The Official Writing Challenge
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Date
06/22/06
Great phrases: "...his skin lay fragile on his bony frame..." "...A smile warmed her face..."

This broke my heart, but I was gladdened by the infusion of hope at the end. You did a marvelous job of showing the mother's transformation.
A good article that drives home the effects of smoking during pregnancy. Good job on the writing. I could almost smell the smoke.
06/25/06
Really very nice. Your descriptions were vivid and I too loved the way you ended it with the twist of hope. Thank you!
06/26/06
It seemed too abrupt - the woman accepting being a mother (that is just my opinion). But God does work miracles. Good descriptives in this article with a view of smoke-harmed children.
06/26/06
You did a fantastic job weaving this story, I really like that you ended it on a note of hope.
06/26/06
Well written story, be careful with adverbs as lead sentences. This is a strong entry.
Loved your last paragraph. Oh how true this can be.

Blessings & May our Lord continue to guide your quill as you write for the glory of HIM.

Trina<><
06/26/06
Hi, Jen,

This is a fascinating perspective on the topic. Great creativity here! I was assuming this was written in a North American context - are there really still hospitals where people are allowed to smoke indoors? (That's not a judgement on your writing - just an honest, bewildered question.)

You asked for advice, so I'll give you everything I've got.

My picky ears would've preferred a different word instead of "encourage" and "discourage" in the same sentence. Perhaps change "discourage" to "belittle". And the very next sentence after that was missing the question mark. One other tiny detail - in the last paragraph, watch "affect" vs. "effect". A general rule of thumb is that affect is a verb, effect is a noun - so it should be "...what kind of effect...".

The only other thing I can say is that I think a bit more dialogue (even just a couple of lines) between the nurse and the mother would soften the mother and endear her to us just a bit more before you end. The ray of hope right at the end was a great way to finish, but if you could illustrate a bit more of the change that the nurse saw in her, rather than just telling us that there was a change, then we'd appreciate the ending even more.

Overall, Jen, I think you've done a great job with this piece! It flows nicely, it's realistic narrative, it has a great point, and it's a creative take on the topic. Hurray for you!!!
This was very creative. I like the change in the end. Dialogue would have added a bit to it, but it has merit as it is.
06/27/06
To answer Anita's question...No Smoking in hospitals these days in USA: could be this scene was long before the Ban On Smoking occurred. Good story. Kudos.
06/28/06
I really liked this line, "If his father was not in his life, would he come to rely on the One who would never leave him?" and how you contrasted the imperfect fathers on earth to the perfect Father.
12/20/06
I guess the question is if the mother understood the gravity of her smoking as well as the nurse. At that age, everything is an adventure. But there is always hope and I appreciate your ending it with hope.