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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: This Side of Paradise (not about the book) (07/14/11)

TITLE: The other side of the wall
By diana kay


The wall is so big, that I can’t reach halfway to the top, even if I stand on my tiptoes and stretch my hands up as far as they can go.

I swung as high as I could on my swing but I still couldn’t see over the top. Not even a tiny little glance, but I did see a robin up in the tree.

“Hey little robin I wish I was a bird then I could fly to the other side of the wall.”

But he just cocked his head and with a flash of red he was gone. I think he might have been laughing at me. I went to find Bert. He was digging carrots. He knows lots about planting and growing things. His hands are crinkly and brown and his face has creases in it. I asked him if he knew what was on the other side of the wall.

“Well Miss Sophie, I reckon if you eat up all your dinner you might grow tall enough to one day see right over the top yourself.”

I think he was teasing me because I don’t think even my Papa is tall enough to see over the wall.

“Bert, if you lend me your ladder I could climb up now.”

“No missy, ladders aren’t for young ladies to climb! Now let me get on, or you won’t have any vegetables for dinner.”

So I walked to the other side of the garden and found Misty. “Misty! I wish I was a cat then I could jump up on top of the wall and look down to the other side.” Misty just purred at me and yawned she didn’t care a bit.

So I went into the kitchen where Betty was washing the carrots in the sink.
Betty is clever, she can make bread and delicious apple pie but when I asked her about the wall she just said,

“I haven’t got time for all your questions, hurry along now and change your clothes, your mother won’t like to see you in that mess.” And she started to chop the carrots.

So I went upstairs and past Papa’s study. My Papa is the cleverest man in the entire world. I wish I could ask him to lift me up, so I could see over the wall but the door was closed and that means Papa is busy doing very important things and on no account must I disturb him.

Mama won’t answer my questions either. She has a sad face at the moment and just sighs and tells me to run along and play, so I don’t bother to ask her about the wall.

At dinner I eat all my carrots just in case Bert was right and when I get ready for bed I look out of the nursery window but I can’t see the wall, it’s too dark.

When Mollie brushed my hair it hurt a bit but I didn’t complain, I just asked her my question.

“Well Miss Sophie, I dare say if you go straight to bed with no more of your chatter then I might just tell you tomorrow.”

“Oh Mollie please tell me now and I promise I will be good forever.”

“Now, Miss Sophie, how many times have I told you no one can be good forever so don’t you go making promises you can’t keep.”

“Mollie, If only I was a bird I could fly over the wall or if only I was a cat I could climb up and walk along the wall.”

“Well Missy, you’re a little girl, that’s the way God made you, now into bed you go”

“But Mollie, Bert says if I eat my carrots I might grow tall enough to see over the wall, but it’s so high I don’t think I could ever eat enough carrots to grow that much.”

“Miss Sophie, when you are grown, you will be able to walk right round that wall and out into the world where you will see all sorts of amazing things more than you could ever imagine. Just be a little patient and don’t go wishing you were something else. Now off you go to sleep and maybe in the morning that old wall won’t be so important after all.”

Maybe she’s right but I wish I was on the other side right now maybe that’s where Paradise is. I will just have to wait till in the morning and try again.

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This article has been read 307 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/21/11
I really enjoyed this sweet little girl's dilemma. The characters are adorable and the dialog felt real and believable. I did notice you switched tenses, sometimes you spoke in the present, others in the past. I love children's stories and you had a great conflict and resolution

My only suggestion might be to let the adults give clues but have the little girl figure out the answer by herself. Kids have adults telling them what to do all the time and the most successful children's story will be the ones where the child comes up with the solution. With a little polishing I think you could easily submit this to a magazine. Great job.
Amica Joy07/22/11
This is wonderful. I would love to read more about this little girl. This little girl's true obstacle are the adults in her life who don't take her seriously enough. Her questions are important. The little girl's dignity is too. Great story.
Kimberly Russell07/23/11
I liked how you got into the MC's head and "thought" like a little girl. Probably a little weak on the topic but nicely done.
Laury Hubrich 07/23/11
Poor little girl. I felt frustrated for her. Why couldn't she walk to the other side? Why was she just now wondering what was on the other side? I think maybe something new needs to be going on over there to give it interest or maybe she needs to have just moved there to make it more believable for me.

She is a cute little girl and I admire her persistence:)
Eliza Evans 07/23/11
This is an excellent premise for a children's book!
I would ditch the second last sentence. It felt tacked on for the topic's sake.
Good dialogue.
Very, very nice! Keep writing.
Joan Campbell07/24/11
I really enjoyed this story and you created the "child's voice" extremely well. The voices of the people she speaks to also come across as very authentic. Great writing!
Helen Curtis07/24/11
Delightful and poignant. It can be so easy as parents to dismiss our kids and their questions, which in our busyness can seem so trivial. This would be a lovely children's story, well done!
James Brown07/24/11
750 words present a challenge. I love your use of dialogue in this story. I can picture the girl going from adult to adult without a satisfying answer. But the word limit comes into play at the end. I felt the final explanation fell a bit short. We never fully understand what is beyond the wall. We get the idea of paradise from the little girl, but nothing concrete. I agree with the others, this would make a great story if you expanded it some. I guess I'm old school. I like neat, tidy endings that resolve the conflicts of the story. I pictured her living in a city in a house with a large wall encircling it for protection. Not really paradise. Perhaps Mollie could have suggested the idea of paradise - not sure.

I noticed a couple of places where you should add some punctuation - where Misty yawns and Mollie's explanation of what's beyond the wall.

Again, fantastic story, just a little weak on the ending. Thanks for posting it.
Noel Mitaxa 07/25/11
And your second chapter will be??? Very enjoyable, as others have noted, because you have caught the mindset of curiosity and frustration within a child and developed the interaction very well.
Edy T Johnson 07/25/11
Oh, I think this is a winner! Even a Masterpiece! I think you've really hit the topic right on the head. The little girl is Everyone, seeking for answers ahead of the time. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied! I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks!
Edmond Ng 07/27/11
Nicely written and a pleasurable read. I like the voice of the MC and how the story is presented in a light-hearted manner. Good job!