The Official Writing Challenge
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As gripping a read as General Vlad's tie. "When I grow up" I want to write like you do! Very well done.
What I enjoyed about your story was that it was totally unexpected and completely out of the box. You held my interest throughout. Thanks!
I should have known this was yours - this has your creative touch all over it. Masterful storytelling as so many of your pieces are. The only red ink I can see is I don't think you should have used "as he made his way down" in back to back sentences. Loved the setting descriptions, and the story kept me riveted until the ending. Well done and congratulations on your well deserved HC!
Congrats! God Bless~
Congratulations on your Highly Commended. Well deserved. So creative.
Wow this is an awesome story. You drew me in right away with the General's anger.

One suggestion I might give is you used the phrase As he made his way down, twice in a short time. Instead maybe try something that will create a picture for the reader like: The click of his boots on the frozen steps echoed and warned nearby workers that the General was coming. That might not be perfect, but I want to show you what I meant.

I did really enjoy this and found myself mesmerized from the beginning to the end, even leaning in as the suspense built. Congratulations on your HC and for ranking 38 over all!
Oops sorry I don't read the other comments because i don't want to be influenced but I see someone else noticed the same section I did, but I hope my example can help you in doing more showing and less telling. You have a great way with words and just add some more mental pictures for the reader and instead of ranking 38 overall, you might find yourself in the top ten before too long. Though 38 overall in this competitive group is quite good! :)