The Official Writing Challenge
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This is a facinating story. It has some powerful elements, but a lot of questions remain unanswered. Good job!
Amy, thank you for your courage to show- and you did- the horrors of powerless children. I felt I was there. It was chilling to read. As a former foster parent- and current news watcher, ugh!- I know this to be true. I assure you that the questions remain throughout a lifetime for abused children. I hope this story is published- in all its ugliness- to remind us of our calling ...to forbid not the little children...
05/13/06
Very powerful story. Every element works together to get my undivided attention and sympathy. I know there are more unhappy endings than happy in cases like this but it was good to anticipate a happy one.
ok, I'm crying. it's the first time since I started reading that I've come to tears. Oh my, the plot, the writing, the suspense, the...EVERYTHING! This story needs to be read by everyone. This happens and we forget about it. So tragic. Incredible. Breathtaking.
05/14/06
OK... I'll be 100% honest here. Many people will hate this story because it touches on a dark, miserable subject. Abuse, neglect, family skeletons. Who wants to be reminded of those? BUT .. .we must be reminded. We need to remember the least of these, the innocents. So this story MUST be written. Don't let nay-sayers cast doubt over your voice.

As to the presentation itself. You took the time to show, not tell. Great! You resisted the urge to fill in all the holes. Great! You showed us the depth of 3 characters, all through the eyes of 1. Excellent. On all those fronts you are right on target.

A few small nit picks (and I mean small, here) I needed just a touch more reference points. SOmething that helped me know their ages would have helped. A 7 and 5 year old might sit and wait for months ... a 12 and 9 probably not so much. There were a few places where I think a better, more unusual word could have conveyed an emotion better... just a couple. Lastly, a little bit of the dialogue, every once in a while, sounded a bit forced. Small things.

Aside from that, you will score quite well with this. You nailed the theme, you built a great scene, you have strong characters. Maybe a touch light on lesson / message but if read as an allegory then you're ok there, too.

Don't be surprised if you place with this piece from the darkside of life. Welcome to the neighborhood!
This is a wonderfully horrible story, Cassie! Wow. Well written and you got my heart right up in my throat for those children! Well done! I hope to see this in the rankings!
Chillingly brilliant writing! Yes, you put your reader 'right there' in the story...and such a sad story it is because it is 'true' in every today and tomorrow. Wonderful writing!
Very well written and very descriptive. Overall a good job.
Cassie, this is an inspiring and wonderfully written potrayal of the sick side of our society. Great job, you had me all the way through.
05/15/06
Yes, a very hard read. One that is personal to my heart and ripped it to shreds. I never want to read it again! And that's the mark of a most excellent writer! So yes, again, Wow - on the writing that put us through you-know-what.
05/15/06
Gripping, powerful story! It held my interest throughout and tore at my heart.
05/15/06
Horrible. And that's not a criticism. It needs writing. Keep doing it, please!
05/15/06
very well written. Thank you for this heartfelt look at hope.
Cassie,
This reminded me of my favorite book, "A Child Called "It"", by Dave Pelzer. "It" was his true life story of torture at the hands of his mother. I loved how he wrote his story and you've captured me just as well.

Knowing that this type of thing really does go on, only made your story more heartbreaking. You made me feel for your characters and hope right along with them. Great job.
Let me add my voice to the others to thank you for telling this story. Graphic and compelling to read, and even though happy endings in real life for kids in this type of situation is rare, I appreciated this one. Well done, indeed. You are a winner in my book. May God bless your writing.
05/16/06
A heartbreaking story - and more so that things like this really happen. Well written.
05/18/06
Oh, Cassie, you have done such a beautiful job on such a horrible story that is surprisingly all too true. Congratulations on your Commendation! The writing was supurb! If I hadn't read stories like this in the News, I wouldn't have believed it...this touched me to the core.
You squeezed every drop of compassion out of me with this one. I'm exhausted - ! - but inspired to appreciate my blessings and share hope with those who aren't so blessed.