The Official Writing Challenge
This article has been read 450 times
Member Comments
Member
Date
11/12/15
This has a lovely, heartwarming message, and it was a privilege to read it.

A few things might kick it up a notch:

1. Add more dialogue, and make your paragraphs shorter. Readers like more white space, and it will also improve the flow of your story. In addition, dialogue will help your readers to get to know your characters better. You've told us about how naughty Missy is, but if you could show us with a few specific interactions with the teacher or with other children, we'd feel even more empathy with her.

2. Be careful with your tenses. You went back and forth from present tense to past tense, sometimes in the same sentence. Past tense would work best with this type of story.

You might want to check out the forums--there are lessons there on fiction writing that cover these skills and more. I think your writing shows considerable potential, and polishing up some of these skills will take you from a diamond in the rough to a real diamond.
11/12/15
A heart-warming story. Thanks to people like Miss Bennett who has been there all along, noticing everything, Missy gets another chance. When you use the word 'passed", it is the past tense of the verb 'pass', so you say walked past.
11/13/15
What an amazing teacher! I did not expect the teacher to do that. I like this story and how it is a picture of redemption.
11/14/15
What can I add. Well done. This is a beautiful picture of redemption.

I like the surprise ending. I didn't expect the teacher to do that either!

Keep writing.
I love this story. The ending is perfect. With some tweaking, I think this would be a great story for a Sunday school lesson or even a play.

The biggest thing you need to tweak is the old vs show dilemma. When I read your story, I felt like someone was telling me it over the phone. By adding dialog and body language, you could bring it to the level where I feel like I'm a fly on the wall watching it unfold. You did switch tenses. The present tense is hard for many. I think if you stuck with the past, it would flow just fine.

Your ending did have more showing in it. I'd love to see more of that in the beginning. Don't hesitate to all of your 750 allotted words. Often, my first draft will be way over 750 words, but it's easy to go back and trim it down.

I think you tried to tell the story from a broad point of view. Instead, I'd urge you to tell it from Missy's POV. For example your opening could go like this:
Missy squirmed at her desk. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't keep her right knee from jiggling. She kept glancing at Miss Bennet's reward chart. Nibbling on her lower lip, she squinted, attempting to count the dreaded black dots next to her name.
Her cheeks felt hot when she thought about how she earned her first one. She didn't mean to stick her tongue out at Billy, but when he laughed because she couldn't pronounce a vocabulary word, her tongue wiggled its way out of her mouth before she could stop it.

I know I took a lot of liberties, but sometimes it's easier for me to show what I mean than to explain it. (I'm sure there's irony in that since I'm talking about show, don't tell. :) ) I also used examples that would fit for a kids' story (probably between ages 6 to 10). Of course, if you wanted to write to a different audience, you'd use different misbehaviors.

I think your take on the topic was delightful. I wasn't sure if you'd pull it off at first, but you did in the end. The first part of the story was essential to the topic, even if we didn't spot it right off. Again, I think your ending was great. Not only did you add dialog and do more showing, but you also wrapped everything up in such a powerful way. Often writers find the ending the hardest part, but yours was quite strong. This is a story I'll remember. You have a lot of talent. The more you write, read other challenges, leave comments, and use some of the benefits FW offers, I predict your stories will improve from great to outstanding, and you'll do so in a surprising small amount of time. I look forward to reading more of your work.



Congratulations on ranking 6th in your level! The highest rankings can be found on the message boards.