The Official Writing Challenge
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10/11/08
Very nice! The untold story here--whatever has happened between Eric and Shelby--is a thread woven through this entire story, and even though the reader doesn't know exactly what has happened, you've made us care so much about this couple that it doesn't matter. Love the whisper of hope at the end. Super!
10/12/08
I love this, "under the endless acres of dark sky, even if it means passing over gravel and rock with only a shard of moon to guide me." I could see it! I've felt the "didn't feel like home" move and thought your guppy analogy was good. I had to sing theses carols in my mind as I read the words. :)
10/13/08
Well-written! It wasn't necessary to tell us what happened or why. Shelby's letter gives enough description to make the point without writing a list of woes.

My own preference would be to consider breaking up some of the long sentences. The first half of the letter is full of them. A few shorter ones can keep the eyes moving.

Nicely written. Easy to read. Understandable without being overly-descriptive. I really enjoyed it.
I enjoyed Shelby's voice. The emotions are vivid giving her great personality.
10/13/08
Very well written as usual, you are definitely a wordsmith.
My favorite line: No wonder it’s easier to find God in the country than in the city. In the city you saw what man created, but here you saw what He created. (SO FULL OF TRUTH).
It had so much story development that I had difficulty at times believing it to be a realistic letter (does that make sense?), but the ending and the mystery concerning their conflict works well in the letter format. Another solid entry, well done.

10/13/08
Wow, this letter has many layers! Very well written, with recipient of the the letter, the discord between them, and finally the purpose for the letter finally coming out at the end. I really enjoyed this. There was one part that I had to re-read for clarity - I was confused with all of her moving, but I think I was just reading too fast. :) Nice job!
10/13/08
Leaves the reader wanting more but this story is totally complete within itself! Good descriptive phrases - wonderful word pictures!
10/14/08
This was beautiful "yet the voices found seams and crevices and saturated them with goodwill and good news" I got so lost in the descriptive narration of the caroling I forgot that it was a letter. Very well done!
I felt like I knew Shelby, and I liked her very much. I enjoyed all the layers of your story and the hope at the end.
I somehow thought throughout the letter that Shelby was writing to someone overseas in the military or something like that. So imagine my surprise to find that she was offering hope of reconciliation at the end of her letter. I wouldn't change a thing though, it is beautifully written and makes perfect sense; an incredible lead-up, in an estranged relationship, to an invitation.
10/15/08
Lovely! I really like Shelby. And I love the mystery in here of what happened between them. I think that makes the story better than if it had been spelled out. Very well done!
10/16/08
I like it - a very unique piece. I love your writing - keep up the great work!
Your descriptions are simply wonderful! I particularly loved our voices rose up and over and around and through, filling the sky as if encapsulated in a snow globe. The story is a mystery and a love story all in one. Super job as always.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. Especially, this paragraph..

I only made it through three lines before I was pierced with something I can only describe as utter love. The stars winked at me, glittering on a background of navy blue velvet. The notion of big filled me with peace. The heavens, the Milky Way, my own acre of sky faced me. I didn’t know where one began and another ended, yet the voices found seams and crevices and saturated them with goodwill and good news, and oh, how I wanted to fall on my knees....

There is nothing like being out in nature, staring up the vastness of the heavens that declare his workmanship!
This scene is my Christmas fantasy......Great job. :-)