Monday, July 5, 2010

Writing Competition #2

Today we are posting our second writing competition, and the same rules apply from last week.  This week the 'prompt' is Write a modern-day adaptation of a fairy tale.  The original story must be obvious, but you may never tell us outright what the fairy tale is.  The word limit is 1000-5000 words.  *We would prefer Dreamers not write an adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood because Jackson Pearce just wrote a book about it.*

In order to vote,  your comment must include:
1) Which writing piece you're voting for (1 or 2)
2) Why you chose one writing piece over the other.
3) Any critiques (optional)

Again, there is no rhyme or reason to whose piece is put with which number, so please do not try to figure it out.  Judge the piece for what it is, or what it isn't and base your vote exclusively on this.

If you want to enter a piece of your writing to be voted upon by Charlie and Hanna, please email it to us.  To email Hanna: To email Charlie:

Voting and entry deadlines are Friday, July 9th, 2010.

Piece 1

I had so much free time to dwell on my past that I even remember my mother and father before I was taken away. She had almond shaped, hazel eyes – I remember them so profoundly because of the kindness and warmth I felt when looking into them. I remember her long golden hair, which I obviously had inherited from her.
I remember my father to be a chubby man, but that was just about it for his appearance. Though, if I recall, he had a certain fondness for cabbage, as he would bring some into the house nearly every day from the garden that grew right behind the wall. Mother would start to sob whenever he brought some in. I guessed she couldn’t stand cabbage the sight of cabbage or the smell… or the taste.
I should know. She brings some every time she pays a visit.
I was sat on a divan, when my mind drifted back into the present and I heard somebody ruffling in the trees below the chamber which I had been locked in most of my life. I rushed off my seat, and moved to the large hole in the brick wall which some would call a window. I quite knew what to expect.
“Let down your hair to me.” cried the unearthly, savage witch who stole me from my loved ones.
I was forced to obey. Grabbing my hair and stroking it between my two fingers, I let it fall out like waves of gold, and waited for the tugging I knew would come. I wiped a tear as I felt some hairs being pulled savagely out of their roots.
This happened quite often, maybe once or twice a week. After her visit, she would climb back down the way she came, and I would move to the long glorious mirror I kept for company (besides the witch) to check how much hair had been pulled out.
I had magnificent long golden hair, which I adored. The witch had told me I was beautiful, and that I was locked up in here as a punishment for such a crime, as beauty like mine was not tolerated in the outside world. She made it out to look like she was protecting me, and I half believed it.
Days and days passed till her next visit.
I was near the window, looking out at the sky, singing in my wonderful melodic voice, when, from the corner of my eye, I spotted a person with a large backpack and binoculars to his eyes, looking up at me from behind the trees. I almost turned my head to face him, until I saw her coming from the left.
“Let down your hair to me.” She ordered yet again when placed beneath the window.
I tilted my head to the side and looked at his face, full of astonishment. I smiled halfheartedly, and pulled back my hair when she had climbed all the way up, into my cell; my home.
In my solitude, I would sing, more out of pleasure than boredom. My sweet voice soothed me as it resounded and echoed off the cells walls.
Presently, I heard a shaky, rough voice shout “Let down your hair to me.”
I did the usual, and wondered what had happened to my mistress, as I had never heard her voice sound quite so husky. She must have been feeling kind today, as her pull on my hair was gentle. I felt no pain.
Instead of my tall mistress in black clothing whom I was expecting, stood an astounding handsome man. My heart skipped a beat as I took in his gorgeous features. His tanned skin, and perfect, straight nose. His large kind eyes of liquid brown. Like the lightest chocolate around.
“Alas!” he said to me “I was hoping to win you over with my looks, but I see you have beaten me to it.” His voice had a certain, lovely ring to it. I did not quite know what to say.
“Do you speak English?” He asked. His eyes were always on my face. I did not recognize his accent at all.
“Yes,” I managed. “Who are you?”
“I heard you singing that wonderful tune a few days back, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It has so deeply touched my heart that only today did I gain the courage to speak those words and climb up to you.”
“How did you come to be here? I have never heard anyone talk like you.”
“Here? In North Carolina? I say! Have you never heard of a tourist, dear?”
“I – I.” I stuttered. I did not know what to say.
“Hmm. How odd.” He rubbed his chin while examining me. “I have come from England. The hotel which I am staying in told me about a few places I might like to visit. This abandoned jail being one of them. Why are you here, child?”
Child… He might have looked older, but I was eighteen.
“I live here.” I stated. “And I really am not allowed any visitors”
He looked at me with an expression of sadness. “You must be telling lies! What beautiful girl like you would live in a jail cell and not be granted visitors?” So I was beautiful. I smiled.
“I can’t get out.” I thought of my mistress, and how much I hated her. “Could you help me?”
“Certainly, but I cannot get you down today as I need to get down myself by means of your hair. I will come back tomorrow with a plan. I am sure I will come up with something. If not, I shall ask one of my friends for help.” I felt jealous when he said the word friend.
“What is your name?” he asked, his lips pulling up at the corners.
“Rachel.” I answered. “And yours?”
He told me his name was Adam, and after that we talked for hours. I felt very comfortable with him. He slid down my golden hair at twilight; we had lost track of time. I went to sleep quite early, thinking of Adam and how I could eventually be rid of this place.
It was a silent night when her mistress came once more. Tugging on my hair, and pulling with all her might, as usual. I shouted, without deliberating on my words.
“Why do you pull with such force? Adam never hurt me when he came up.” And then I quivered as I realized what I had done.
“You treacherous child, I have given you everything!” She spit, slapping me across the face with such power that I fell to the ground.
I bit my lip hard enough that my pink lips turned red and I cried as she thrust me and beat me to the floor. I could not speak as she tied a woolen cloth tighter than necessary around my mouth. My hands were bound behind me, and I lay motionless on the floor. Then she grabbed a pair of scissors and began to cut lengths and lengths of hair till I was almost bald.
“That teaches you. As for your friend…”
I shook in my place like a fish out of water, or a person having a fit, fumbling with the ropes at my back, but all the knots held good and tight. I only slightly loosened them, but not enough to free my hands.
“Rachel, it is I, Adam. Are you awake?”
“Yes!” The witch giggled in a voice quite like mine and then sneered at me. Grabbing the mountainous pile of hair, she let it down, tying it to the railing in a large, round knot.
It was silent; all that could be heard was Adam’s sighing, as he panted up the hair. My eyes glistened and tears spilled when his face came into view. Though my fingers were sore and bled, I had finally managed to loosen the rope enough to free my hands. I tugged at the cloth and shouted.
“Adam, let go!”
His face was frightful as his eyes darted to the witch.
“You fools.” She said to both of us.
It all happened very quickly then.
First, I saw Adam let go of his grip on my hair, and fall down, into the thorns below the jail cell. After, I was up against the wall, her hands at my throat, chocking me to death. Though she did not kill me, she did ruin my voice. It was all part of her plan, I figured. Adam would not recognize me without my hair, and I could not prove to him who I was without the singing voice which he obviously fell in love with.


