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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Cousin(s) (05/22/08)

TITLE: Through My Eyes
By Samantha Arroyo


I clutched my plate of homemade brownies tightly between my hands and followed half a step behind Eric as we crossed the street. I slipped a hand through my wavy, tosseled hair as we mounted the steps of the farmers porch and licked my lips nervously as he rapped loudly on the door. He didn’t wait for an answer.

“Que paso?!” He shouted while pushing open the door.

I heard them before I saw them. A stampede of tiny little feet charging towards the front door. “ET!”


Three little girls, all under the age of twelve, surrounded Eric within seconds. Pigtails bounced against their slender shoulders as they jumped up and down begging for his utmost attention. He extended his arms over his head and challenged them to give him high fives. They jumped and strained relentlessly to see who could reach his hands first, giggling hysterically.

My brownies and I were pushed towards the staircase as his little cousins stole his complete attention. He herded them into the living room while I waited by the stairs with tinfoil covered brownies looking on in bewilderment.

He reluctantly bent down and gave them the high fives they were longing for, and in moments they were eagerly showing him their new Hannah Montana lip gloss key chains. He shared in their excitement and gushed over their new treasures. Then he turned to face me–still standing precariously by the front entrance. His smiling almond brown eyes melted my heart and sent butterflies soaring through my abdomen. He unfolded his frame and stood tall, still holding my gaze.

“Girls,” he said glancing down at them while walking in my direction, “this is my girlfriend, Samantha.” Girlfriend.

“Hi,” I said meekly, still astounded by Eric’s ease and playfulness with the children. I searched his face and smiled.

“Hi!” The three said in unison. Eric rattled off their names and I quickly placed the eldest as the loudest, and the one with the sea green eyes, to be the shyest. They took turns re-introducing themselves to me while I tried to get their names correctly situated in my head.

Eric’s sister came up beside me and offered to take the brownies to the table. I didn’t now what to do with my empty hands so I followed Eric and the girls through the living room. The sun that streamed through the windows lit up the room and bounced off the butter cream walls. I was introduced to various people situated throughout the room and not too long after polite conversation, the girls challenged Eric and I to a game of basketball downstairs. We gladly accepted.

“You and Eric first!,” one of the youngsters shouted.

I looked at Eric and narrowed my eyes, “You’re on,” I said teasingly.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. You’re going down,” I smirked coyly. “Ready? Go!”

We started tossing balls in the direction of the nets, with the girls screaming and cheering us on. Best of five. Eric clutched a drink in his right hand and was shooting with his left, while I took my competitiveness to the next level and used both hands efficiently. Eric was laughing and goofing off and I was in a hysterical panic as I tried so hard to aim precisely. I was intent on winning. And I had three little girls on my side who were rooting for me. It was three to four. One more basket and I would win. Aim. Shoot. Hits the rim. Swoosh.

“I win!” I beamed, throwing my hands in the air and high-fiving the girls. I turned to Eric and he clasped my hand in his, his eyes sparkling in an honest admiration that I had never beheld.

Mackenzie caught a glance of our fingers intertwined by our sides and she immediately brought attention to the public display of affection. “Aw! Look!” she squealed, “they’re holding hands! That’s so cute!” I blushed and peeked a look at Eric. He winked and I tossed my head back laughing.

Eric returned his attention to his adoring fans and spurred them on to another round of basketball. I sat on the back of the couch watching his earnest attempt to let Nikki win the game.

“You’re great with those girls,” I whispered to him.


“Yeah.” I paused and glanced at the girls. “They adore you, Eric.” I squeezed his hand, allowing my heart to fall more deeply in love with him than I ever imagined possible.

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This article has been read 592 times
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Sara Harricharan 05/29/08
What a neat POV! I love that it's the girlfriend watching him and seeing the friendship and fun of an older cousin. This was great and I loved the bit with the brownies and how her hands felt empty. That was very realistic!
Marlene Austin05/31/08
Unique slant to the topic. Well written. Loved the characters. Nice job. :)
Allan Morelos06/04/08
This is a well-written piece. I enjoy the characters you portrayed. Great and realistic plot!

I guess this can get a ribbon.
Thanks for writing.
Jan Ackerson 06/04/08
Sweet and tender romance, well-written!

Since you asked for critique, I'll suggest that you use less adverbs. It's far better to use stronger verbs that don't require an adverb. That will tighten up your story, and leave you more of those precious 750 words.

You're a very talented writer with huge potential.
Cheri Hardaway 06/04/08
Loved the title! Nice and tender romance.

One suggestion: "He herded them into the living room while I waited by the stairs with tinfoil covered brownies looking on in bewilderment." The placement of the phrase "looking on in bewilderment," makes it sound as if the brownies are looking on in bewilderment, rather than the MC.

You could write it: He herded them into the living room while I looked on in bewilderment, waiting by the stairs with my tinfoil covered brownies. Something along those lines.

Other than that, the story is beautifully written. Good work, Cheri
LauraLee Shaw06/04/08
You're an excellent story-writer. Great descriptions and characterization. Like this line: Pigtails bounced against their slender shoulders as they jumped up and down begging for his utmost attention.
I think if you could do a little more variety in your sentence structure. Less noun/verb starting phrases...maybe a few more starting with adverbs or prepositions. That would just take it up a notch. It's already well-written. ;)
Debbie Wistrom06/04/08
Loved the family ties here and how easily the girlfriend was welcomed. Great writing, keep it up.
Joshua Janoski06/04/08
I don't think you will be in beginners for long if you keep writing like this. Take the advice given to you from other people, and you will definitely keep improving.

This was a great perspective to use for your story. I really felt the love building between the girl and the boy as she saw the love that he had for his family. Great job! Keep on writing! :)
Aaron Morrow06/05/08
Bravo! I agree with Josh, you're not going to be in beginners for long with entries like this.

I really enjoyed the introduction to the girls, I thought that was very well done. My only nit is that the basketball usually doesn't "swoosh" when it hits the rim (but I guess it could) :)

Excellent work and keep writing I look forward to your future pieces and hope this does very well!