The Official Writing Challenge
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01/15/09
There just has to be more! Sequel, please. But you left us with one of those questions that must haunt a lot of people—where is that line? Well done.
01/18/09
Absolutely haunting, and such a thought-provoking entry. I will be pondering this for a long time. Very well done.
01/20/09
Really good!

Things I'd cut...Just my opinion

“I just remembered a stack of notices ..."

Stack of notices is N/A as is the relevance of the being behind and the vacation.

So, how about "Yes, fine. I hope so. I just need to get something settled at work right away .." or whatever.

Also I felt it got boggy in the paragraph starting with
" Normally, a computer database maintains ....... "

Too much information.
That paragraph is 94 words.

This is a crucial part in your story so if I was reading this in a book I would skip this automatically.

How can you pare that way down?

Not trying, I came up with a 39 word count and it says basically the same thing.

"The librarians still collected interlibrary loan requests on notecards. Patty kept these cards on file for a few months just in case a researcher needed to request the same book again. It saved time and made her patrons happy."

I'm sure you could tweak it up better.

I really like the italicized questions at the end but feel the 'tag on' "they'd debate these later" took the punch right out of it.

I'd consider cutting that, ...so right after the questions you have ....

Norman Lefler picked up the phone.

And you are left with the picture of the librarians studying the cards and internally grappling with these questions while in the background Norman is picking up the phone. It leaves more to the reader's imagination.

That's my opinion anyway, and I could be exactly wrong.

Great entry.:)
01/20/09
Very gripping and thought-provoking. I haven't read anything even remotely like this this week--very good writing.
01/20/09
These are definitely the important questions of our time in history, aren't they? I wish I knew all the answers ;) Thanks for a wonderfully thought-provoking piece!
01/20/09
I was so drawn into this story I couldn't wait to see what happened next! That's the mark of a great piece--making the reader forget the world around them and being drawn into the story. Well done!!
Engaging piece. I skimmed the paragraph about the computer...it didn't feel like something I needed to know. At first I thought the villain was going to be tied to Oklahoma City or the Twin Towers. Very suspenseful.
Very suspense-full and attention grabbing. As has been said - Thought provoking. Really, really hits such an important question for where we are today.
01/21/09
This has become the question of this century… Excellent story!… I DEFINITELY wanted more!
01/22/09
Wow! Very unique entry! I enjoyed the suspenseful feeling in this one. I didn't quite connect to the MC, though....maybe writing in first person would help. Just a thought. Well done!
01/22/09
Congratulations on your EC, Karen! This is very, very good. Excellent job with the topic.
01/22/09
Karen, super congrats on receiving an EC with this story!
01/22/09
Congratulations on the EC...it was SO worthy. I loved the originality, the suspense, and the moral dilemma. Superb!
01/22/09
Well done!! :) Congratulations on writing this excellent story with much "food for thought" and also on your 2nd place EC!!
01/25/09
Very well done. What I particularly enjoyed about this story was the sense of suspense, the way you unfolded the mystery bit by bit. I thought it entirely appropriate that the actual outcome was left hanging. Congratulations.
This sounds like a 'cliff hanger,' for sure. Nice work, and you keep the suspence rolling. Well written, with reality and character speaking - yes, there has to be more.
Janice