Writing Challenge: A modern Cinderella

The Cinderella story is a perennial romance favorite. We posted 10 Tips for Writing the Perfect Cinderella Story on Wednesday. But it can be challenging making a traditional tale feel new. Are you up for the challenge?

Outline in a few paragraphs your perfect modern Cinderella story:

Your Cinderella: She (or he) is a relatable, honest and generous protagonist who overcomes adversity and steps beyond the regular social boundaries to find happiness.  Describe in a few lines.

Your Prince Charming: He (or she) lives in a privileged and sheltered world, but behaves with honor and integrity, and recognizes what’s really important in life. Describe in a few lines.

They meet: The Cinderella tale is all about the collision of two different worlds! How does your couple meet? Describe!

Need more tips? Check out our Top 5 Tips for Fairy Tale Retellings in the archive.

Post your 3-5 paragraph Cinderella story pitch in the comments below any time between now and Sunday, August 11, 2019, and we’ll check back with you on Monday!

44 replies on “Writing Challenge: A modern Cinderella”

Jasmine Blakely has struggled for everything throughout her life. Laughed at for wearing the wrong clothes because they were home-made, laughed at for wearing glasses, and pitied because when the high school changed uniform her parents couldn’t afford a new one for her…until a girl who was leaving suggested selling her new stuff to her. Finally making it to university, she struggled with her finances. There was no parental back-up plan, no pleasant little flat bought for the duration. No, she had grotty student flats and lived off food marked down at the supermarkets, did without television and haunted the charity shops. Now slim and rather beautiful, with long brown hair, grey eyes and a shapely figure, she was unaware of any male interest because she had to work too hard.
Eventually, it all seems to come right. With a good degree in hospitality and hotel management, she gets her first job, buys some cheap new clothes and really splashes out on laser treatment in order to ditch her glasses. Overdrawn at the bank, she’s always very careful with her wages. After a year in which she realises she’s damned good at her job, managing staff successfully and soothing guests, it all comes apart. She goes into work one morning to find the chain is bankrupt and all the jobs have gone. Now she’s out of a job, owing money and has no income and probably no references…
Daniel Delamere is the handsome and charismatic son of wealthy middle-class parents. He hasn’t been indulged too much and had even worked at odd jobs here and there to show willing, but he didn’t need to. He attended a good school with all the right uniform, always crisply ironed and dry-cleaned, before winning a place at Cambridge to read Computer Sciences. While there, he rowed for his college, did all the right things such as attending the Carol Services at Kings, the formal dinners and the summer balls, eventually leaving with lots of friends, a first-class degree, a body honed by rowing and good health, with thick dark brown hair and green eyes. He’d formed no long-lasting attachments and now was entering the world of computing which fascinated him. He eventually becomes a multi-millionaire from the development of some artificial intelligence badly wanted by a multinational company. Now back from the States, living in a penthouse in the London Docklands, he decides on a complete change of direction but as yet has no idea what to do.
A cold spring morning finds Daniel wandering in St James’s Park, tossing various options around in his mind. Although he’s still very sought after, both for work and his social aptitude, he feels he wants to leave the world of computing before he burns up. His jeans hug his slim body and his chestnut leather jacket, zipped up to his strong chin, echoes the rich colour of his hair. He becomes aware, on his second circuit of the lake, of a solitary figure of a young woman standing with her shoulders hunched against the cold, staring out across the lake. He shakes his head. Such stupidly inadequate clothes for a day as cold as this. Looking away, something makes him turn his head again to see her step to the very edge of the bank. He doesn’t know how deep the lake is and whether someone could drown in it, but something about her hunched shoulders worries him and in several quick strides he crosses the grass and catches hold of her arm.
As she turns, he sees her face is twisted in misery and despair and realises the clothes are inadequate due to lack of money rather than lack of sense. She struggles and protests but Daniel persists in his calm reasoning until she dissolves into sobs and slumps against him, her lips blue with cold. Daniel senses something is badly wrong and it worries his kind nature. He slips his arm round her waist and assists her across the grass and along the path to the nearest café. Once there, he buys her coffee and a Danish, waits until her crying jag finishes and then invites her to talk.

