The Official Writing Challenge
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10/15/15
This was a heart-warming story and I was glad to read the happy ending. God can change us when we are ready!
10/15/15
I enjoyed this. Since I know nothing about cards, I was drifting at first but you soon made it clear.
10/15/15
Enjoyed this very much. It's an easy read with a moral and an ending worth waiting for.
10/16/15
Clever approach to the topic. Unfortunately, gambling does destroy many lives.

I'm glad he took a left turn at the right time in his life.
Even Christians get sucked into gambling since it is called "just a game".

But those truly accepting Jesus as "Lord" will willingly and immediately begin to obey his commands.
I think this was a brilliant take on the topic. You had a great opener, and it pulled me right into the story.

I noticed a couple of tiny things you might want to tweak for other stories. Instead of using taglines like he asked or she suggests, use those spots to use body language. For example: "Theres no fricking way! Nick pounds his fist on the table.
It still shows who is speaking, and it greats a mental picture for the reader. To be honest, when I read Nick spouts, I pictured a giant whale playing poker. Humorous maybe, but probably not the picture you would want for your reader. Generally, experts will suggest you stick with typical taglines like he asked or she said. Often people will use he laughed, but it's difficult to laugh and talk simultaneously. Speaking of simultaneously, you had a couple of minor POV shifts. I struggled with this concept for a while. Since Nick is the MC, the reader can only know his thoughts, actions, or viewpoint. You went into another character's head by saying that Marcie thinks he can't have a better hand.
I think this was a brilliant take on the topic. You had a great opener, and it pulled me right into the story.

I noticed a couple of tiny things you might want to tweak for other stories. Instead of using taglines like he asked or she suggests, use those spots for body language. For example: "Theres no fricking way! Nick pounds his fist on the table.
It still shows who is speaking, and it greats a mental picture for the reader. To be honest, when I read Nick spouts, I pictured a giant whale playing poker. Humorous maybe, but probably not the picture you would want for your reader. Generally, experts will suggest you stick with typical taglines like he asked or she said. Often people will use he laughed, but it's difficult to laugh and talk simultaneously. Speaking of simultaneously, you had a couple of minor POV shifts. I struggled with this concept for a while too. Since Nick is the MC, the reader can only know his thoughts, actions, or viewpoint. You went into another character's head by saying that Marcie thinks he can't have a better hand. Since she has a poker face it would be hard to see it, but an example of avoiding the shift would be to do something like: Nick studies Marcie's face. She just tried to hide a smile, I bet she thinks her hand is better than mine! Tah, I'll show her.
There are some ways to do POV shifts, especially in longer pieces, one might have chapter one be through Nick's eyes and the next through another person's eyes. Jan's Writing Basics on the forums has some great lessons about both of these things, and one of the perks of upgrading to a paying membership is you receive a free ebook from a fellow FW, called Bring Your Writing to Life. Amy Wiley does a great job explaining POV shifts in this book.

I really enjoyed your story. The pacing was great and your message clear and powerful. It's not easy to write in the present tense, but I think you did a good job of it, and it added another dimension to your writing. Congratulations on ranking 7th in level 1. The highest rankings can be found on the message boards.
Sorry for the repeat first part. I blame it on fat fingers. :)