The Official Writing Challenge
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I could feel your happiness in your 1979 Christmas..

I feel tuned in to all that family love..LOL

When my 14 grandchildren come for Christmas and bring their parents...LOL
I feel the love bouncing off the walls!

Have a Happy Christmas, 2008!

11/24/08
Loved the "English" - surprised me that she was a she - can't imagine going several places for one holiday - guess our family was smaller. You took us there!
11/24/08
The dialect really adds to this story and I think you did a great job with it. I got confused as to the timing, but that was my fault - I missed the little word "had" early on. I was also suprised to find out the MC was a girl - I don't know if you did it that way on purpose or not, but if I'd known earlier on I would have pictured HER differently. I like the ending and her surprise gift. Nice writing!
I see the strength of this story as it's atmosphere. Your MC seemed to have an authentic child's voice.
In my opinion, which is by no means expert, the conflict was nominal and was resolved too quickly. If this is a true reminiscence, that's fine, but if it is fiction, grabbing the reader with conflict earlier in the story might take it to a more engaging climax.
11/25/08
Honestly...
When I first saw this it didn't grab me. The opening line wasn't very strong and I looked down and saw the word Bubba, and didn't bother reading. But when you asked for comments I decided to have another look.
You did a very good job of creating an authentic child's voice, and the descriptions are very atmospheric. I thought there were one or two adult turns of phrase though (e.g. bouncing off the walls) which didn't fit with the voice.
The ending is lovely, but I agree with a previous commentator that somehow the suspense doesn't build up early enough for the climax to reach its full potential.
Honestly... no it doesn't stink! Let's both keep experimenting and honing our skills.
11/26/08
Nice job on the dialect....sounds rather authentic! Since I knew it was you, I assumed a girl MC, but it wasn't obvious for most of the piece. Your buildup to the final gift was drowned out in all the different scenes....for Challenge writing it's better to focus on one scene and describe it fully. I did enjoy reading this piece; it's a nice recollection of events. Good work!
Since most of my family talk with a strong southern accent, I wouldn't need your written clues to the wording - that's the way I would read it anyway! lol You had me wanting to give the MC a hug as she watched her brother stack up all his packages. Then being sent to her room, with TEARS, - beastly! I was delighted she had such a wonderful surprise. You really did an excellent job capturing this setting. :)
I liked this and think it could be developed to even greater potential. Personally, I would have done away with the dialect and told the story simply, keeping the wonderful reflective manner it is presented in. There were a lot of "sub" stories going on and the original story could be strengthened by focusing more on that. What is evident, too is the love this family shared!
I personally liked the accent. I felt like it might have been overdone in spots, but it kept me engaged in the story, and I could hear the little girls voice in my head as I read.

A lot is going on in this piece. At times I had a hard time keeping track of it all. I think that taking one or two events and focuses primarily on them would help avoid confusion. Of course that is only my opinion. I still think this was a cute story, and I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing.