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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)

TITLE: The Long Wait
By Laura Manley


Madeline sat very prim and proper in a velvet-covered high back chair in the foyer of the most manificent home she had ever seen. The area in which she sat was round with an intricately sculpted chandelier hanging from the middle of the ceiling. To her left was a massive marble fireplace with family photos lining the mantel that added an even greater elegance to the room. An amazing staircase cascaded into the foyer with gold banisters and a beautifully designed runner down the middle of the stairs. In the middle of the foyer, an enormous round table sat with a suitably sized vase sitting on it, full of fresh flowers of every color imaginable. Madeline could not imagine having the privilege of living in a house such as this. She wondered what the rest of the house looked like. It had to be just as beautiful as the foyer, but she could only imagine.

She had waited for this moment a very long time. All those empty moments of the last eighteen years would soon surface and she would have answers to all her questions. Madeline sat up straighter in the chair attempting to get comfortable, but she knew that until this day was over, she would remain uncomfortable whether in a chair or sitting on the freshly mowed lawn.

Out of the corner of her eye, Madeline saw the man who had answered the front door come from a doorway just past the fireplace. He was headed toward where Madeline was sitting. She hoped this meant her wait was over. He stopped directly in front of Madeline. He stood with extremely good posture and said to her, "Madam will be down shortly. Is there anything I can get for you? Would you like a cup of coffee, tea or perhaps a soda?

Madeline was pleased to see some life in this huge house. It had been a while since he had seated her in the foyer.

"No, thank you, Mr. Pettibone. I'm just fine!"

"Very well," he said as he turned and followed the path back to the door from which he came.

Just as she took her eyes off Mr. Pettibone, she sensed movement from the top of the staircase. Almost fearfully, she allowed her eyes to look toward that movement. They fixed upon the most statuesque, elegant and beautiful woman she had ever seen. As this woman began her descent, their eyes locked and it was then that Madeline knew her life would never be the same. She was now complete; her life would be full. She had found her birth mother!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sharon Laughter06/11/09
I enjoy your writing. One small thing - a few periods would work wonders (shorter sentences.) I loved "Pettibone". You definitely have talent..
Deborah Porter 06/19/09
Hi Laura. I just wanted to leave a quick note to let you know your entry, The Long Wait, actually did very well in the Empty and Full Challenge. Although you didn't receive an award, you made it into the Highest Rankings for Level 1, placing 11th in that Level.

There were a lot of entries this week, and the competition is always intense in Level 1, so you deserve a pat on the back. :-)

If you'd like to check the highest rankings for yourself, you can find them here:

The highest rankings are posted every Thursday evening on the Message Boards.

Hope to see you at the FaithWriters' Conference in August. Itís going to be an amazing time of inspiration, information and encouragement. (If Iíve already mentioned that to you, forgive me. Weíre just so excited about letting members know about this great gathering.)

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Leah Nichols 06/22/09
I enjoyed your first entry very much!

A couple suggestions for writing for the Challenge: It's much easier to read entries when they are visually more spaced out - see some of the Master level entries for the preferred spacing. A large block of writing looks slightly intimidating, even if it is not a very long paragraph. :)

Secondly, you have 750 words to work with. I didn't count your words, but it just seemed like you could have written a bit more. If you're writing prose, it's definitely okay to stretch it up to that limit, unless you really say all that you want to say in less.

Finally, as far as the piece itself goes, I would suggest weaving your theme into the story in a much more obvious manner. Personally, as the reader, I didn't gather that her life was not full, or even that it felt empty, without her birth mother. Some well-placed flashbacks to an empty life would give that hint to the reader, or reflective thoughts. That builds the anticipation that something is about to change.

You write very well! Jump over to the boards and learn how to put links to your entry, and when the next topic rolls around, join the hinting and hunting so that more people will read your entries and you receive the feedback you need.