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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)

TITLE: Finding Helene McGregor
By Sara Harricharan
04/11/07


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“We can’t leave until we find her?” I stared at Mrs. Davis.

Our travel teacher and current chaperone, she looked as clueless as the day I first met her.

Here we are, stuck in a French police station, attempting to give a description for the missing girl in our party of seven. Party of eight. I think. I can’t say I miss her.

Helene McGregor is a rich, spoiled brat, an equal braggart and a dedicated pain in you-know-where for you-know-why.

Now because of her, I’m stuck here. Dreams of Mom’s spinach pizza were quickly fading.

“What if I can find her?” I blurted out as the imaginary slice evaporated. Grasping at straws was a more accurate evaluation of my offer, met by looks of indignation and distaste.

“Nola, if you know where Helene is-” Mrs. Davis began.

“I don’t Mrs. D, but I could give an educated guess!” I tugged at my new earring. “Anyone could.”

“Please let her try, Mrs. D.” Brenda begged, slipping a piece of gum into my hand as she stood next to me. “She has an elephant memory like my Agatha Christie book.”

Mrs. D shrugged. “Couldn’t make it any worse, I guess. All right, go ahead, but don’t leave the station!”

“That’s impossible! How’s she gonna to find Helene if she doesn’t leave?” Margie’s forehead scrunched into a knot.

I sat down to think and mentally double-check my memory of the brat. “Was she wearing her red scarf?”

“The one her grandfather gave her?” Margie looked at Brenda who shook her head and they both shrugged. “Don’t remember. Sorry.”

“She wasn’t.” I murmured, ticking it off with one finger. “She talks about it nonstop whenever she’s wearing it. I didn’t hear her mention it this morning…except when we passed that dress boutique.”

“The one with all those gorgeous dresses?” Margie closed her eyes in bliss.

Too flashy and expensive for my taste, but Helene said she’d get that red to match her scarf.

I ticked off another finger. “Brenda, did you tell her she left it in the lounge last night?

Brenda shuddered. “Are you kidding? She’d eat me alive-wait, you think she went back to the hotel?”

“We already checked.” Mrs. Davis interrupted. “Try again Nola.”

“Margie, lemme see your event guide.” I waited while she searched for it, relieved when it was handed over.
Thumbing through it quickly, I scanned the page for today. “Boren’s college for young men are hosting a charity brunch.”

Cute guys serving you food for a good cause. What rich heiress would pass that up?

“She must have bought the dress after she got the scarf.” I mused, handing the guide back. “She probably saw a poster and figured she was already on her own, so why not?” I crossed two fingers. “What time are we supposed to be at the airport?”

Mrs. Davis frowned, checking her watch. “Half an hour from now.”

I couldn’t stop the smile taking over my face. “She’s at the airport. You have her passport, right? No matter what she does or where she goes, she can’t get home without it! I bet she’s waiting right there. ”

“At the airport?” Mrs. Davis repeated.

“It’s the only place she knows we’ll be for sure.” I shrugged, unable to explain it any clearer.

The policeman, who’d been listening, dialed the airport right away. He smiled a moment later and confirmed that they’d found her. “She’s sitting in the airport lobby, wearing a red dress and matching scarf. Excellent detective work, miss.”

I half-nodded, visions of fresh spinach pizza already floating through my head.


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This article has been read 1273 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Rhonda Clark 04/12/07
I like how the character thinks. Great detective work. Personally, I didn't connect with the characters. Good job and great story.

Julie Arduini04/12/07
Oh this was fun!! I especially loved the line about the elephant memory like the Agatha Christie books. I don't think anything motivates like a hungry, annoyed person!! I thought you showed this well, rather than telling.
Catrina Bradley 04/13/07
Your MC has great deductive reasoning skills. This is a cool litte mystery - I enjoyed it.
Cheri Hardaway 04/16/07
It's quite a job to develop a mystery in only 750 words, isn't it? Hard to round out the characters. I think you did a great job, given the limitations. Quite creative, and I could really visualize Nola sitting there ticking off each finger as she reasoned out the solution to the whereabouts of Helene.

Watch for small details in your writing: a missing comma here; a missing quotation mark there; subject/verb agreement [Sorry... I'm a homeschool mom, so I have to monitor my kids' grammar ;o)].

I loved your descriptions, such as: Margie's forehead scrunched into a knot. Overall, a wonderful job. Blessings, Cheri
Jacquelyn Horne04/16/07
Interesting story. Great detective work. Good writing.
Jan Ackerson 04/17/07
Really fun, following your protagonist's thought processes. I love it!
Marty Wellington 04/17/07
While, we did learn quite a bit about Helene from the deduction skills of our MC, we didn't learn much about the MC. Was it Nancy Drew in disguise? This was an enjoyable read . . . thanks for sharing.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/17/07
What a clever little detective! I liked her savvy. It's funny how kids see right through people, isn't it? I'm glad she was going to get home in time for her pizza. You made her real. A fun story!
Loren T. Lowery04/17/07
Cute story and like in real life, using common sense can make the most brilliant detectives of us all!
Rita Garcia04/18/07
You packed so much into only 750 words! I enjoyed the read!
Sandra Petersen 04/18/07
This was wonderful! Putting the red scarf and the red dress at the boutique and all together was a great piece of detective work and writing skill, and in 750 words or less.

I thought all of this was very believable and flowed quite nicely. Terrific job.
Joanne Sher 04/18/07
I love your characterization - the tone of this was just perfect. Enjoyed this very much.
Myrna Noyes04/18/07
Very cute and creative story! Your writing kept me interested from start to finish, and I loved the last line. (Only now I'm hungry for spinach pizza, too!!) I like your MC's clever deducing! :)
LaNaye Perkins04/19/07
I love the voice you wrote this in. You did a great job.
Tabiatha Tallent04/19/07
Great job. You kept my attention with your great writing skills.
Bonnie Derksen04/20/07
Well done Sara!
I really enjoyed your entry. Like commenters before me, I loved the way you concisely developed the characters through conversation and your MC's sleuthing.
As a reader, I was caught up in your story line right from the start and your ending brought it all to a great conclusion - and all in 750 words!
Again, well done.
Edy T Johnson 04/27/07
I had to find your story to read and to thank you for your comment on my mystery entry. You have a neat little detective, here, using logic to track down the missing Helene, so much like my favorite Nancy Drew would do. I'm glad I found this entertaining read. Thank you!