The Official Writing Challenge
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04/14/06
I loved this story about "Me and Runner"...it was so touching, so witty and so like friends; but I felt cheated when I didn't know the WHO that Runner was crying for at the funeral on your Reacquainting Day. I know you WANT the reader to think it was you....but knowing the dead don't think, don't see and don't feel tears fall on their shoulders... I felt empty. However, it's a great tribute to your friend, and a beautiful, well written story!
04/14/06
Great story--loved your narrator's voice, and he told a very compelling narrative. In just a few short paragraphs, I felt that I knew these fellows. A thought: Should the title perhaps be "Runner and I"? I'd understand the choice if your narrator was otherwise ungrammatical, but he is not...Loved everything else about this unique entry.
04/14/06
Okay, here goes my American Idol-like critique. I love your style, it got a leeetle confusing for me near the end . . . but yo, you worked it out! I really liked this. ;)
I liked it all the way thru. I thought Runner had died at first ("he HAD a nice family"), but wow, so many emotions when I learn it is "me" that died. Very good job!
04/14/06
Very good writing here. Excellent "twist", and well timed. Bravo!
-Doug
Wow! This is powerful and thought provoking. Had to go back and read the ending twice to understand who died but when I did I was so upset. I thought it was Runner at first and the unbeliever would become come to know Christ because of his death but then I realized it the narrator had died without Christ. Very realistic but very sad.
04/15/06
I got a little confused on the other side of the middle too. But this piece was still great. I absolutely loved this concluding statement: "We had both gone to the altar that day. I went because thatís just how we did things Ė Together. I laid my cross back down as we walked from the church that day. Runner didnít. It was the one thing we didnít do together." Good job.
04/15/06
Wow! Powerful message. Well told.
04/16/06
Wow! Powerful message. Wonder how many people "accept" Jesus because that's what their friends do or it's the socially acceptable thing to do, and for them it has absolutely nothing to do with committing one's life to being a true follower of Christ?
Brilliant in many ways. I have to wonder if there's not some way to word things at the end, right here: "A funeral is never a good reason to get re-acquainted, but at least we were together again. It was good to see Runner. He had a beautiful family." I'm wondering if it might be less confusing for the reader to transition by telling this part (and following) from a narrator's point of view: "A funeral is never a good reason to get re-acquainted, but at least the two boys were together again. If it had been possible, they could have talked about the time Rev. Skinner offered them both a cross..." etc. etc.

Very involving story; your character development is awesome!

04/18/06
When I first started to read it I thought..oh just another funny story and then it developed and was way more! I was drawn into your characters and could feel the emotions even though the words were put in such a different way. Very refreshing. I admit..the ending was unclear for me until I reread it and read comments and then I got it and thought 'wow' very good. I too thought he was at a funeral for Runner's family..is there a way to clarify that without losing the powerful ending???
04/18/06
How great is this?! You created a perfect worklld of character development and description, painting a picture of friendship that we all either remember having or longing to have. I was waiting for the foot to fall, but, woah, did you fool me! I expected from about the second paragraph that something would happen to Runner...good twist!

I enjoyed this from the first sentende to the last, almost. This is totally nit-picking, but your story deserves to be as tight as possible. When you used the word 'together' twice in as many sentences it almost rang hollow, like the repetition was too much. I know you wanted to paint that picture and did it very well, but that repeat pulled me out of the story back to a school-teacher grading an assignment kind of mentality, which was sad because the story was so masterfully written.
I'd like our youth minister to read this to our kids, if you have no objections. How often does this happen in life--'I went becasue they all went...' A tragedy without hope of fix. I think this story might keep some people from making that sad choice. Thank you.