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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Editor (05/27/10)

TITLE: The Missing Word
By Sharon Henderson


Advanced Grammar and Composition was the title of the course. It was my senior year in high school and English was one of my best subjects so why wouldn’t I take a course like this? I did very well in the class. Until. Until the final assignment.

Our teacher asked us to write on the topic “Our Ten Year Reunion” and to ‘predict’ where everyone would be by then and what they would be doing with their lives. She had taught us the craft of excellence in writing and I loved to write. This was an assignment where I could not fail. Or could I?

I took great care to include each person in the class and predict their lives with detail. One I even got right. Janet T did indeed marry Scott W. That was an easy one though because everyone knew they would. I even made sure that I included Mrs. D in my predictions. She was one of my favorite teachers and I wanted to compliment her and let her know what I thought of her. For her I wrote, “There is Mrs. D looking as as ever!” Yes, just like that. That’s exactly what I wrote.

I was not thrilled with my grade on this assignment. Understatement! I was extremely disappointed with my grade on this paper. How could this be? Then I saw them. Her notes by my prediction for her were “as what as ever? Mean? Ugly? Hard?” NO! NO! Oh my! How could this be? What was meant to be a high compliment “as beautiful as ever” turned into my demise as far as this assignment was concerned. It was too late. I could never go back and get this right. Never go back in time and ensure that my message was clear and correct. Too late.

From that day forward I knew the importance of proofreading and editing your work. It was years later before I learned the trick of ‘reading it backwards to catch mistakes‘ like these. That day I learned a valuable lesson. Everyone needs an editor! Everyone!

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This article has been read 538 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mildred Sheldon06/03/10
Great read. Beautifully written and right on point. Good job and God bless.
E.J. Swanson06/04/10
I love it! We can all relate to this one. While helping a group of high school kids do a school cookbook I made the worst mistake of my writing life. I was their typist. There was a lovely recipe for "Crab Dip". It was beautifully illustrated by art students with a crab diving off a diving board. Several teachers helped "proof-read the recipe and were undoubtedly impressed by the art work and the recipe made it into 500 copies as "Crap Dip". Thankfully it could be corrected with a fine point black pen by making the "p" into a "b". Isn't it amazing how things show up after 500 copies are made?
Susan Montaperto06/05/10
Thank you for a true story that is a great example of why editors are needed. Keep Writing.
Colin Swann06/10/10
Enjoyed your story. A good lesson here for all writers who want to improve. Thanks.
Rachel Phelps06/13/10
Cute story. How true that sometimes one word can make such a difference.
Ruth Stromquist06/14/10

Aahh...that's sad. When the MC was trying so hard to encourage the teacher and strengthen her. A touching story, well written.
Jan Ackerson 07/27/11
Sharon, this story tickles me, and I'm going to feature it on the Front Page Showcase for the week of August 29. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page, and congratulations!
Beth LaBuff 08/30/11
I enjoyed the compelling way you told your story, and smiled at your omission. This was so much fun to read. :)