Piece 2

The town outside of the shop window was nothing special. Every day was the same in the poor, provincial town. Who knew a small-town-nothing-but-country-and-farms could be so incredibly boring?

I began my trek home in disappointment, the book shop held no book that I had not read already. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Gaston, the town ‘hunk’, who happens to be crazy about me. French name, southern accent. Very humorous.

“Hey, Southern Belle!” He called, using the worst possible nickname pun.

Sighing, I turned around to meet him. “How about it? How about today?”

I didn’t even have to ask what it was. Marriage. “No, Gaston, not today - not ever.”

Not letting him get another word in, I ran home to Papa. Inside, I found a note addressed to me. It read:

I just wanted to let you know that my wood-chopping invention finally worked! I’m off to the fair before it breaks again. I’ll be home in three days - I promise. And don’t worry - even a country boy’s got some street smarts.
Love you always,

Laughing, I knew he’d be fine. Or at least, I thought he would be. Looking back, I guess it was foolish of me to expect him to manage safely in a big city - the only one he’d ever been to.

The call came four days after he had left - up until then I thought that maybe he’d just stopped overnight somewhere and that was why he wasn’t home.

“Belle,” His frantic voice met me before I could even say ‘hello’. “Belle, listen to me. I’m in a mansion, held prisoner, somewhere near Phoenix-”

“Papa! Where at in Phoenix? I’ll come-”

“No, Belle. You mustn’t come looking for me. I’m old and I’ve lived my life. I just wanted to say goodbye, for now. I love you so much.”

