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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Writer’s Skill/Craft (04/22/10)

TITLE: Crafting Jo
By Joan Campbell
04/27/10


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Abdiel glanced nervously at the Spec - a Writer.

This was only his second solo assignment as an SCE (Senior Character Engineer). He recalled, as a junior, assisting Jezoar with a writer. Their department’s top engineer had made it look easy.

Relax, he told himself - the Master had done the real work. All he had to do was follow the step-by-step directions. He glanced at the photos on the Writer’s profile. If he had still been in “Features”, he could have done something with that stubby little nose. His Roman noses were considered the best. “Irrelevant externals,” he muttered. This was what really counted.

He put the blank character chip into the drive and glanced at the first Spec item: “Creative”. Easy - every model received a high creativity quotient, although many didn’t use it. Jezoar said their world had a way of crushing it out of them. He hoped this model wouldn’t let that happen – she’d need it.

Jo sat in the garden, revelling in the beauty and peace around her. “It’s so lovely, Lord,” she whispered. As she studied the perfectly shaped leaves and listened to the birdsong, a seed of an idea settled deep inside her.

The second item was “Observant”. He tapped in the relevant code.

Next was “Driven”. Abdiel had to refer to the manual for this, since there were many different kinds of drive. He found it on page 128: “A writer’s drive is an urge to put words to paper and leave a written legacy. Often starts in childhood. Undiminished by age.”

How would she describe those clouds? Drifting…wafting? And those leaves? Rustling - a fine, ‘salsa’ word. Oh, she was doing it again - crafting word pictures in her mind! And, as usual, she had the irrepressible desire to write it down. Jo knew better than to fight it and grabbed a pencil.

Item four: Patient. Her rating wasn’t as high as he would have expected. He recalled Jezoar giving that writer, Oscar, the maximum patience allotment. This one, however, would have to develop it. He glanced at her profile again: two kids – that should do the trick.

Jo glared at the rogue sentence, wondering if it needed a comma. Hadn’t Oscar Wilde spent an entire morning on a poem, only to take out a single comma…which he then put back again in the afternoon? Well, she wasn’t going to get that hung up on a comma.

The next items were “Confident” and “Thick-skinned”. Abdiel swallowed uneasily. This was where he went so wrong on his last assignment, mistakenly giving the politician a double portion. No, he would be very careful with these – rather too little, than too much.

She read over the first stanza again. Horrible! What made her think she could do this? All her big dreams to impact the world with her writing - what nonsense, when she couldn’t even write a simple poem. Face it Jo, you just don’t have what it takes.

The second-last item, Focus, caught Abdiel off guard. It was rated at “FiX”. He double-checked it in the tables. Could it be a typo? No, of course not! It was the Master, for heaven’s sake. Although He hadn’t found it easy converting from a manual to a computer system, He’d never yet made a mistake. This, Abdiel thought as he reluctantly put in the code, could cause some mayhem in the woman’s life. Hopefully she had been matched with someone patient.

A small voice broke through Jo’s reverie: “Mommy, the kitchen’s smoking.”

The rice! She had put it on ages ago. As she stumbled to the kitchen and pulled the smouldering pot off the stove, Jo berated herself for becoming so fixated again. She grabbed a packet of two-minute-noodles from the cupboard. Roy would understand.


Abdiel smiled as he read the last item: “Faith”. Critical, if her writing was to bring any glory to the Master. He tapped in the last code, before pressing “Execute Programme.”

He’d keep an eye on this Jo. He’d done much better with her than with the politician. The Master would be pleased.

Jo read the last lines:

The sunset sky, shining with an array of hues
Silently declares your creativity.
And I wonder if you crafted me
From such a vast palette of colours.
Forgive me for repressing my creative radiance
For feeling unworthy
When I am shaped in your very own image.


Not exactly Oscar Wilde, but she liked it.

Better still, she sensed God’s delight.



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This article has been read 528 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 04/29/10
I must admit this didn't grab me at first (thought it was going in the sci-fi direction), but am glad I kept reading. I found this to be fun, creative and entertaining once I got past the opening paragraphs.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/30/10
It took me a bit to understand everything that was going on, but I think that's due to my tired brain and inability to sleep. As I read on the message became clearer and the poem at the end was beautiful.
Jackie Wilson04/30/10
My favorite part is the rice burning, I can totally relate to the one-track-mind syndrome!
Adrie Zandbergen05/01/10
Why didn't I 'get' it the first time I read it?? Every time I read it now, I think how brilliant the piece is. The specifications of a writer, illustrated in the cursive. I hope other people are better 'readers' than I am.
Eliza Evans 05/02/10
I had to read this a couple of times to get on the "same page" but I LOVE IT!!!

Super fun, creative and clever.


Very nice poem at the end.
Ruth Stromquist05/03/10
I had trouble with the first few paragraphs too, trying to figure out what was going on. However, once I finally caught on, it was great and went smoothly. I think you just need to figure out something to make it clearer to the reader earlier. Really enjoyed the way you alternated this guy's assigning various character traits with snapshots of the writer's life. That worked tremendously well. And the poem at the end was an awesome finish.
Adrie Zandbergen05/03/10
Abdiel, the angel and Jezoar the Maker. That last name, when said out loud, is very clever.
Carol Slider 05/03/10
A well-crafted description of how a piece writing develops, interspersed with an effective "Heaven's-eye view". I enjoyed reading this!
Sarah Elisabeth 05/05/10
So many layers here, wow!

Well crafted in every way.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/06/10
Congratulations in placing in the top 15 in your level and in the top 30 overall.