The Official Writing Challenge
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I liked your transparency, your humanity shining through. I could see the struggle at the end when you won the prize. I might have broken the vow and enjoyed a night with the wife. Good job.
I'm not so sure I agree with it all, but it was well-written and it made me think. I enjoyed the twist of the male being discriminated against, I usually hear it the other way. At first I felt like you were trying to make a deal with God, you let me win I'll donate my winnings. I was happy to see God gave you 2nd place (a loophole you might have talked yourself out of) and that you did follow through. Good job on making me think and feel deeply.
You've got some great descriptions, and I like the voice. I got confused in the middle - I didn't realize "Gill" was his wife. (In America, Gill would likely be a male). I like the challenges this writer faced - professionally and personally, and how he overcame both.
Congratulations on your 2nd place win, and also on keeping your vow. Yay God! This entry was well-organized and thought provoking. I could empathize with you (even though I'm a woman!), and it nudged my conscious in the area of giving. Nicely done.
Very interesting writing. I definitely liked your title. It was good to read about your challenge, your winning and your sacrifice. By the way in the United States we spell the name Gill with a "J," so it looks like this Jill.
Keep writing.

God Bless.

Info for Americans:

Gillian = Gill

Jillian = Jill
I enjoyed your story. I didn't perceive your commitment as making a deal with God, for God doesn't make deals. I saw it as a promise you intended to keep and did. After all, the scriptures teach it is better not to make a vow unto God than to make a vow unto God and not keep it. Thanks for sharing something of the struggle writers face in getting published.
I sure know about promises! Sometimes, the Holy Spirit reminds me of the ones I made. I shouldn't have to be reminded, ya know?

I did similar with Faithwriters.
I wrote three entries with a hard start. As the fourth one went live, I asked God for one placement by my first ten entries so that I knew I was on the right track with life, my priorities, and using my time wisely. Genesis 24 came to mind.
God showed me.

He is forever faithful.
Good job...I admire your writing, and, if it's true,(sounds like) your dedication to the Lord and to supporting young male writers.
Enjoyed your voice in this.
Not sure I agree that there's any kind of female domination issue - sometimes seems like the other way around. But this is a fun little piece with a message to take to heart. And don't we always receive and then give? Love your MC's commitment to do the right thing. Thanks for explaining about the name Gill (for a second I even thought it might be a nickname for Giselle). :)
Interesting story with a nice ending! I can understand, definitely... I don't think I could write for 'Fem Mag', either. (Political commentary for the National Review or the Wall Street Journal--now THAT would be fun!) Enjoyed it--good job.
It's a blessing to give and for what really matters, your MC in the story has received the needed confirmation to know his worth as a writer. I can understand the feeling very well because while still a beginner, I asked of the Lord to bring me up to Advanced as a confirmation so I could join and give to the Christian writing organization!
I think you did a great job of portraying the writer's challenge in this piece, and his pseudonyms made it fun! :) (Especially "Steph" for trying to get into a female publication. Talk about desperate! HaHa! That was a hoot. ;) ) I was confused about "Gill" too until I read the comments. I thought it was his friend or something and I couldn't figure out why he was calling a guy "darling." :D The comments cleared that up though.

All in all -- a great entry! I like the ending too, how he was ready to spend the money celebrating and then remembered his vow.
I know the frustration well.