for some late evening shore casting, and to indulge in the magnificent sunset that God would be providing for us shortly. We knew He was in control all day; however, what blessed assurance when ending a day so perfectly.


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This article has been read 96 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Terry R A Eissfeldt 01/09/14
There's a lot of energy here, a lot of word pictures and action. Great potential.

One critique ( and only because it's been pointed out to me so many times!) is to watch the voice and tense. It shifts back and forth a few times which distracts from your otherwise gripping story.

Blessings as you continue in your writing adventures!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/09/14
This is quite lovely. You do a nice job of starting with the suspenseful storm that lures the reader in.

The little red ink I might offer would be to tighten your sentences just a bit. For example the opener could be something like this:
Without warning, the wind and waves pummeled our sixteen-foot fishing boat.
With such a limited word count, it's important to make every word count. Also by rearranging it a bit, I was able to turn it from a passive line to an active one.

Overall, though you did a fine job. You covered the topic in an interesting way while still delivering an important reminder. It's too easy for me to get caught up in the storms of the day and in my misery miss the beautiful gift of a sunset. I needed this reminder right now and thank you for sharing.
Jan Ackerson 01/09/14
As a Level 1 writer, you might not be aware of the free writing lessons available on the FaithWriters forums. This week’s lesson is on writing devotionals, and next week will cover writing on topic for the weekly challenge. Look for it at http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=67, or if you’re on Facebook, you can “like” Faithwriters Writing Lessons. I’d love to have your input into the conversation there!
CD Swanson 01/10/14
I enjoyed this entire piece, it pulled me in and kept my interest throughout the drama, while delivering a sweet ending.

God bless~
Jan Ackerson 01/10/14
Excellent job of using words that appeal to your readers' senses--you gave us a real appreciation of time and place.

My suggestion would be to give us a better sense of character--I didn't know who "we" were until nearly the end when you gave us Mike's name, and I still know very little about the two of you.

You're a writer who will do very well, and I look forward to reading more from you here.
Larry Whittington01/10/14
Tensions builds. Descriptions warn. Danger ahead. What now?

Safty reached.

Peace and rest.

Well told story.
Amelia Brown 01/12/14
A nail-biter indeed! Very riveting and well written.

I found it a bit hard to follow the "time-frame" however. After the characters awoke, I thought it was the other morning. I didn't know the time of day the story started; and when I heard bird singing and see the sunshine coming through the curtain, I assumed immediately it was the other moring. (saying something like: "The amazing sunset crept through the curtain" would indicate that it was evening.

Loevely story however, it grabbed my attention and held it through to the end.
Dusty Fontaine 01/14/14
The storm piques the reader's attention. The middle was a little light on description. The end was wonderful.

I might have divided the story up a little more even (beginning, middle, end) and showed more of their relief to get back to the cabin. But, this is your story, and I enjoyed it.
Theresa Santy 01/14/14
Wow, what a story! And a great one for this topic.

I love your attention to detail, and the second to last paragraph is my favorite.

One suggestion, especially for a piece as intense as this one, look for words that slow the action down or decrease the intensity of your phrases. These words are sometimes called "weasel" words because they steal energy from the sentence. These are words like just, began, being, apparent, had, and almost.

As an example, if "...while my husband began to bale..." was changed to "...while my husband baled..." the sentence would have a higher "action" feel.
Amelia Brown 01/16/14
Congrats!!!