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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Guard Your Heart (06/08/12)

TITLE: Memories
By Cynthia Dawson


Walking down main street on a shimmering summer day on my way to the park was something I loved to do. To walk by the shop windows and look at the displays and smelling the fragrant air was pleasing.

Finally arriving at the park, I found the perfect spot under a huge shade tree; I spread my blanket on the ground. Sitting down and removing the contents of my picnic basket I noticed a man sitting all alone on a bench nearby. With his head resting on his hands he appeared to be so sad, I somehow felt sorry for him.

The park was full of families; they were running, laughing and have such a grand time. They sprinted from the swings to the slides, from the sandbox to the lakes edge. The most entertaining part of all of this was watching the young ones learn to fly kites. They worked the strings like a puppeteer trying so hard to keep the kits floating on the breeze.

A year ago I had dreams of bringing my family to the park to play and have picnic lunches. Oh, what fun we would have had here, the thoughts warmed my heart and made me laugh out loud, but also made me sad.

Some dreams are just not to be, I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. A year ago John had ask me to marry him, he offered me the world, everything that I had ever wanted along with his unending love for me. He said he would always be there for me and that together we could do anything.

My emotions went crazy the day he popped the question, my heart was beating so fast I thought it would jump right out and land on the floor before me. My answer was a definite yes, of course I would marry him, he was the man of my dreams.

When I finally composed myself and opened my mouth to answer him something very strange happened, my brain overpowered my heart, something I will never understand. With complete shock, as if someone has just poured ice cold water all over me I heard my self say no.

My mind had quickly reminded me of all the times in the past when people had ripped my heart to shreds, they really didn’t care for me no matter what they had said.

I stood there staring at John that day; tears were running down my cheeks as if someone had turned the faucet of my emotions on full blast. I could no longer utter a word, my voice and my ability had been stripped from me. As hard as I tried I could not vocalize a single word, I just stood there shaking and crying.

John had such a look of disbelief on his face, his eyes were brimming with tears, I knew he didn’t understand this either. He stood there staring at me as if I was an alien and this was the first time he had seen me.

Why had I let all these hurtful feelings come back to over whelm me, they hit like rip tides in the ocean, each one getting a bit closer to drowning me I turned and walked away, it was all I could do

Gathering the remainders of my lunch and packing it back in my basket I realized the man on the bench was gone. I have no idea where he went or when he left. I folded the blanket and stuffed it in my basket and prepared to leave the park.

I stood up, holding my basket and taking one last look around the park, breathing in all the beautiful aromas. I hated to leave so soon, but the memories wouldn’t go away and it was taking all the fun out of my day.

I turned rather abruptly to leave; I just wanted to get out of the park as fast as I could. Hopefully this time I would be able to leave my emotions and the ugly memories here. If I could do that then maybe the beauty, all hand crafted by God would swallow up those bad memories so there would be nothing left but the sweet aroma of happiness.

The next thing I knew I ran into a wall, a human wall, it startled me so badly I found myself unable to speak. I tried several times to talk and finally uttered on simple word…John!

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This article has been read 397 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dannie Hawley 06/16/12
You did a good job of description in this article, as wel as inducing emotions in this reader. It would be wonderful to have a Part II to find out what happened the year before, because one is left with a sense that John will have some terrific story to explain why saying "no" was right the year before but he has changed and is about to 1. confess something and 2. Propose again... but, then, I am a hopeless romantic, so maybe not. That's my ending anyway. You have left the reader to make his own conclusions so, why not?
Laura Manley06/18/12
This was well-received by this reader! Very descriptive entry and a good story that stayed on topic. I also enjoyed your ending. I can't remember those things that needed to be checked by you, so I will just say this; it is extremely important to proof your work prior to submitting. In some instances, you have used a word that should have been an "ing" word, you used lakes when it should have been lake's; things that spellcheck will not alert you to. That being said, I still found your work to be very good and I'd say you are well on your way to progressing in the Challenge arena.
Deborah Engle 06/19/12
Such a good story. I enjoyed reading it.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/19/12
I particularly enjoyed the word pictures you painted here in your emotionally charged story.
Allison Egley 06/19/12
Oh, this is very good.

The ending felt a bit abrupt. Granted, she did run into a person at the end, so I suppose it WAS rather abrupt. ;) It feels like word count may have gotten the best of you and you rushed a bit to the ending.

Loved the story, and would love to hear the why behind the "no."
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/20/12
This is a sweet love story. I liked how the guy didn't give up. It's funny how sometimes in order to protect ourselves we end up hurting ourselves more than protecting.

It looks like you are working on showing vs telling and doing a good job. There are times when you slip into the telling. For example you told the reader that families were enjoying themselves but you had already shown us that so you didn't need to tell too. Even your opening sentence is telling.Something like this might paint more of a picture -- Walking down Main Street, I lifted my head to allow my face to bask in the sun as a gentle breeze tickled my lips into a wide smile.

I noticed a couple of typos like kits instead of kites and at the end on instead of one. A challenge buddy or a critique group would be a great help because your brain knows what you mean so it's hard to see it.

You do have some great showing scenes though. It's hard to get everything in with such a limited word count.You may want to build the conflict more. Perhaps instead of the great descriptive scenes in the beginning you could have started out with the conflict by having her heart ache as she walked to the park because she pictured by this point in her life she would be spending the day with John. It probably sounds like I'm contradicting myself but when you only have 750 words it's vital that every word is essential to the story. So now that you have a grasp of showing verses telling work on developing the conflict in that way.

You did a nice job of showing how she battled with herself over the handsome man. I'd love to see even more of that. The story is right on topic and I felt like I was right there with the MC. I really liked the ending too. There is hope but there is also a chance that she might run and hide again. I think it takes a talent to be able to write a story so that it fills the needs of several different people. You did that with the different messages in this story. One is to enjoy each day God gives us while another message is to use the good judgment he gave us as well. Another person will read it and hear take a chance on love God is protecting you. These are all great messages for different people at different points in life.
C D Swanson 06/20/12
Nice job in this descriptive piece. Emotions and thought provoking moments only enhanced an already interesting story. Thanks. I really liked it. God Bless~
CrisC Ramirez06/20/12
Excellent story! Definitely on topic in regards to guarding your heart. Very descriptive with wonderful beginning and end. The piece flowed wonderfully, and the ending was wonderful in leaving the reader with a pleasant ..."huh?!" I left with a smile! God Bless!
Helen Curtis06/22/12
Oh, this is bursting with potential stories to continue with, from the perspective of your MC and how she came to be hurt so terribly, and how she allows God to bring her through. And that's just one of so many different themes that could be developed (I'm not a novelist so I can't really expand any further, only to say I would read such a book!).

I won't rehash what the others have already said regarding typos, etc, but will definitely encourage you to find a challenge buddy who can help with proof reading, and also to give some pre-submission feedback.

Great job! Blessings, Helen.
Bryan Rudolph06/22/12
My dear Cynthia, what a gripping recollection! That man you saw must have been your contemplative self. Wow! Really enjoyed your storytelling artistry - never mind minor points of failed style. Your memories are now mine, too. Oh, and to think there is more to come from that beautiful mind of yours.