The Official Writing Challenge
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What a lovely story and lots of excellent advice tucked in it.
Awesome descriptions, and I loved the peevish librarian line.
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.
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.
This is so touching and tender. Great job with the topic. Well done.
A lovely reminder that no one can "buy" another's heart but we can give ours away free.

Each stroke a prayer--wonderful!
Love it. A reminder that children crave our love and our presence more than presents. So well written.
Charming story. Wonderfully touching lesson about love.
What a wonderful story!! I love the opening and the middle, and the end. :-) So full of love..
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Week after week you dig into a real family issue and create characters that are bleeding to be made fictional-flesh.
Great last sentence.
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.
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.
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.
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. ^_^
Beautifully tender. And the title is perfect :)
Wonderful, touching story Jan!! The last scene had me reaching for the Kleenex.
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
There were so many scenes and so much characterization packed into this story I was amazed. You are a true Master.
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.
A tender, beautiful story. The hairbrush was the perfect symbol. The little girl was so real that she stole my heart.
I love your story, from the title to the ending. Wonderful, wonderful entry!
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