Dear Jasmine, Wow! This has quite the Cinderella feel to it. I like how Jasmine has worked hard for everything she has and finally is at her wit’s end when the hotel goes bankrupt. There are those moments when you just can’t take any more hardship. My only question was how she didn’t know ahead of time about the hotel’s downward spiral. This would, of course, be fleshed out in the story. I also think that she would have a lot of good references given how well she did at her job. Surely, her coworkers would help. At the same time, you do a good job of presenting a difficult situation for Jasmine and how she’s very ready for a nice “prince” to help guide her out of that despair. Well done!

Determined not to be seen with her cane, Paige opened the door. Her leg groaned under her weight. Jaw tightening, she stepped onto the covered verandah. Nudged by the wind, the old swing hanging to one side creaked. “Can I help you?”
The driver slid out of his ratty Chevy. Door slammed shut, he came around to her side. “Are you Paige Madison?” A slight drawl colored his words. Maybe not Texas bred and born, but close.
Giving him a sweep from head to toe, Paige felt the unwelcome kick of desire. Clad in faded jeans and leather work boots, the sleeves of his plaid shirt were cuffed up to his elbows. Tanned and solid, he was tall, sinew and all male.
“Yes, but—”
Her visitor ambled up, swiping aside a fringe of blond curls ruling over a piercing gaze. “I’m not who you’re waiting for.”
She gave a suspicious squint. “So who are you?”
The stranger laughed. “I’m Andy’s nephew. He got tied up on another job, so he sent me out.”
Paige relaxed. “Well, any family of Andy’s is always welcome.”
“Thank you, ma’am.” He extended a hand. “I’m Lucas Walker.”
Letting go of the post, Paige meant to return his gesture. Somehow, she missed an entire step, lurching forward and losing her balance. Arms flailing, she overcompensated, failing to stop her momentum. Pitching forward, she collided with a solid male body, landing smack dab in a strange man’s arms.

Dear Pamela, There’s nothing like a heroine *literally* falling into the heroine’s arms. You present Paige’s physical obstacle clearly and the fact that she and the hero aren’t exactly supposed to meet, but do anyway. It is kind of a meet-cute not fated to happen and yet that is what makes it work. Obviously, you would need to lengthen this is a bit to give the reader an idea of the hero’s traits, but in a short few paragraphs, you give us good information about this story. Nicely done!

Lucinda Barry is a 50-something year old former bank employee who lost her job over a year ago. She has since been working for a former client, Harriett Stafford, the “grande dame” of the town of Casco Cove, Maine where they live. Lucinda is a widow, who has no children, but is is close to her niece, Lilly, who is a teacher and lives and works in Boston. Lucinda was taken pity upon by Harriett, who always thought that Lucinda never reached her professional potential at the bank where Harriett keeps her huge fortune. Lucinda is quiet and unassuming. She hides her pretty porcelain skin and green eyes behind thick black-rimmed glasses, with her platinum hair pulled back in a severe bun. Ever since her husband died, her looks are not something that she worried about because she no longer cared. Her husband was her world, and she knew there was no other man out there for her. Lucinda is Harriett’s personal assistant which means whatever Harriett wants, Lucinda does. Lucinda needed a job after being laid off from the bank, and when Harriett offered Lucinda the job, Lucinda felt she had no choice but to accept, feeling she sold her soul to the devil himself. Herself. Currently Lucinda is preparing Harriett’s mansion for Harriett’s daughter Roseamund’s fourth wedding.

Lucinda is doing a final check of the great room in Harriett’s mansion. All is in order and Lucinda is about to close the door, when she bumps into Poppy Stafford, Roseamund’s older divorced sister. Poppy’s six foot frame (practically six and half counting the ridiculous heels she’s clicking around the house in) towers over Lucinda’s 5 foot two inch frame. Poppy has bottle bleached hair with roots as black as fireplace soot and a face so full of Botox her smile looks pained. She is dressed in jeans, white tennis shoes, and a bright red Polo shirt and is as thin as the proverbial weed, with the blue veins in her hands popping out like ropes on a sailboat. She informs Lucinda she is off to the airport to pick up her wedding date, Paolo Montenegro, saying his name with a highly exaggerated accent, and as if he were the most famous person in the world. She also lets Lucinda know he is fantastic husband material now that she is single again. Her eyes are laden with huge black false eyelashes and she winks at Lucinda who thought one was going to fall right into her face.

