The Official Writing Challenge
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01/24/08
What a lovely story and lots of excellent advice tucked in it.
01/25/08
Awesome descriptions, and I loved the peevish librarian line.
01/25/08
I liked this tender story, especially how the new "mom" prayed her way through.
What I missed, however, (probably thanks to that ol' word count,) was just what the breakthrough was, as it could not be accounted for by time.
01/25/08
Lovely, lovely story from the title through to the last line. I love that the little girl didn't soften through the fun day. And when she did, it wasn't a huge transformation. Very realistic.
01/25/08
This is so touching and tender. Great job with the topic. Well done.
01/26/08
A lovely reminder that no one can "buy" another's heart but we can give ours away free.

Each stroke a prayer--wonderful!
01/27/08
Love it. A reminder that children crave our love and our presence more than presents. So well written.
01/27/08
Charming story. Wonderfully touching lesson about love.
01/27/08
What a wonderful story!! I love the opening and the middle, and the end. :-) So full of love..
01/27/08
I really enjoyed this story-though it was a little sad-until the end! I like the "peevish librarian" line, too. It put an instant mental picture in my head. The ending is quite touching and tender.
01/27/08
One of the biggest differences tween me and you is, when I say I write a stinker, its a stinker bound for the back forty. When you say that, it finishes 9th instead of first or second. I really liked this story. Super emotion, enjoyable, believable characters and a nice ending, besides being extremely well written. God bless.
01/28/08
I like the modern day examples you used. It's very up-to-date with the stores that kids would LOVE. That helped tell the story a bunch, because for a child not to buy stuff from those places shows the child's misery and stubbornness. I love the affectionate use of "Tater-tot." It was the simple tender affection that won her over instead of the outlandish displays of bribery. I cried at the end picturing Tater-tot peek in and out at the doorway. Simply brilliant.
01/28/08
This contains some excellent wisdom for step-parenting (and even parenting!) I enjoyed your attention to detail. Realistically, it seems that it would take more time for such a change of heart, but I love the subtlety with which you demonstrated that a change had taken place. Truly masterful!
01/28/08
This put a big lump in my throat. Your writing is truly 'masterful.' No one tells a story better than you. And, once again, a very creative out-of-the-box approach to the topic.
01/28/08
Week after week you dig into a real family issue and create characters that are bleeding to be made fictional-flesh.
Great last sentence.
01/28/08
oh yeah, your dialogue makes this story work: the internal and spoken words - especially when they stop early or are used to give references beyond the action. Great example of that.
01/28/08
Wonderful story, Jan. This brought back memories when my husband and I first married, and I became instant stepmother to his 6-year-old son. Very good at showing how sometimes we can try too hard to win affection when being still is better.
01/28/08
What a very sweet story. It's also very creative take on the topic. I loved the beginning (I'm such a sap) at the wedding. ("Do I really get to keep him?") I felt bad for the MC, but was happy to see the breakthrough. Tatom will call her mom in no time.
01/28/08
What a day! That was definitely a lot to go through in one day (love the bit with the American Girl place), I felt her frustration and her disappointment. The smallest act at the end, with the hairbrush, that spoke volumes. Very, truly beautiful piece-reminding me of a dear little girl I know. ^_^
01/28/08
Beautifully tender. And the title is perfect :)
01/29/08
Wonderful, touching story Jan!! The last scene had me reaching for the Kleenex.
01/29/08
Tender and beautifully expressed from both perspectives, the daughter's and the step-mon's. The father's advise is well spoken, but the mother's heart perceives the truth and pierces the truth
01/30/08
There were so many scenes and so much characterization packed into this story I was amazed. You are a true Master.
01/30/08
I also liked the MC wanting to read the bedtime story. She could have gone to bed with an attitude, sulking, giving-up, but instead she recogized yet another opportunity to reach the child and went for it. Her character speaks volume about her commit to God, her husband, and the child.
01/30/08
A tender, beautiful story. The hairbrush was the perfect symbol. The little girl was so real that she stole my heart.
01/30/08
I love your story, from the title to the ending. Wonderful, wonderful entry!
02/04/08
Yours is a story many can relate to, a beautiful illustration of the topic. Thank you, Jan, for your comment on my last article and the reminder about using tense in writing. Appreciate your critique! Emily