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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 Invitation to Sea
By Rachael Severa


Preparing for her afternoon journey, Leann resists the temptation to open the Gourmet Basket delivered by no other than her fabulous man. She zealously marks off her checklist. She stops for a moment, “What am I missing? The Invitation,” which she forgot was in her hand, then bracing it to her chest; relieved at the site of it, she reads each word once again.

Our best day is yet to come. Please join me on a venture out in open waters, delicious food, and a thrill of a lifetime. Bring the Basket!

No. 32 Post

I’ll wait for you.

With speed, she ties back the strands of her hair. Finally, tote bag in hand, the basket and her keys in the other. Her thoughts focused on seeing Jim. Once there, Leann heads out along the path, brisk and wide eyed, searching for the numbered posts. She repeats, “thirty-two, thirty-two?” Hoping she doesn't miss out, a voice in the distance yells out.


“Jim,” she says, waving her hat.

Once together, Jim gracefully rubs her arm and pulls it around his neck, gently kissing her as if to say, I missed you. Leann smile’s, and giggles softly, and to his credit, she now knows the meaning of ‘being swept off your feet. Jim holds her arm, as she steps into the row boat that will take them to the yacht, parked two-hundred feet away. The slight breeze cools her for a moment, but watching Jim escort her to what she thinks may be the cruise of her lifetime, she can manage. Leann tries to sustain her patience as they approach the yacht; almost an impossibility. She imagined classy, but never thought she’d feel right at home.

Jim unties the ropes, and pushes away from the dock. Finally, Leann is able to relax. She allows her eyes to follow everything he does. Leann rests her head back in confidence, while Jim steadies the boat and hoists the sail, which seems to compliment him.
As Jim finishes his task, he sat beside her, arm stretched out behind her. He hints to Leann that he’s thirsty.

“Is there anything good to drink in there?”

“Well…I suppose there is.” She says.

As Leann pulls the ribbon, the clear wrap falls to the side. Facing her is a bottle of Riesling White Wine. Jim takes the lead in opening the bottle, gently cupping the glass, and poured her the first drink. Happily, she accepts. Jim and Leann savor this moment in a flirtatious stare. Jim reaches over her body to offer up some appetizers. In a last minute thought, Jim reaches for her hand, and anxiously directs her to look at the side of the yacht. Jim points to the bottom, waves splashing hard against the boat. Leann used her collar to wipe her face, as she was hit with a hearty dose of sea splash.

“Porpoises,” Leann looks down in splendor.

“Porpoises like to the swim alongside of the boat. It’s there way of playing.” Jim explained.

At this point, Leann couldn’t take her eyes off the porpoises. She didn’t want to. Within minutes, the porpoises swim off and go under.

Leann said, “That is the loveliest thing I ever saw.”

“I know what’s lovelier.”

They both return to their wine glasses, gruyere cheese bites and olive spread. Leann slowly enjoys each bite to make it last. Scouting the open shores, Leann spots a fin breakthrough the water and recedes downward.

“Look. I see a whale.” Leann says.

Jim smiles with such pleasure. He can hardly stand it. He finds her enthusiasm so charming. Leann heads back to try the chocolate covered fruit Jim gave her. She graciously enjoys the flavor of it all. Jim and Lean thoroughly observe the open waters, but Jim directs her to the left side of the boat. A few kilometers away from the lands edge, Jim raises his hand to where he wants Leann to look, slightly upward where a large amount of Seagull’s and nesting spots occupy the sandy beach cliffs.

“What a site,” Leann says.

Out of thirst, she quickly reaches for water and takes a sip. While drinking, Jim hands her some binoculars, so she can get a closer view. Leann happily accepts and gazes through them. She starts describing what she sees.

“I see a huge mama bird, a baby bird, and a nest where she feeds them, and…Oh, Oh, Oh! “

Leann’s all smiles, and squeezes Jim lovingly.

“I accept.”

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Jody Day 07/12/12
A romantic picnic at sea, complete with a proposal. Watch for things like "it's there (their) way of playing". Keep writing:)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/12/12
This is a lovely love story. You did a nice job adding the little romantic details. I can't imagine what it would be like to see porpoises and whales swimming next to me but you make it seem divine.

You had a few typos like site instead of sight and smile's instead of smiles. A good proofreader would help you catch those little things.

The ending brought the story full-circle. I'm sure many women would be smitten by such a proposal. You did a nice job of writing on topic. I like the idea of a picnic on a yacht oh sigh! :)
Jenna Dawn07/12/12
A sweet romantic story with a lot of detail to draw the reader in.

Be careful of your tenses. You switched back and forth from present tense to past tense several times.

If I were writing this, I would have put the words in the invitation in italics. If you don't know how to submit for the challenge with italics it's easy to do a google search for using html code.

I notice you use "Jim" and "Leann" a lot. Try mixing it up more with he and she, or more descriptive words like "the beautiful brunette".

You used a lot of adverbs, particularly -ly words. Adverbs are typically "telling" kind of words, where as you could get the same point across by "showing" more and making your writing more interesting. Instead of "telling" us she is happy by saying, "Happily, she accepted", you could show us by her body language. "She accepts the glass with a grin."

When it was first suggested to me to eliminate "most" of my adverbs, I didn't really get it. But the more I have done that, finding other ways to say things, I have seen how it improves my writing.

Finally, just as you use Jim and Leann a lot, you also used them both at the beginning of a lot of sentences. Try varying your sentence openers with verbs and other types of words. Instead of "Jim reaches for her hand" consider "Reaching for her hand, Jim anxiously directs her . . . "

You have a lovely story here with a sweet ending. I like that you didn't specify what exactly she was looking at. It isn't needed. Good job and definitely keep writing!
C D Swanson 07/13/12
A perfectly delightful read. I loved the part of about the dolphins. I love this exquisitely kind and docile creatures.

This entire piece was entertaining and kept my interest. Good job.

God Bless~