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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write something suitable for CHILDREN (05/31/07)

TITLE: My Cinderella Story
By Sara Harricharan


Tonight is cold like frozen pizza.

Pizza I can’t eat because I’m sitting outside under the willow tree in our backyard. It’s kinda dark out here.

Except for my special white dress.

Tonight was the annual father-daughter dance. Mom and Daddy are divorced. So I have a Step-dad now, his name is Duncan.

I asked Daddy to the dance. He said he’ll be there.

The dance started a half-hour ago. I don’t know where he is. He sure didn’t call.

Mom’s all mad that I didn’t ask Duncan to go. She says she knew Daddy wouldn’t come.

I don’t get it. Daddy never breaks his promises to me.

“Elena?” An old whisper half-scares me outta my wits.

I scramble to my feet, half-pressed against the knotted bark of the willow tree, hoping the shadow will hide me from….Grandpa. “Gramps?” I whisper.

He chuckles. The sound of wheezing horses over wind chimes.

Dressed in a black suit, all fancy with a flower sticking in his button hole, I wonder if he’s taking Gram out tonight.

“Well, well, if it isn’t my little princess.” He hands me the most beautiful white rose I’ve ever seen. It looks nice in the dusk. “If her highness is ready, I am ready and willing to escort her to the ball.”

Giggles come out of me. I wonder where I stored them. Gramps sounds so funny. “Where’s Daddy?”

The smile fades into the shadows around his face. “His flight was delayed for a couple of hours in Chicago.” He tips up my chin. “So he called me instead. Is that all right?”

I knew Daddy wouldn’t set me up. “That’s perfect Gramps.” My forehead crinkles. “D’ you know how t’ dance?”

Gramps pulls himself up all dignified. “Do I? I taught your father to dance. Now come along, you sparkling scamp!” He tweaks my tiara.

I skip happily beside him, holding my first rose carefully. My mouth drops open.

Sitting at the curb is the longest car I’ve ever seen. “Gramps…?”

“It’s a limo, kiddo.” He quips. “Ordered specially for you.”

I’ve never ridden in a limo before. I hope ride again soon. It’s so nice. Gramps and the driver treated me like a real princess!

We arrived at the school, fashionably late, all part of a grand entrance.

They were playing my favorite song when we walked through the door. Gramps and I danced the whole night away. Except for fruit punch and brownies in between.

When we finally left, Gramps gave me my very first diamond. A tiny, sparkling rock on a fancy chain, in a velvet jewelry box. Gramps said every real princess deserves a diamond.

I feel like Cinderella. This is the best night of my life yet.

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This article has been read 1703 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Julie Arduini06/07/07
I LOVE that opening line, a child would say that. I am so glad this ended the way it did, it was magical. I was right there with you. Well done.
Sally Hanan06/09/07
This was great -- your opening line, the creativity of having a faithful dad, even though he's not around, and the joy of a grandparent. Just great!
Marilee Alvey06/10/07
This is a winner with me! Nice bit of tension in a modern tale about dads...and stepdads. Very creative and imaginative. Loved it!
Jacquelyn Horne06/10/07
Good child's story. Little girls love to be princesses.
Jan Ackerson 06/11/07
Great hook in the first sentence, and a very sweet/sad story. Love the character of gramps, and your narrator's voice.

I wonder if past tense would work better than present tense for a children's story. Just a thought...I usually think of present tense as a sort of artsy, grown-up device, and I know that my own low-level readers trip up when reading present tense.

Little girls will love this story, and it's got the right mixture of realism and "magic."
Rita Garcia06/11/07
A "Cinderella Story" Indeed, wonderful!
Beth LaBuff 06/11/07
It's every little girls dream to be Cinderella. What a nice surprise to have her Grandfather make her wish come true. This was such a fun story. I like your first line too.
Mo 06/11/07
Very nice! (But a hard act for her real Prince to follow!)
Kristen Hester06/12/07
This is a very sweet and touching story!

I agree with one of the comments above that past tense might work better. At first I thought you switched tenses, but then realized she's thinking back and then in the present.

It really kept my attention. Thanks so much!
Joanne Sher 06/12/07
Just delightful! Sweet and lovely and fun! What a gramps.
Myrna Noyes06/12/07
Oh-so-charming story that many young girls can relate to today! You had a terrific opening line, great dialogue, relevant topic, and wonderfully drawn characters! Your descriptive phrases were excellent, too, such as "The smile fades into the shadows around his chin," and "Giggles come out of me. I wonder where I stored them." Lovely writing! :)
Terry R A Eissfeldt 06/13/07
Real, relevent, and oh so needed. Great job.
Loren T. Lowery06/13/07
Captures the heart, that's for sure. I was rooting for her and her dream all the way. Great piece of writing.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/13/07
Your story is excellently written. I was hoping that the little girl's faith in her father was not misplaced. I loved "Grandpa." He's a winner and is a character worth keeping to use again!
LaNaye Perkins06/14/07
Very beautiful and touching story. A great reminder that some divorced dads good.
Cheri Hardaway 06/15/07
How sweet! And it was refreshing to have the divorced dad not be a "deadbeat." My own husband is a divorced daddy (to my stepson), and he has never been a deadbeat dad either. Good work. Blessings, Cheri
hazel moodley11/28/14
Beautiful piece to read.