Lucinda’s next duty was to pick up wedding gifts at Waterson’s Department Store in town. She hops into Harriett’s Range Rover and makes the drive to the store. Walking through the store, someone is calling her name. She turns and sees her former co-worker, Collette, behind one of the makeup counters. Lucinda is happy to see her old friend and that Collette is doing what she always dreamed of doing. They catch up and Lucinda tells her about Roseamund’s wedding. A glint of excitement sparkles in Collette’s eyes as she asks is Lucinda will be attending. Lucinda tells her she will be there because she is working it, not as a guest. Collette convinces Lucinda to come to her house the morning of the wedding for a makeover. Lucinda begrudgingly agrees because Collette was always a good friend at the bank and she knew she was dying to try out her skills on “an older beauty” as Collette often referred to Lucinda. Collette transforms Lucinda. Her hair is the color of white gold and her green eyes illuminated by the magic of Collette’s make up brushes. As she and Collette were the same size, and Collette being a shopaholic, she pulls from her closet a green form fitting dress with silver sandals. The only problem are the glasses. Lucinda confesses that she can see well without them, but always found them to be a protective shield of sorts. Collette tells her to ditch them in the glove compartment for tonight and presents her with a glittery sliver shawl in case the evening gets chilly. “This can be your protective armor for the evening,” Collette tells her.

The evening of the wedding Lucinda was checking the kitchen with chef Hector, who almost slicked a finger after seeing a silver vision grace the pantry who turned out to be Lucinda. Upon finding everything up to speed in the kitchen, she slowly walked down the hall towards the great room, realizing her vision without her glasses wasn’t as good as she thought it was and walking on heels was tricky. Thinking she heard Chef Hector call her name, she turned her head as she continued walking and banged into what she thought was a wall, sending her flying down onto the floor. She heard a male voice profusely apologizing, saying he wasn’t looking where he was going and she could make out a hand reaching toward her. She gratefully grasped it and as she did, a volt of electricity seared right up her arm. Feeling weakened by the fall and the jolt she found herself looking into an extraordinarily handsome face. She lost her breath for a moment, not because of the fall but because of the man who just knocked her to the floor. He had an Asian look about him, with black eyebrows framing large round brown eyes. His nose, wide at the bridge, sat atop a bright smiling mouth. The jolt was not unfamiliar and was last felt over twenty-five years ago when she first met her husband. This man profusely apologized, saying he didn’t see her, was she alright, I’ so sorry. She told him to please not worry about anything and that she was perfectly fine. He then said “for someone I almost gave a concussion to, I don’t even know your name. I’m Paolo.”

Sincere apologies–after reading this a few hours later I noticed a couple of what I hope are forgiveable typos! Thanks for the challenge!

Dear Barbara, You had me at “Lucinda was a 50-something-year-old bank employee…”. Even though we don’t see what is termed as “older” heroines (ahem), I love this idea for a Cinderella story. This heroine is very appealing with her surviving her husband’s death and working hard, not expecting to find true love. The other thing I like about this story is that it is full of strong female characters. I’m rooting for Lucinda and Paolo. Well done!

Thank you for your comments, Patience! This is actually from a story I wrote a few years ago when I was in my fairy tale/Cinderella phase of my writing, and I thought the magic of Cinderella can cast a romantic spell on anyone, at any time, and at any age!

Ebony is a young woman how tends to keep herself to herself. After a past of an abusive partner, who can blame her not to trust people. She lives alone in a small flat with roof garden that looks over the entire town. She watched as the sun blossoms in the west and hides in the east. Ebony wants nothing more but to be happy. Herself in the local call centre makes her feel trapped and as though her heart has given up its pursuit. Often, as customers scream at her she’ll place her long ringlets over her emerald eyes to shade her emotion and cast it to one side. The mangers are no better who demand higher and higher targets everyday. When will the vultures stop?

