The Official Writing Challenge
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03/13/08
I love this! I love the descriptions of the farm animals and I love the relationship between the man and the woman. You communicated it all so well! Good job, my friend!
Laury
03/14/08
First of all, great story!
One thing confused me. MC was Hank or Henry all the way through the story, then near the end it read: Robert was at Velma'a side in seconds. Other than that, a pleasure to read!
03/15/08
Sweet story. I liked it. However....

Red ink? Needs some "oomph" to make it memorable. Some humor perhaps, or tightening up so that it doesn't become mundane and long drawn out for the reader.
You asked - I delivered. (*.*)!
03/15/08
This was very cute. Re. red ink--take out a Thesaurus and change some words so that, e.g. instead of whistling a cheerful tune, you have Hank piping a bouncy melody through his teeth and rounded lips etc. it's always good to avoid standard phrases many writers use and makes your writing more unique.
03/16/08
I LOVED this! Yes, there was the name change and a couple of places where the wording could have been slightly different etc... But the "feel" of this piece is absolutely lovely. Perhaps because I have memories of this kind of thing it really resonated with me! I could see, hear, feel and smell everything you described. And it is a great illustration of the topic as well.
03/16/08
Great job with the atmosphere.

I'd introduce the conflict earlier; conflict is what pulls the reader along.

I like the relationship you depict between the husband and wife.
03/16/08
Great descriptions. I agree with Jan about conflict earlier, but this is still lovely. Very nice, Shirley!
This was such a lovely story.
I loved the descriptions of the morning and the farm animals. The ending was a real surprise. Well done girl!
03/16/08
Yep, you had me. Didn't see the surgery coming. The couple seemed so endearing, just thought it was a nice loving story. Good job.
I loved your vivid descriptions, your kittys, and how you showed the depth of Hank and Velma's love.

I think, perhaps, you were using two aspects of "life" in the title, which is nice, but perhaps something else, I'm not sure what, might have made a more captivating title.
A very picky detail. Hank brought back eggs and flowers. Did he give all the milk to the cats, or do I just not know what is done with milk on a farm?

I like how you foreshadowed Hank's heart problem as he looked over the farm before breakfast, along with the other hints that something significant was concerning the two of them. This was a very enjoyable read.
03/17/08
I really enjoyed this. Red ink? I kept wondering where the story was going. Hinting at the coming day with its concerns would have helped move things along, without taking away from it. This made me remember things from when we had animals to care for, and how much I enjoyed it.
Names of the amimals were cute and your other details quite engaging. I'd change one word. They "ambled" into the sprawling kitchen. I think of ambling as something down out of doors. Loved the sentiments at the end and how he had made arrangements to help her out while he recovered.
This was a cute story. I really liked how the farmer and his wife had kept their love strong even after all of those years.

I was wondering where the topic was, and then I read the part about the surgery at the end, and it all made sense.

I liked this Shirley. Thank you for sharing!
03/18/08
I enjoyed the read of this picturesque story. It lulled me throughout and stung me in the end. Life is fragile.
Very sweet story. You have some great descriptions.

I noticed that others catched the name thing. I often change my characters' names several times before I settle on one. Do you have "Find and Replace" on your word processor? I bet you do. (Under EDIT). Just put "Find: Hank, Replace: Henry and it will find them all. Just want to pass on that trick.

I think some hints of the conflict would hav been nice. I was ready for some action/conflict as he walked around his farm.

Great job. Keep it up!
03/18/08
Delightful!
03/19/08
This was wonderful...you touched almost every sense with your vivid descriptions. I loved the line about squirting the cats with the milk!
The only additional red ink I could humbly offer: I had to re-read the dialogue at the end; I was unsure of who was speaking, or who was sick until Hank mentioned caring for the animals. But it could just be me and the late hour:)
This was good. I enjoyed all the description and the husband/wife relationship. I got a little confused on who was having surgery and it popping in there suddenly, but just loved this.
03/19/08
Oh, what a sweet view of this darling couple! I loved it, especially the descriptions you had with the sunrise and while he went to milk Greta. (and those adorable cats-cute names!)

RED INK: I think you changed Hank to Henry and then back to Hank. The first line of dialouge about the rooster, I'm guessing that's Velma, but it seems like the line belongs to Hank because an action belonging to him follows it. Otherwise, good stuff! ^_^
I really enjoyed your descriptions. I almost felt as if I were on the farm. The conflict seemed to hit a bit late in the story and with a small word count you had to wrap it up quickly. You did so very well but it could have happened a little sooner.
Absolutely wonderful descriptions. I could hear, see, feel and taste it all. I giggled when I read the name Meadow Muffin.
I'm going to be a bit of a rebel here and say I liked the fact that you left the conflict or the "meat" of the story until very late in your entry. It kept me reading wondering where it was going. I had NO idea,and I like surprises. The descriptive read along the way to get there was very nice, too.
Tererric job of mood and scene setting and the love between the two was tangible, yet subtle, which I really liked and takes skill on the writer's part to do. I knew something was going to happen, because the front part of the story was too sanquine, and with your descriptiions, dialogue, etc., I had a hunch you were leading up to something memorable and I wasn't disappointed. I would say, kudos for great writing and a tereffic story. And, yes the use of a thesarus can come in handy from time to time.
You've already all the red ink you need. Change the name, and for me the story was perfect, excellent poetic prose. It is a beautiful vignette of farm life, with the quiet before the storm. You painted a wonderful picture of the scene in the barn with your imaagery. You also showed the love of the couple magically for me. Great job!
03/24/08
I grew up on a milk farm so I REALLY enjoyed your descriptions. The relationship between the couple was so endearing. You've got plenty of red ink, but if you want a tiny bit more, you need a comma after "life" here - "Hank loved everything about life and early mornings were". :) I loved this story!