“Papa…I-I love you -” Before I could finish the line went dead.

After that I knew what I had to do. It wasn’t too hard to guess where the mansion was - there was only one between Oklahoma and Phoenix.

And so I set out to rescue my father. With no plan of how to do so, and no idea who might be holding him prisoner, I felt as if I was walking onto a battlefield blindfolded. But there was no other way, I knew I couldn’t let my father just sit in a cell with some stranger.

Days passed as I drove through the winding country roads. Finally I escaped the depressing setting of the green cornfields and dirt roads and entered into a whole new world. Before the desert of Arizona, there’s a compromise between city and desert. It didn’t take long to discover the brick house on top of the hill, isolated and closed off from the rest of the town by a huge wrought iron gate.

I stopped in front of it and got out of my car. The wind whipped at my brown hair, forcing sections of it to sting at my face. Standing there, I contemplated how to possibly get inside. There was no key pad to buzz up to the house, nor was there a guard standing on duty. Having no better option, I simply pushed the doors. Lo and behold they both swung open without protest. Shrugging, I got back into the car, driving the mile-long driveway up the hill.

There, I was again faced with another door. Again, I decided to just try to open it. Surprisingly, it was unlocked. Even in my small, safe town we never dared leave our doors unlocked. This man must not have much common sense. That or he welcomed threats, intruders, and mass murderers.

Inside, the grand house was dark and cold. Most of all, silent.

My footsteps echoed through the whole, bare, house. Somewhere in the distance I heard a faint, scuffling noise. And perhaps very, very, very hushed whispers of voices.

Knowing better than to call out, I kept walking. A few moments later I finally discovered a lit floor lamp. Odd, I thought, but decided to turn in the direction of the lamp. On a side table next to the lamp, sat a digital alarm clock, which I also found quite strange due to the fact that the rest of the room was covered with gray sheets, as if the master of the house had long moved. Except one other object. A single ray of light from the outside world shone in this room, and it kissed the single, withering rose in a vase, covered by glass.

Almost entranced, as if by some outside force, I began walking to the flower. As my hands reached out for the glass, a hand suddenly struck me, sending me to the ground, away from the rose. Looking up, I saw the assaulter’s face illuminated in the light ray.

My hand rose to my mouth in astonishment as I took in the appearance of him. He had long, brown hair, cascading down past his shoulders. His height was towering, standing, I guessed, near six and a half feet. Hair coated his arms so thickly you could hardly tell his skin color. Vibrant blues eyes glared at me with fury.

“What are you doing here?” He growled.

Hoping my voice was strong, I said, “I came to rescue my father. You’ve taken him hostage.”

“Ahh, the old man,” He nearly scoffed. “Why wouldn’t you just leave h-” Something made him pause, and suddenly his face turned soft as he glanced at me once more. “You-you would do that?”

“He’s my father. I can’t very well just leave him here, can I?”

“Might I ask how old you are?”

“Twenty-five. And yourself?” I couldn’t understand why he changed the conversation point, but perhaps it was better to talk about this.

“Thirty-five.” He allowed himself to smile. “Would you be willing to take your father’s place here…?” He struggled for a name.

“Belle,” I supplied him.

“If it means my father’s freedom, then yes…”

“Braxton.” He provided.

Braxton bid me to come with him, and so I did. He led me through the winding halls, finally landing in the room where my father was.

“Papa!” I yelled, running to him.

“Belle! I told you not to come!” He embraced me and whispered so low I could barely hear, “He’s a monster. We must get out of here.”

I couldn’t reply to him, couldn’t tell him what I had done, what I had agreed to, so I just shook my head and held him tighter.

“Mr. Petre,” Braxton began, “you are free to go. Your daughter has agreed to take your place.”

Days went by, with each passing hour I missed Papa more and more. But I couldn’t regret my decision to replace him. And besides, Braxton wasn’t all that bad. He had given me the library, after I saved his life from a coyote that made its way onto the property. I also soon realized that the mansion was enchanted. The lamp, alarm clock, and coffee pot were especially welcoming to me.

