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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Help Wanted

I need YOUR help. I am going to enter a writing contest but I want you to help me decide which version of the story I should enter. Here are a few things you must know first. The story had to be for children ages 3 - 8 and be no more than 500 words. I can not be a published author, nor be in the process of getting a book published. (I haven't even written it yet.) I can not have won any national writing contest (haven't even entered) and I have to be 18 or older. (I think I qualify there.) The story will be judged for the following criteria:

*Appropriate story/content for children 3 - 8
*Emotional connection
*Writing quality
*Uniqueness
*Read-aloud potential

And keep in mind that there are no pictures. If the story wins, it will be sent to a children's book publishing company. I think someone will do illustrations then.

Please read these stories with all this in mind and then vote accordingly. And please do this quickly as I have to enter the story soon. Thanks!


The Notched Stick
by Rebekah Morris

“What’s the matter, Robbie? Hard day at school?”
Robbie plopped down on the porch step. “Brian keeps picking on me, Grandpa, and I’m getting tired of it. He just won’t leave me alone.”
“I know a way to stop it.”
“Really! How?”
“Wait here a minute.” Grandpa stepped inside the house to return with a smooth, well polished walking stick.
“You want me to hit Brian with that?” Robbie was clearly puzzled.
Grandpa laughed. “No. Do you see these notches?”
“Yes, there are three of them.”
“My father told me it takes three things to make a bully into a friend, so he made notches reminding me.
“The first notch is for smiling. The next time Brian isn’t kind, smile at him and see what happens.”


“Grandpa! I did it. Brian was saying mean things, and I smiled at him!”
“What did he do?”
“He said I was crazy, but then he left me alone.”
“Good. The next notch means to praise him for something, like telling him how good he played, or how great his school project was.”
“But Brian isn’t good at anything.”
“Everyone is good at something. It may take a while, but you can find it if you really look. And keep smiling.”


“Go! Go!” The coach urged his soccer team. “You can do it!”
Robbie watched as Brian kicked the ball passed the goalie to win the game.
“Hey, Brian, you were great making that goal.”
Brian didn’t say anything, but he looked a little puzzled.


“Brian scored a goal today in soccer, Grandpa.”
“Did you praise him?”
Robbie nodded. “He didn’t say anything.”
“That’s okay. This last notch is to do something kind for him.”
“Like what?”
“I think you can find something to do for him. Little opportunities are always coming if you are ready for them. And don’t forget to keep praising and . . .”
“Smiling.”
“That’s right.”


Several days passed before Robbie found the chance to help Brian.
“I can’t find my crayons! I have to have them tonight for homework!” Brian’s grumble reached Robbie’s ears.
He thought a moment. He had extra crayons at home, but they weren’t the special new ones Mom had gotten him. He could let Brian use his new ones. But suppose they got broken? Robbie knew he wouldn’t be able to get more.
“Brian, would you like to borrow my crayons until we can find yours? I have some more at home.”
Brian looked surprised, then embarassed. “I don’t have any more crayons, and I didn’t know how I’d get the homework done. Thanks. And Robbie, I won’t be mean to you anymore. Can we be friends?”



“Grandpa! Grandpa! It worked!” Robbie ran panting up the porch steps. “It really worked. Brian and I are friends!”
“I am so glad, Robbie. And now, I want to give this stick to you so that you will always remember to--”
“Smile, praise and help.”
“That’s right.”
“I love you Grandpa.”




The Notched Stick #2
by Rebekah Morris


“What’s the matter, Robbie? Hard day at school?”
Robbie plopped down on the porch step. “Brian keeps picking on me, Grandpa, and I’m getting tired of it. He just won’t leave me alone.”
“I know a way to stop it.”
Robbie sat up quickly. “Really! How?”
“Wait here a minute.” Grandpa arose from the creaking porch swing and stepped inside the house to return with a smooth, well polished walking stick.
“You want me to hit Brian with that?” Robbie was clearly puzzled.
Grandpa laughed. “No. Do you see these notches?”
“Yes, there are three of them.”
“My father told me it takes three things to make a bully into a friend. Each of these notches is one thing.
“The first notch is for smiling. The next time Brian isn’t kind, smile at him and see what happens.”


“Grandpa! I did it. Brian was saying mean things, and I smiled at him!”
“What did he do?”
“He said I was crazy, but then he left me alone.”
“Good. The next notch means to praise him for something, like telling him how good he played, or how great his school project was.”
“But Brian isn’t good at anything.” Robbie gave a push which set the porch swing in motion.
“Everyone is good at something. It may take a while, but you can find it if you really look. And keep smiling.”


“Brian scored a goal today in soccer, Grandpa.”
“Did you praise him?”
Robbie nodded. “He didn’t say anything.”
“That’s okay. This last notch,” Grandpa rubbed his finger over the stick’s smooth surface, “is to do something kind for him.”
“Like what?”
“I think you can find something to do for him. Little opportunities are always coming if you are ready for them. And don’t forget to keep praising and . . .”
“Smiling.” Robbie answered grinning.


Several days passed before Robbie found the chance to help Brian.
“I can’t find my crayons! I have to have them tonight for homework!” Brian’s grumble reached Robbie’s ears.
He thought a moment. He had extra crayons at home, but they weren’t the special new ones Mom had gotten him. He could let Brian use his new ones. But suppose they got broken? Robbie knew he wouldn’t be able to get more.
“Brian, would you like to borrow my crayons until we can find yours? I have some more at home.”
Brian looked surprised, then embarrassed. “I don’t have any more crayons, and I didn’t know how I’d get the homework done. Thanks. And Robbie, I won’t be mean to you anymore. Can we be friends?”



The sun shone brightly on Robbie as he ran panting up the porch steps. “Grandpa! Grandpa!” Robbie’s face beamed with delight. “It worked! It really worked. Brian and I are friends!”
“I am so glad, Robbie. And now, I want to give you this stick so you’ll always remember to--”
“Smile, praise and help. I love you Grandpa.” And he gave him a big hug.

8 comments:

Anna said...

I loved them both, but had to go with the second. Best of luck. ;)

Ruth Ueland said...

They were both good. I think my choice is the first, though. :)

Jana said...

You did a great job!!!
I liked the second one just a little bit better though :D
I hope you win.

Elisabeth said...

I like the second one a lot better. I like the way it ends and there seems to be less conversation in it. :)

celtic31 said...

Definitely the second one. It's more descriptive and more enjoyable to read and hear. I can see how it would be easier to draw pictures for as well. Great job!

---- Big J Photography all rights reserved ---- said...

I like the second one better. I felt like it painted a better visual picture in my mind. When I can "see it" in my head I can "connect" as they say, better with the story. I love the moral of the story and how it is just like what Proverbs 25:21-22 says.

I hope you win too, Bekah!

Amber said...

I liked the second one too. It has more detail. :)

Anonymous said...

I liked the second one - a little more description. - Excellent job sister dear! - Hank