Officer Edward Angel is on leave, heading back from Portsmouth, his train gets delayed and then cancelled. Could his day get any worse? It could. As he leaves the station to get something to eat the heavens open and a storm erupts. Edward seeks shelter in a local book shop to dry off. He runs his fingers through his dark hair allowing the droplets of water stored to disburse down his neck. Edward is completely fed up as he hears his stomach grumble. Why didn’t he just take the bike? Better still, if the navy didn’t need him in the air he might have actually been able to take his driving test by now. He was a fairly tall man with large shoulders and kind eyes. His eyes were a deep blue, I guess you could say he had ocean heart eyes, very fitting considering his occupation. He felt blessed that he decided to wear his civilian clothes and not uniform home especially when he was now trapped in a town that defaintly wasn’t familiar with military personnel.
Both Ebony and Edward assumed this was a mundane day just like the other rubbish days that had come before this one. How could they have known today would be the day that would change their life forever? Ebony stumbled quite literally into the small book shop, drenched with black droplets leaving her eyes. Why does mascara hurt so much? She thought.
“Are you okay there Bonnie?” The frail keeper asked with concern. He sat hunched over in the corner of the shop submerged in piles of books. “I’m fine thank you Jerry, just going to browse I think.”
“ I see you’ve just finished” Jerry points at Ebony’s blue lanyard still hanging around her neck likea collar for an controlled animal. “ I have indeed, I got caught in the storm.”
“Oh I see. I will put a pop on then. Be a dear Bonnie and ask that young fellow if he’d a brew.” Jerry says as he disappears to the back.
I turn to the corner of the room and our eyes meet. Mine green and his blue. Time seems to stop for a moment. My heart races and my mouth his dry. I don’t know why I suddenly feel so foolish. I still dobt say anything. Instead a northern voice softly says, “ well, I’m going to presume he means me in which case, how could I possibly refuse?”

Dear Samantha, Wow! You do a lovely job of setting the scene for your reader and giving us lots of description of your characters. I like how you bring them together after informing us of their less-than-fun day. It’s a nice reward and your reader will be eager to see what happens next. Well done!

Sameer Singh is a multimillionare who handles challenges , mergers ,women but cannot handle the two toddlers.Sapna their new nanny is an orphan who he loves the two kids. Will the egotistic Sameer realize that Sapna is the woman who can complete his family before it is too late ?

Sameer Singh was busy in a conference when his secretary busted in the board room.

“Sorry sir But there is an urgent call from your residence otherwise I wouldn’t have interrupted such an important meeting ”

This was the third such interruption in the last fifteen days . His usually soft spoken and efficient secretary seemed panicked because she knew that she might even loose her job over this.

As he moved out of the boardroom she whispered,” Sir it’s your housekeeper she says the nanny has left ”

Oh no not again .What was wrong these days ? Could nobody look after two year old toddlers any more ?

He called home ,” What happened Maria ?”

” I told you she was not good . Rehan fell down the stairs and she just left abruptly without even looking back “Maria scolded him.

“Maria just give me two hours and I will arrange something . Could you please look after Rehaan and Ritika till then ? I will be grateful ”

” Don’t be silly Sameer . I can always look after them . You carry on your work and don’t worry about the kids ”

Maria had been with his family for around forty years. Infact she had practically raised him. She had been more of a mother to him and his brother than their real mom who was too busy with her social life to attend to her two sons .
She was perfect for the toddlers but now Maria was too old to look after two year old kids .

After this board meeting he would hire some other agency for finding a nanny for these kids .

After the meeting he called his secretary to speak with another placement agency but before he could say anything she informed him that two candidates were waiting to be interviewed.

He was surprised at her efficiency because even before he asked her she had arranged for two candidates to be interviewed.

“Send them in ”

The first candidate was in her late twenties good looking but her dressing sense was too provocative.Infact the girl seemed to be more interested in him than in the job.

He didn’t want a bad influence on the children so after asking her two questions he sent her .

The second girl was in her mid twenties quite beautiful but dressed demurely.

