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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)

TITLE: Courting Cousin Lavinia, or Saved by the Manuscript
By Caitlyn Meissner


When Rolland and I caught our first glimpse of Uncle Roderick’s home, I knew I’d been wise to bring my manuscript with me. The old castle, surrounded by dark pines, would be the perfect setting for my main character, Frederick DeLaney, as he visited the Mysterious Baron.

Uncle Roderick met us at the gate and ushered us inside. There we were greeted by Aunt Katherine and a lanky young man, our cousin, Richard.

“But where is Lavinia?” Uncle Roderick asked. Then he yelled “Lavinia! Come and meet your cousins.”

With a rustle of skirts, Cousin Lavinia swept into the room. I gaped in surprise. The little girl I vaguely remembered had blossomed into a beautiful woman. Her golden hair cascaded down her back, and as her eyes met mine I fell instantly in love.

Perhaps I wouldn’t bother with Frederick DeLaney after all.

Soon, however, I realized Rolland also admired Lavinia. It was evident by the way he gawked at her whenever they met. And when vibrant strains of music erupted outside my window one evening, I knew matters were growing serious. Peering out into the darkness I beheld a group of minstrels, all unaware that they were singing the praises of “Sweet Lavinia” beneath the wrong window.

Roaring, I flung open the casement and hurled a goblet at their heads. Shrieking in alarm they disappeared into the shadows.

Hoping to take my mind off Rolland and Lavinia, I sat down at my desk and pulled out my manuscript. But my own hand betrayed me. Frederick DeLaney, trapped in the Baron’s dungeon, was rescued by a beautiful maiden and quickly fell in love.

It was while Frederick was deciding how to propose that an idea struck me. I would write Lavinia a letter, a passionate, moving letter telling her of my love.

Laying my manuscript on the floor I began to write, but before I could sign my name Rolland walked into the room.

Instinctively I tried to cover the letter, but then I stopped. It didn’t matter if Rolland saw it. I knew my twin brother couldn’t read or write.

“I need your help, Edmond,” Rolland said, looking embarrassed. “I want you to write a letter for me.”

“Couldn’t you ask Uncle’s scribe?”

“Certainly not. I don’t want HIM spying on my letter.”


“Because I want to ask Lavinia to marry me,” Rolland replied.

My heart sank.

“Giles!” I yelled.

My servant poked his head through the door.

“Fetch me some ink. I’m running low.”

Giles disappeared.

“Now then,” I said, taking a deep breath, “what should I say?”

As I wrote what Rolland told me to, I began to feel more confident. His proposal sounded awkward and unflattering, even to my ears. And if I hated it, Lavinia would, too.

Just as I finished the last line, Giles reappeared carrying an inkpot. Crossing the floor, he tripped on the rug and bumped into a table, spilling the contents of a flower vase … all over my manuscript!

Chaos reigned as I tried to save my stained manuscript and chastise Giles at the same time. Chuckling, Rolland signed his letter and left. Only after I’d banished a miserable Giles from the room did I turn back to my letter.

But it was gone. Only Rolland’s proposal remained on my desk. Rolland had taken my letter by mistake!

Enraged, I glared at the remains of Frederick DeLaney. By trying to save the manuscript I had sacrificed my letter and all hope of Lavinia.

But then, without even knocking, Lavinia herself slipped into my room.

“Lavinia!” I cried, surprised.

“Shhh!” she whispered, holding out a letter, MY letter. “I need you to read this for me.”

A million questions swept through my mind, but I asked only one. “Why?”

“That’s no secret,” she replied. “I can’t read. I never learned. Books are such a bore! But this letter Rolland gave me … I know it must be special. Won’t you read it to me, Edmond?”

Horrified, I stared at her. Was this the girl I hoped to marry? She hated books! She couldn’t read! And she’d never understand how much I loved both.

Suddenly I knew what to do.

“Have a seat, cousin,” I said, taking my letter, “and let’s see what Rolland has to say.”

Later that night Frederick DeLaney returned to his adventures, after escaping from the Baron AND the maiden, and I realized how much I’d learned about myself, as I continued drying my manuscript.

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This article has been read 487 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mildred Sheldon05/06/10
I enjoyed reading your srticle but the aco before some words were distracting. If it is a computer glitch it needs to be fixed. Thank you for sharing an interesting story. God bless.
Joanne Sher 05/06/10
Enjoyed the intrigue - and I really like how he "figured her out." Sounds like a God thing :)
AnneRene' Capp05/07/10
Absolutely great story. Just loved it from beginning to end. Your twists were unexpected and you did so well writing this complete piece of entertainment in only 750 words! Great Job!!
angelos2 wark05/07/10
Great ending!
I agree with a previous comment about the distracting "aco" glitch.
The story itself was good.
Amber S. 05/07/10
Ha, I like this. Enjoyable read (computer glitch aside). Keep up the good work!
Jan Ackerson 05/07/10
Lots of fun--there were twists upon twists, not easy to do in 750 words!

Maria Kana Santos05/07/10
I enjoyed every bit of your writing! Good job
Amanda Brogan05/11/10
Interesting story! I find it humorous that Edmond wrote about being saved by a maiden and falling in love. :) Also how he and Rolland were after the same girl! I thought Edmond displayed tremendous self-control in the whole matter.

It also goes to show how love can be very different from a simple crush. We should always get to know someone before committing to the lifelong act of marriage. I'm glad that Edmond was saved by his manuscript. Rolland and Lavina are just right for each other. ;)
Phee Paradise 05/11/10
Good story. A little of it was confusing. I wasn't sure of the time period or why one brother could read and the other couldn't. But of course, you only had 750 words.
Beth LaBuff 05/11/10
You drew me into the moment with this. I had to smile at how quickly your MC's affections were transferred once he realized Lavinia couldn't read. :) You did a wonderful job weaving this tale!
Amanda Brogan05/13/10
You are one winning writer! Even with computer glitches. ;)