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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: PICNIC - deadline 7-12-12 @ 9:59 AM NY Time (07/05/12)

TITLE: The Fish are Jumping!
By LaRue Kendrick


The Fish are Jumping!

The evening started out peaceful and calm. There was a cool breeze blowing which also kept the flies and mosquitoes away. The air was cooling from a day of summer heat, and the evening air was refreshing. There was the sound of the water lapping up onto the narrow, sandy edge of the nearby fishing pond.
The three brothers and families had gotten together for an evening of food and fresh air down at the river. Everyone had been to the water’s edge to see if the fish were jumping yet. They usually started coming to the surface for bugs about this time of evening. It was just a bit early evidently because there weren’t any emanating rings on the water where a fish might have broken the surface.
As the ladies went about getting food out of baskets, the men positioned a picnic table so it would not wobble back and forth on the uneven ground. In order to have all four legs of the table all touching the ground at the same time, the table sat at a bit of an angle; one bench seat higher than the other seat. The men figured this would work just fine. The slope wasn’t so much that the food would slide across the table top.
When all the food was displayed, paper plates and cups passed around and table grace said, the family members each filled their plates with such offerings as sliced water melon, ripe plums, potato salad, fruit salad, chips, ham and cheese for sandwiches and pickles. Large thermos jugs held tea or cold water.
As each person found a spot on one or the other of the attached table benches, it so happened that the heavier brothers and one wife sat on the upper bench and the lighter brother, his wife and a couple of the young people sat on the lower bench. This worked just fine until the heaviest brother happened to catch sight of a fish rising out of the water. Being an avid fisherman, this immediately took precedence over the meal. He hastily stood up, stepped over the bench and said, “The fish are jumping!” At that the other heavier brother and his wife stood up and slid off of the bench to see for themselves. Of course the young kids immediately jumped up as well to get a look at the watched-for phenomenon. This left the leaner brother and his wife still seated on the lower bench. Well, you guessed it, the table tipped right over, laying them on their backs with the evening’s supper covering them from head to waist.
When the other folks realized what had happened, they all rushed to right the table and uncover the two water melon-pickle juice-potato salad-covered couple. Some thought the scene quite hilarious in seeing the aunt’s face sporting a potato chip nicely stuck to her face with a smear of pickle juice and water melon seeds adorning the uncle’s face. No one was hurt at all, except for pride. Upon returning to the upright position, the brother looked at his food-stained wife and said, “Well, that wasn’t so bad, was it Mom?” To which she replied, “It sure wasn’t so good!” A good time was had by all, and the fish did indeed perform with much rising and splashing in the pond. A few of them were even caught!

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This article has been read 352 times
Member Comments
Member Date
lynn gipson 07/12/12
I like this alot. well written and enjoyable. you might want to double space your paragraphs, to make it easier to read. other than that, it was great!!
C D Swanson 07/13/12
You packed so much into this entry. I really enjoyed it so much, nicely done. Great job.

God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/13/12
This is a fun and light-hearted story. I enjoyed reading it and was eager to keep reading even though I suspected what was coming.

The one thing I might suggest to make this story even better is to work on what plaques every writer and that is to do more showing and less telling. You had some parts that were great and helped me see the story in my mind. But if you look at the first paragraph you use the word was a lot which is a passive verb. just by switching it up a bit like this will help the readers see the picture. For example this sentence There was a cool breeze blowing which also kept the flies and mosquitoes away. can be tweaked just a tad like this -- A cool breeze blew in and whisked the mosquitoes and flies away. I didn't change much but replaced an active verb for the passive was.

You have some delightful descriptions later on. I loved the vision of the aunt covered in picnic food. I also think it was quite a bit of clever tongue in cheek humor to have the aunt replace the ant. I enjoyed it and chuckled at the irony.

You did a great job of intriguing the reader to want to know more about the jumping fish and did a great job at the end of bringing the story to full circle. One other thing to double check is make sure you start a new paragraph each time someone different speaks.

All in all you nailed the topic and told a nice humorous story that was a fresh take on the topic. Thanks for the delightful read. :)
Jenna Dawn07/15/12
Cute story! I particularly enjoyed the sentence about uncovering the the two water melon-pickle juice-potato salad-covered couple! (However, just realized the word "two" should be eliminated since the sentence ends with "couple".

A few words of critique. You don't need to include the title within the story. It's entered separately when you submit the story.

The first five sentences of your story start with the words "the" or "there". Try mixing up sentence openers. Try throwing a verb in there, an adjective, etc. Keep it varied.

You definitely need a space between paragraphs. I didn't even realize there WERE any paragraphs at first. Always preview your submission before hitting the "can't take it back" SUBMIT ENTRY button.

I agree the story was basically a "telling" story. Do a google search on "showing versus telling". This can be difficult to grasp at first, but makes a big difference in a good story versus a great or exceptional story.

You did a lot of great description of detail, which lead to a humorous ending. Keep writing!
Geoffrey johnstone07/19/12
You have some ability and it shows. If you want to continue writing you might find it helpful to join a peer group. Some of my harshest critics have given me the most help.

You have something to say. I hope you keep going.