The Official Writing Challenge
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This was very descriptive. Your weighted fly-strip hung in front of me, and I could almost feel the sweat dripping down. I had a bit of a hard time following who ol'River was. It confused me a little. I liked the message of passing on to others what we've received.
Overall a good story - great descriptions, I could almost feel the heat bearing down on me. There were a few patchy bits of dialogue and description that seemed to jump around - but, again, overall, it was a good read.

Thanks, and God bless,

Absolutely top notch stuff. Brilliant. There are some outstanding lines that produce images of extraordinary vividness: the flypaper metaphor, the wrinkles, the dishrag clothes and the cooler sweat, all read like the finest literature.
The story wasn't crystal clear but I didn't mind (though some might) and it just may be that I'm dim! But I LIKE stories that wander in and out of my comprehension. For a start it makes me want to re-read them! Secondly, it makes me use my imagination, makes me ask 'OK, what COULD this story mean?' Is hero dead? Is Ol'River dead? Is Ol'River some kind of Last Chance Angel in the Last Chance Saloon? (Last Chance Saloon might be a good alt title?) What DID make Ol'River think our hero had lost his soul? Because Ol'River's wife left him? Strange. And why did the hero leave it so long before reading the Testament - though the length of time isn't specified, it SEEMS like it was a long time. Was Ol'River Jesus, since hero remembers him as he reads the book? You see what I mean about the story not being clear? But the PLOT was very clear: someone whose soul had been saved by the Gospel passed on that salvation to someone in need.
There were a few errors of punctuation which surprised me in such good writing but these Challenges can be somewhat rushed, I know! The most serious was the comma after 'eight' in 'ah came here in fifty-eight, like you, I was ..' This should be a semicolon or period. I read it firstly as 'I came here in 58, like you' and I had to stop and think about whether the hero could have come that long ago.
You had an unwanted 'to' (to which the bartender ignored) and two missing 'to's in the second and third lines from the bottom.
On a couple of occasions you included direct speech at the end of paragraphs that made me mistake who had spoken or to whom. Firstly, 'Do I know you?' being tagged on the end of a bartender paragraph made me think hero was asking this of the bartender (okay, dumb of me, but layout is intended to cater for the dumb!) and secondly, 'Temporary here. You worked here too?' I put into ol'River's mouth because he'd spoken last in the paragraph - though I know hero's thought immediately preceded the question. So again dumb of me, but speech tags exist to ensure absolute clarity.
But these are all techy points, and probably due to haste. Is 'spit' the past tense of 'spit' in US? In UK it's 'spat'. (Mind you, the past of 'hit' isn't 'hat' so what can you do?!)
Let me repeat that this is a marvellous piece of writing and I thank you for creating it! I wish I were a judge - though, to be fair, yours is only the third I've read so far!
You do know how to hook a reader: your title, first sentence, the dialog, the unforgettable character, the emerging message so gently unfolding as the story progresses. Now I just have to wait to find out WHO WROTE THIS! More, please!
What I was thinking has been said. Great first line. Some problems in tense here and there. Enjoyed it though!

What a story! I felt like I was immersed in the scene. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I loved the dialogue!
An important note for those interested. All of the tenses of "To Spit" allow for the formation of "spit" to be used in pluperfect, conditional, future, and indicative tenses. Only in past tense is the verb transformed to "spitted, or in some cases - second preferred "spat." Spat can be used interchangably in perfect, pluperfect and indicative tenses when the writer is writing in the past. But, never in the conditional or future. Note; the opening line of this essay is conditional.

My thoughts. dub
Amazing description and dialogue - and what compelling characters! Loved the last line, too! Great stuff!!
Unique take on River...but an entertaining read. Enjoyed it (with the exception of the spitting (lol)) But, very well written and creative.
Probably my favorite of yours, ever. You're a master of both dialog and dialect, and this piece was so atmospheric and real. Love it.
You absolutely took me there. I love River's character. He comes alive. I'm not quite sure how some of it fit in, but it's probably just me not quite "getting it." A very enjoyable read. Thanks!
An engaging story. Great character portraits. I also loved the "pass it on" theme. Thanks for sharing this!
Very interesting read. Characters and dialogue are realistic and the idea of returning some day to pass on the NT to save someone's soul fits in nicely with what went before.
You are such a master of 'atmosphere' - the reader lives every line. Awesome Dub.
Not only did you make me see it, you made me feel the atmosphere, the place and the dead end feeling of just making it one more day. Excellent and unique!!
This is by far my favorite this week! I once knew a man name "Rivers" he was in his seventies, and carried a testament in his pocket with passages underlined. Your story made me feel like you knew him too!
Lots of comments on feeling the heat. As for me, I saw the tobacco spit and it was gross! But, hey, I've written about gross things lots of time so I can handle that. LOL.
Excellent writing and voice, Dub. Your experience and expertice shines through brilliantly. Wonderful work!