She seemed to be shy not that it mattered because she was to interact with the children and not him .She seemed to be ok .

” Do you have any experience with kids ?”

Sapna was surprised because when did a secretarial job need any experience with toddlers ?

“Not much sir but I have been surrounded with kids all my life so I do know the basics ”
What do you mean by basics?”asked Sameer.

“Basics like the kind of food they eat or taking them to the park or even talking to them . Basically I think kids just need love and attention. Rest of the things come later on ”

Sameer liked her answer. Also she seemed sincere in her answers .He decided to appoint her .

“Ok you are appointed.”

Sapna was surprised . He hadn’t asked a single question regarding her secretarial skilss and had appointed her.

“When do I report sir ?”

“Do you have to serve a notice period somewhere ?”

“No sir ”

” Ok then you can join from tomorrow ”

Sapna was thrilled.

“Where do you live ? I will send my chauffeur to help you pack and then bring your stuff ”

She seemed to be confused . Then he realised his mistake ” Actually I forgot to inform you that you will be staying at my place.”

Sapna couldn’t understand why should a secretary stay at the boss’s residence?

Sameer saw her expression change when he again realised that what he had conveyed could be misunderstood.

Actually, you will be allotted rooms in the cottage near my residence”

Sapna heaved a sigh of relief. This job was god sent . Another problem solved . Not only did she have a job now she needn’t worry for accommodation as well .

I liked the way that you incorporated a number of different hooks here without letting the story feel like something I’ve read before. This is a fantastic spin on the Cinderella story, so great job!

Isabella Gonzalez is a 26 year old junior business analyst at food giant Tia Rosa corporation in Minneapolis. She gets bypassed for promotions but her ideas are regularly claimed by supervisors as their own. Isabella tolerates these indignities because her real passion is New to Me, a nonprofit she founded to provide free quinceañera and prom dresses to underprivileged young women. She applies for a grant from Tia Rosa to increase the number of girls she can help.

Miguel Rodriguez is the 35 year old CEO of Tia Rosa, founded by his parents who came to the sugar beet fields of Minnesota with dreams of a better life. Miguel thrives on the challenge of managing 15,000 employees worldwide and doubling the size of the company since taking over ten years ago. He is most proud of his new corporate giving initiative to improve the communities where Tia Rosa operates.

Isabella receives a grant from Tia Rosa but as soon as the check is deposited the money disappears. She reports the theft but the evidence points to her being the thief and she is suspended from her job. Miguel takes it personally that his own employee stole grant money and goes to confront Isabella. He is surprised to see a humble, gracious, beautiful woman as she helps girls pick out dresses. Miguel has been accused of being an undisciplined playboy who doesn’t take his job seriously; maybe she’s been misjudged too. He offers his own forensic accountants to investigate the theft and watches her reaction. Isabella gratefully accepts his help and Miguel begins to trust her. He gives her a ride home and overhears a call from her former supervisor asking for advice. He realizes Isabella is the brains behind many innovations but didn’t receive credit. She explains she can’t be promoted without a degree; she dropped out of college to help run her parents’ restaurant after her father died. Miguel sees the practical experience with food suppliers gave her a background that has benefitted Tia Rosa.

Isabella invites Miguel in for dinner and he is touched by her kindness when she knows his intent tonight was to punish her for the theft. After dinner he invites Isabella to be his date for a fundraising gala on Saturday. She agrees then realizes she can’t go; the event starts before New to Me closes, though after the theft she wonders if she can open at all. Miguel promises things will get better soon. The next day racks of dresses and shoes arrive at New to Me paid for by Miguel. She can now help dozens more girls than expected.

On Saturday night, Miguel surprises Isabella with a collection of evening gowns for her and stylists to do her hair and make up for the gala. Isabella is touched that he chose to be an hour late rather than go without her. She feels like a fairy princess as Miguel escorts her outside to a horse drawn carriage and they share their first kiss. Miguel reveals his team proved her accountant stole the money and the police will arrest him in the morning. At the gala they dance and drink champagne. Isabella is afraid she is falling for Miguel; he couldn’t possibly feel the same way about her. After the gala Miguel teases that he would like to offer Isabella her job back but it would be inappropriate for him to date an employee. He offers to personally pay her a salary to make New to Me her full time job and the foundation will make a monthly donation so she can serve more families. Isabella is overwhelmed and asks what she can do to repay him. He asks her to never stop being the brilliant, loving, hard working woman with whom he’s falling in love.

