|Hello christine31 and thanks for your entry to "a very Wodehouse challenge" .
Well, I was definitely not expecting the sudden turn of events at the end there, so that was a nice albeit shocking surprise.
The story is a good one, in that it deals with the relationship between a daughter and her dying father, and all the emotions that are experienced. The most poignant of all, being the realization that a life was spared thanks to the presence of an "angel".
Unfortunately, I will have to admit that the emotions I had hoped to feel at the loss was not really felt. You simply told us what happened and did not show the depth of the characters or the situations. They felt too flat and one-dimensional, and it felt like I was reading through a scripted play instead getting to know the characters as much as I could have.
Your character was shocked at the news she received...so what about her reactions? If I received a phone call like that, I'd be out of my mind with worry. Imagine yourself in your character's shoes. Would you sound calm? Would your heart start racing? Would your stutter in panic? Would you be unable to concentrate? In the presence of her father...yes, she cried, but the scene did not carry the weight of the situation. You should make the reader want to cry along with her; to feel the depth of her anguish instead of the mechanical role she has to play.
A few other things I noticed are pointed out below:
>>“He’s in room 215. She will assist you,” and pointed to a nurse standing by a huge door.
Who pointed to the nurse? I know it's obvious that it's the receptionist, however, it doesn't hurt to add the pronoun after the dialogue tags: "He's in room 215. She will assist you," he/she said, and pointed to a nurse standing by a huge door." See what I mean?
When the word 'dad' is used as a title (or as a replacement for a name), it should be capitalized. It is not capitalized when it's preceded by a possessive noun like say: my dad, our mom, their grandpa.
>>My dad was the strong [Exactly what I said above! ]
>>When I opened my apartment door...
The paragraph that begins with this phrase was a little confusing. The character arrives home to the answering machine blinking, and it's clear she's listening to a recording...how then does she launch into a conversation with a recording? You make no transition from listening to the messages to having an actual live conversation with a person. Try to make that distinction.
>>“I’ll find a place to arrange the funeral this morning,” I thought while showering.
Is your character thinking out loud? If not, you do not need the dialogue tags around her thoughts. I'll find a place to arrange the funeral this morning, I thought while showering. OR "I'll find a place to arrange the funeral this morning," I thought out loud while showering.
>>I turned on my right turn signal (,) but it was too late.
>>The car ended up hitting the concrete guardrail (,) and I hit my head very hard
>>“Dad was there, in the care(car) with me.”
Last but not least, the theme of the contest was to focus on what the year 2012 would bring, and there was really nothing in your story related to that. All the same, it was a good effort, and I hope you are not discouraged by my suggestions and thoughts above. Just remember that this is your story, so take any editing tips given as a way to help you improve.
Thanks again for your entry to the contest and the best of luck with your writing.