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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)

TITLE: And, my first point is
By dub W
05/03/10


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Rodney excitedly tried to open what he knew was his invitation to speak at the State Conference for Christian laity. “This is so cool.” He ripped at the envelope rather than tearing it from the corner. The result was that the enclosed letter sported a two inch long hole in the middle.

His wife, Patti, walked into the kitchen. “Whatcha got?”

“You remember, I told you about talking to Pastor Jeff about the big conference at the convention center.” He put the letter on the table and smoothed the folds. “Well, this is my invitation to speak on my new E-marketing idea, you know, the new evangelism.”

“What’s it say?” Patti appeared to trying to read the upside down letter.

“It says they are delighted that I volunteered to speak in one of the workshops.” He paraphrased the first paragraph. Then, his chin fell. “Oh.”

Patti leaned across the table. “Oh, what?”

“I have to send in a manuscript, a proposal, a preview of my presentation. They even sent criteria on this attached sheet.” He held up a second piece of paper, which also bore the offending split in the center. “It’s a call for papers.”

“It says, and I quote, ‘the manuscript should be no more than 1000 plus or minus 100 words.’” Rodney lowered the paper. “That’s some tight criteria.”

“You’re naïve. What they are saying is that you have to give them a description, and there are virtually no qualifiers, although they don’t want some bozo sending in their whole presentation. Surely, you can write a 1000 word simple manuscript.”

“Oh, I suppose, with God’s help.”

Patti settled into a kitchen chair. “Jeff has done these things before, ask him when you go to prayer breakfast tomorrow.”

“Yeah.” Rodney refolded the papers. “I’ll go a couple of minutes early, and catch him before the crowd arrives.”

The next morning Rodney arrived in the church kitchen at the same time as the cooks. “Hey guys.” He waved at the three men. “Gonna try and catch Jeff.” Then headed for the fellowship hall where he was sure he would find Pastor Jeff. Instead, Bob Bolden was seated at a long table with his son. Bob looked up when Rodney approached.

“Hey Rodney, last minute homework here. Robbie has a paper due. Know anything about outlines?” Bob laughed.

“Naw, I forgot more that stuff than I ever knew.” Rodney placed his Bible and his letter on a table and took a chair near the father and son.

Bob looked over his son’s shoulder. “Robbie, outlines are pretty easy, they’re simply what you want to write about. Go ahead and write down the main ideas of your essay.”

The young man seemed to think for a minute, and then began writing. After he had written a little Bob stopped him.

“Good you get it. You have four good ideas. Now write two ideas about each of the four ideas, you know, things that make up each of your main ideas.”

Rodney quietly scooted his chair closer to Bob.

Bob pointed at Robbie’s paper. “Good, now write something that supports that first sub point that you wrote.”

The letter fell on the floor and Rodney picked it up. He continued to watch Bob and his son for several minutes.

Finally, Bob stood up. “We gotta go. “ He turned to Rodney. “I’m gonna run him over to the school, then I’ll be back before we eat. Bob and Robbie trotted up the stairs to the parking lot.

Rodney leaned back in his chair just as Pastor Jeff appeared out of the kitchen.

“Rod, you want some coffee?” Jeff waved his cup. “They said you wanted to see me.”

Rodney held up the envelope. “I’ll pass on the coffee, but I just wanted to tell you that I got the invitation to the conference.”

“Congratulations, anything I can help you with?” Jeff approached Rodney’s table.

“Naw, I gotta get to work on my manuscript for the papers they want, but I am pretty sure I know how to build it.”

Jeff put his cup on the table. “Great. God is depending on bright new ideas, and you certainly have one.”

“Thanks, I’ll let you see the manuscript before I mail it.”

Jeff gave him a thumbs up and started shaking hands with other men entering the room.

Rodney sat back and smiled. “And my first point is.” He laughed. “Thanks Lord.”


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This article has been read 401 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 05/06/10
Love that last line. Nice job with voice too.

I found the character names pretty similar, and thus got confused as to who was saying what. Could just be me though.

Love the lesson.

Jan Ackerson 05/07/10
Cute little twist at the end.

I'd have liked something to help me invest a bit more in the MC--I didn't really get a sense of his personality.

Snappy and well-paced; I enjoyed reading this.
Mildred Sheldon05/08/10
I enjoyed this very much. Thank you.
Beth LaBuff 05/11/10
Oh, the things you can learn, or be reminded of... :) (I may file this info away for future reference myself!) :)
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/12/10
I liked the clever way you worked in the solution to the MC's problem, as well as the realization where his help really came from.(Hmmm, wonder how you knew so much about outlines?)
Carol Penhorwood 05/12/10
Entertaining and educational at the same time! Sounds like a great teacher to me!
Carole Robishaw 05/12/10
I enjoyed this one. We can get out insights in very unexpected places, if we are open to what God wants us to learn.
Rita Garcia05/12/10
A great read! Like others have said, I love the twist at the end.
Noel Mitaxa 05/13/10
Clever use of a conversation so the mc could get a handle on what he needed to know, even while he was stressed about his only perceived way of gaining it. So true to life.