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

TITLE: Watch the Next Step... It's a Doosey
By Gerald Shuler


The cool night breeze is refreshing as you sit alone on the moonlit veranda, reading the last of your finally finished manuscript. Finished, you think. What a wonderful word… finished. Thank you Lord for giving me the inspiration for my first book. You lay the pages beside you and rub your eyes. It has been a long, tiring day.

Sleep comes easily and you find it impossible to not dream of your soon coming position as a world famous best-selling author. In your dream you are pressed from all sides by admiring fans, begging for your autograph. Of course, you oblige them all. You love the attention. So what if it throws you late for your appointment with the editor? The fans come first.

Once you awaken, though, the reality of life takes hold. You realize you had only had a pleasant dream. You don’t have any fans and you certainly don’t have an editor. The only thing facing you is the need to get to your job at the factory on time. You have no choice but to clock in and spend twelve hours sanding the burrs off of drilled holes in airplane parts. The boredom of your day is almost more than you can tolerate, but you do tolerate it. Your manuscript is finished. Your future will be different.

At least you hope it will be different.

The long drive home in bumper to bumper traffic gives you time to reflect on your new book. You can almost hear the voices of all the influential book reviewers.

“Written with a flair not seen in years.” Says one.

“This dynamic book shines like none before it.” Nice reference to the title. You thank God again for inspiring even the title, Dynamic Discipleship.

Finally, you get past the traffic and arrive home. You read the manuscript one more time to make sure it doesn’t need any more revisions. How did you miss that one? You rush to the computer and add a comma between ‘and’ and ‘besides’ on page 239. Wait… maybe it was correct the way it was. You use Grammar Check and then remove the comma. A good writer would have already know not to use a comma, you think. Maybe I should send this someplace to be checked before I submit it to a publisher.

You put your manuscript in the top drawer and then you fall into your normal after-work routine. You take out the trash. Then you boil hotdogs and eat beans & wieners for supper. You watch the latest episode of Wanna-Be-Idols, then you shower and go to bed.

Again, you dream of your manuscript, but this time adoring fans are nowhere to be seen. You are being chased mercilessly by seventy-five lawyers. You are being sued because certain fictitious characters used as illustrations in your book sounds too much like the neighbor who lives down the street. You have only met him once and he was definitely not the basis of your illustrations. It will cost millions to prove it, though. Your manuscript has ruined your life.

Thankfully, even bad dreams end. You get up and repeat your boring day at work.

The manuscript stays safely in the top drawer of your dresser for several days that somehow becomes months. You receive a promotion at work that requires even more commitment. Your hard work is finally paying off. Somehow, the commitment to your manuscript hasn’t fared so well. Without you seeing it happen, the months have turned to years and the manuscript is now buried by all of your socks and underwear.

More years pass and retirement is forced upon you. It isn’t an easy life because work is all you knew. The wife has passed on and the kids are all grown. This house is too big for you. It is time to down-size, so you start packing for a move to a small house on the lake. As you pack your socks and underwear you notice, for the first time in years, the manuscript that you had so enjoyed writing. You flip through the yellowed pages and remember the fervor you had put into writing it. Why had you never sent it in to see if it could be published? How had it gotten lost in the socks? Oh, well. It’s too late now. You toss it in a box and move it to your lake home.

That is how the world missed what God had shared.

Shame, shame on you.

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This article has been read 965 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jackie Wilson05/06/10
Oh, this is too true, happens all the time. In fact, I'm guilty right now!! Thanks for the nudge in this very effective piece. (Now where did I put that book of mine?)
Joan Campbell05/07/10
I liked your different use of "you" here - unlike any other entries I've ever read. This is a great message for Christian writers. Thanks!
Rita Garcia05/10/10
Well written and the message is so true!
Allison Egley 05/13/10
Congrats on your EC! This is a good reminder. Although, I'd have to HAVE a manuscript first....
Noel Mitaxa 05/13/10
Thanks for the trip and the reality-check. Maintaining present tense thoughout is not easy to do, but the reflective nature of the piece has enabled this to become a strength instead of a weakness.
Jackie Wilson05/13/10
Congrats on your well-deserved EC placing!
Beth LaBuff 05/15/10
Wow! Our fears cloud our judgment at times. Great and haunting piece. I will remember this. Super congrats on your Editor's Choice award!!