“Belle,” He whispered softly as we sat on the couch together in the newly uncovered room with the lamp and alarm clock. I had turned on some new show on ABC family. “I need to tell you something.” When I gave no other reply than turning off the TV and looking at him, he proceeded. “I was put under a horrible spell, my house along with me. I was made to appear animal-like for the sake of me not seeing inner beauty. God knows I don’t care about appearances now. And if I do not find love by the time that last rose petal falls, we will all be trapped like this forever.”

At the time, I wasn’t sure how to react to that. And to tell you the truth, I’m still not. It was only when I found myself lying beside Braxton as his breathing slowed and I could already see his body atrophying that I came to realize the answer.

Memories of our time filled my mind. Playing in the snow together, dancing in the ball room as if in child’s book, and promising him I would never leave - even if given my freedom. How could I have denied my feelings for so long? He had made his apparent by his very nature.

“I cannot deny you anymore,” I sobbed into his chest. “I love you.”

His body was wrapped in a blanket of light and I wondered for but a moment if the Angels had come to take him from me. But then I realized his body changing. His long hair shortened to rest lazily at his chin, his eyes softened, his arms became less shaggy. And, his face changed…I’m not sure how, but it changed. It was more…loving that before.

Coming to his feet, he pulled me with him. “You’ve broken the spell, Belle.” He picked me up by my waist and swung me around. “I love you, too, by the way.”

Braxton raked a hand through my hair, placing another hand at the small of my back. Drawing me into him, my lips met his with such a fiery passion, I swear it set off fireworks.

But perhaps that’s just me. And perhaps it’s only because I finally realized how to respond to his statement about the spell.

To love completely, you must love someone for who they are. Not what they are.


jpereztheargus said...


I am so excited.

Okay, on to business.

I loved number one. I am not familiar with the original story, but I thought your adaption was clever and sad. I thought it had a clear plot and a satisfying ending.

I thought the dialogue did not sound contemporary, but besides that I loved it.

I thought the second story was very cute and I enjoyed the humor of it very much. My only criticism is that the story sounded too much like Disney's version of Beauty and the Beast.

Anyways, I choose Number One! I thought it told a complete story and fulfilled the prompt of being a modern adaption of a fairy tale.

Cant wait to show y'all mine!

Tessie said...

I love fairytales! Anyway, onto the main questions.
1) I pick the second piece

2) I chose the second piece because I liked the style that it was written in and I liked the message at the end

What I liked best about the first piece was the ending! I liked the twist a lot. I thiiink it's Rapunzel, and unfortunately I only know the part about her hair, but I liked the way it was adapted.

The thing I noticed about the pieces was that I was a little confused at first whether or not they were modern-day or old. Unless I misunderstood. Then I would feel like I was yelling at an apple for tasting too much like fruit.

I'm still sane, *promise*. It's the weather :P Good job to both of you.

Carly Gaile said...

I would feel dirty if I voted for a specific piece. I know Hanna's writing too well to vote, because I'm pretttttty sure I know which is hers. Unless, of course, I am completely wrong.

Anywho... I did enjoy reading both the pieces. I'm a sucker for a happy ending, so I didn't neccesarily LIKE the ending of the first piece. But writing is all about opinions, and the first piece was well writen... so it all balances out.

I also love comedy in stories... Hanna knows I write most of my stories about dogs in trouble and whatnot... so I loved the comedy in the second piece.

I think the writer of the first piece could of added comedy and made it a win-win.

I'll write a story of my own, just for fun. (This does, by the way, sound incredibly fun!!)


jpereztheargus said...

Hey, charlie and hanna!

Um, I know that the story entry is due today, but i was wondering if I could have a few hours extension.

My bday was on the 7th, so I kinda lost track of whats happening.

I should have the story complete and sent to both of your emails 1 or 2 in the morning.

Hanna said...


Yeah, I think that'd be fine. I'm still waiting on someone to vote anyway, so I'll read yours first thing tomorrow morning.

Happy birthday, by the way! Way to tell me! 20 now?

jpereztheargus said...

Hey guys.

I have to drop my name from consideration. I was unable to complete the assignment.

im really sorry, but i promise to compete in the next one!

Hanna said...


That's perfectly fine. You are never obligated to participate, it's totally optional.

I'm just waiting for Charlie to fill out a few posts so we can get the results posted and get the next contest rolling!