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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Exotic (08/08/13)

TITLE: Marvellous Mangoes!
By P. J. Baker


“I am the fruit tree and you are the branches. I will be in the person who is in me. That person will have a fruitful life. But you can do nothing without me.” (John 15v5 WE)

“What does mango really taste like? I’ve never tasted anything exotic” said Charlie, staring up at the tree towering above him.

Ned’s grandpa laughed. “Why don’t you go ahead and find out for yourselves? I would join you if I was fifty years younger.”

Ned punched the air in delight, running to fetch the step ladder. He placed it against the trunk, climbed up and swung himself onto the first branch. Charlie followed.

But Ned being a little taller, and a little older than Charlie, climbed half way up the tree within seconds. “The best ones grow at the top!” he shouted down through the leaves to Charlie.

“Hey, wait for me!” shouted Charlie. But Ned kept on climbing up. Charlie grabbed a higher branch and swung his legs wildly, like a monkey to pull himself up. But he only had little arms, and he lost his grasp of the branch.

“Yowwww!” he screamed, falling hard on the ground below. “My ankle!”

Charlie’s mom ran out into the garden still holding her cup of coffee. “Oh Charlie!” she said. She put an ice pack on his ankle and made him sit down.

“But I wanted to get a mango!” Charlie complained.

“There’s one” said Mom, pointing to a small shrivelled mango. It was hanging on a low branch that was half broken from the main trunk. She picked it and gave it to Charlie. “We should get you home” she said.

As they were leaving, Ned jumped down from the tree, his arms full of mangoes. “Here, take another one. What happened to you, Charlie?” he asked.

“I fell trying to keep up with you!” Charlie said.

Mom helped Charlie to the car, and when they parked on their street, she helped him out. They heard a loud whizzing sound, and suddenly a dog rolled past on a skateboard. Charlie laughed so loud he doubled over. But he tripped, falling onto someone else’s front garden.

“Yowww!” he cried.

“Get your boy off my flowers, I saw him! Trying to steal my roses!” said an old man crossing the garden.

“No! He’s hurt his ankle, and just fell when he was looking the other way. My boy would never steal anything, Mr Hampton” said Mom.

The old man retreated into his house, muttering to himself. “Don’t listen to him. He used to be so full of love, but something bad happened and he never forgave his friend, or God. Now his heart is bitter” said Mom.

When they got home, Mum cut up the two mangoes and Charlie held the ice pack onto his ankle.

Charlie took a piece from the first plate. “Mmmm, so sweet, I love it!” he said taking another piece.

“Try this one” said Mom, offering him the second plate. Charlie took a piece and spat it out. “Yuck! That’s disgusting!”

“That’s the shrivelled one from the broken branch. When the branch broke, all the sweetness from the trunk couldn’t reach it anymore, so it couldn’t ripen.”

Charlie thought for a minute. “Just like Mr Hampton” he said.

“Exactly! We’re like the branches, and Jesus is the trunk. If we stay connected, our lives are full of sweetness and we make yummy fruit” said Mom.

“Then I’m gonna make loads of marvellous mangoes!” said Charlie.

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This article has been read 177 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Larry Whittington08/15/13
Watch the transition of events.

I can see the Mom setting her cup of coffee down before running outside. It would seem that we would also see her running back to the house for the ice pack.

I like the fruit tree and the branches. If we are not connected to Jesus we won't produce any fruit.

Just for practice, work on the transitions of this same story so each one is visible.
Scarlett Farr08/17/13
This was a cute story with a good message. The part with Mr Hampton seemed a little rushed and the dog on a skateboard begs for follow up - it was a bizarre event in an otherwise normal tale. Overall I enjoyed it.
Jodi Gardner08/17/13
Wonderful use of childlike innocence to paint the picture of the importance of remaining founded in Christ.

I lost just a moment of flow when you mentioned the dog. Found myself focusing on what the dog looked like, rather than the little boy and upcoming message.

I found myself smiling at the wisdom of your wee hero.
C D Swanson 08/19/13
You delivered an excellent message about Jesus and bearing good fruit. You did a nice job of in the descriptive department.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/20/13
I love this story. You do a wonderful job of developing the characters. The dialog felt realistic and natural.

The one thing you may want to consider is using less taglines like he said. Try to avoid ones like he screamed, she laughed, he shouted. Instead use narrative lines to show who is speaking and simultaneously give the reader some insight to the character's personality. For example you could change it to something like this: “Get your boy off my flowers, I saw him! Trying to steal my roses!” The neighbor, Mr. Hampton, stomped across the garden waving his fists.
If you do use taglines, make sure you use a comma before the end quote: “Get your boy off my flowers,” said an old man.

I think you did a great job and with some tweaking, could see this in a kids' magazine or as a Sunday School take home sheet. The message is good, but not too preachy. I also liked how the kid resolved the conflict. He figured out why the neighbor was grumpy with only a little guiding by Mom. That's an important part of a kids' story, letting the MC resolve the conflict. You did a fine job on the topic too.