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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Inspiration/Block (for the writer) (05/20/10)

TITLE: A Million Diamonds
By Amanda Brogan


His fingers hovered over the keyboard like a flying saucer searching for a place to land. But search as he might, that landing place seemed to be ever elusive. Every idea he had tried so far had suffered a crash landing, leaving behind scalding wreckage on his confidence and patience… looked like it was back to the mother ship.

Matt raked his non-cooperative fingers through his dark hair… that wavy black hair that the ladies used to go crazy over. They still would if he’d let them, but now he was dedicated to one lady in particular.

Almost on cue to his thoughts, his wife Victoria came up behind the chair where he was sitting at his desk and tenderly wrapped her arms around his neck.

Nuzzling her cheek against his, she cooed, “How’s it going?”


“Really? How come?”

He sighed, not even trying to hide his frustration from her. He shared everything with her, even his struggles. “I don’t know. I just haven’t been able to concentrate lately. It seems like I can’t do anything right.” He released a bitter chuckle. “I can’t write anything right.”

She played with his hair, gently taking tufts of it and pulling her fingers along its length. “Aw, baby, I’m so sorry.”

Matt wondered for a moment if by stroking his hair, she could transfer some of her quiet strength to him.

“I need to write, Vicky. I have to get this book finished, and I have to make it amazing or I’ll never win that novel contest.” She placed her hands on his shoulders, and he reached up and covered one set of fingers with his own. “I’m just lucky you’re not entering. You’ve always been a better writer than me.” He looked up to see her smiling.

“You’re a wonderful writer, honey. And that’ll be true whether you win a contest or not. But I don’t think you should focus too much on merely winning. You let your competitiveness consume you too much sometimes. Just have fun with it, and let God speak a story through your heart.”

Matt felt shame flood his heart. He hadn’t exactly been writing this for God.

He put his conscience on hold.

“But think of that prize money and the recognition I’d get. Why wouldn’t I want to win?”

“I’m not saying you shouldn’t do your best to win. I just think that winning shouldn’t be your primary goal.”

He swirled his swivel chair around so he could see her.

“Do you remember what we pledged when we got married, Matthew?”

He leaned his elbows on his knees and clasped his hands. All the beauty of that spring day two years ago rushed to the forefront of his mind.

He nodded. “I remember. We pledged our love and dedication not only to each other…” He gazed up at her, “… but to God as well.”

“Yes, and we promised that God would be at the center of everything we do. That’s everything from our marriage to our writing.” She nodded at the computer screen, and then her gentle eyes locked with his. “Maybe you’re having a hard time with your writing because you’re not fulfilling that part of the pledge.”

He put his head in his hands. She was so right.

“Will you pray with me, Vicky?”

There in his office, they knelt down on the gray carpet by Matt’s desk. He asked forgiveness for his greed, selfishness, and lack of prayer, and pleaded that God would reveal to him what to do next.

When he was finished, a teary-eyed Matthew pulled Victoria into a long embrace and whispered near her ear, “Thank you.”

She drew back and he saw that joyful tears glistened in her eyes as well. But that wasn’t the only reason they shone. Those endless blue diamonds sparkled with all the grace and beauty of a peaceful lake at sunset, reflecting the elegance of her faith and dedication to the Son.

And in that moment, he knew what he should write about.

“Baby, you did it! God did it!” He laughed and planted a quick kiss on her lips.

“What? What is it?”

“You’ll see.”

Still beaming, he sat down at his keyboard and began to type:

“It was a gorgeous spring afternoon as they stood facing each other, hand in hand. With the lake behind them glistening like a million jewels in the sun, they each gazed into the other’s eyes, ready to bind their hearts together for eternity...”

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This article has been read 489 times
Member Comments
Member Date
AnneRene' Capp05/30/10
Ah, sweet romance with God in the center of it. This is a nice change of pace and very well written. Superb descriptions throughout.
Carol Slider 05/31/10
I love the tender beauty of this--the devotion of Matt and Victoria to God and to each other. Well done!
Kate Oliver Webb 05/31/10
Yes, that describes this piece very well: "tender beauty."
Lovely story; well-written. Good characters and realistic dialogue from a lovely couple. Thanks for reminding me that there is still romance--and dedication--left in our crazy world.
Sarah Elisabeth 05/31/10
Awww, that was just sweet through and through!

I LOVED your creative opening! You're doing good, girl!
Caitlyn Meissner06/02/10
Good story! I often let competitiveness drive my own work, only to dry up before I'm through. I'm always so glad that Jesus cares enough to help me with my writing. Thanks for a wonderful message.
Kimberly Russell06/02/10
Amanda- I didn't find the dialogue choppy. And you used beats/tags well, too. Nice job.
Ann Grover06/02/10
Lovely. (Not choppy at all.)
Mona Purvis06/02/10
Strong lesson for all of us who challenge ourselves in writing contests. I love the story you used to get your point across.
Natural dialogue.

Rachel Phelps06/02/10
The pacing of the dialogue was great throughout this piece - and I loved the story. Well done!
Patricia Turner06/02/10
I felt as if I was in the room with them. Their dialogue was natural and real. Great message. Very nice.
harvestgal Ndaguba06/02/10
Wow, not only is this a great story, but I really love the message in it. That's great.
Lollie Hofer06/03/10
The first paragraph was the clincher. It pulled me in and the rest of your story didn't disappoint. You have a way of taking your time to tell your story, it's never rushed yet has a satisfying conclusion. The message is powerful and a good reminder that God should be the center of all we do, including our writing.