I love the amount of power you gave Isabella. Oftentimes, heroines in Cinderella retellings can come across as damsels that need saving, but you made it clear that your heroine is strong and intelligent. Good job!

Title: If the Boot Fits

During open mic night at Sassy’s, a Nashville dive bar, music producer Ryan Davis can’t help but notice the curves of Naomi Clark’s acoustic guitar match the shape of her voluptuous body.

Straight out of a rural mountain town in Tennessee, she is a little rough around the edges. However, he has helped guys and girls with less star quality than her shine like the Big Dipper. Best of all, her raspy, velvety voice has enough twang to quickly secure her place as a member of country music royalty.

After Naomi’s set, polished and handsome Ryan asks her to stop by his office the next day to talk about recording a demo and planning some more high profile performances. She notices his sexy smile and charming demeanor but turns him down due to her live-in uncle’s strict rules about singing anywhere other than church. She explains she has been able to hide her performances at the bar, but can’t afford to take any more chances.

Ryan is persistent and begins attending her uncle’s church, hoping to build a relationship with Naomi and her family and ultimately convince her uncle why she belongs onstage. Eventually, Ryan is successful, but what he doesn’t count on is them falling in love during Naomi’s rise to fame.

I really enjoyed the background you gave these characters. I would be fascinated to see what you would write for the ball scene. After all, part of the magic of the Cinderella story is having a prince-like character fall for someone he never expects. As such, would the hero secretly set up a concert for the heroine?

Thanks so much. I definitively agree about the concert scene. If I were to write this novel, I’d include Ryan setting up a concert where Naomi would open for her childhood hero, Dolly Parton, at the Ryman Auditorium, also known as the Mother Church of Country Music.

Cinderella story – in reverse and with a Regency twist

Lady Violet Bourne knows a lot about herbal remedies which she has used to heal the soldiers under her father the Earl of Bute and Argyll’s command during the Peninsular Wars. A bit of a headstrong baggage, she has to face her worst fears when her father’s death propels her back to London society to find herself a husband so that the family name will continue. She doesn’t need the financial benefit of having a husband: just an heir.

It was at the Battle of Salamanca that she met Jamie MacDougal, a black-haired Highlander press-ganged into the army and then taken under the wing of Sir Arthur McGrigor, the Army surgeon. Although Jamie has huge experience of battlefield medicine, he can never hope to be a doctor now that the war is over due to his low background and lack of money. Although he had a large war chest saved, on his return to London he gave it to the wife of his Sergeant, who was fatally wounded in the war, under the pretence that it belonged to the Sergeant.

They meet at a masked ball organised by Sir James to celebrate the end of the Peninsular Wars. Violet has chosen to attend dressed as a milk-maid while one of Jamie’s two sisters who works as a seamstress has fashioned him a domino out of a piece of silk rejected by one of her patrons. Jamie hopes that Sir Arthur has invited him to offer him employment of some kind that will use the skills he now has. Violet hopes to find someone who is attracted to her for her personality without being blinded by her enormous wealth.

They meet beneath a starry sky at midnight with fireworks exploding in the skies above them.

Hi guys. A little reminder from school days: “ALWAYS read the exam question”!! How did I miss the pesky little word ‘modern’ in the challenge?! My only excuse is that I’m distracted because I’m four episodes into series one of TV ‘Outlander’!! I do love a man in a kilt!

I really enjoyed this story. I mean – who doesn’t love stories inspired by Outlander? I love the imagery of the having the hero and the heroine meet under a sky filled with fireworks. That would be stunning.

Fashionably Late:
A Cinderella Story
By Tara Callahan
Meet Sydney McAdams. Sydney is a music fanatic, plain Jane twentysomething who loves rock music to its core. She would do almost anything to get to see her favorite bands at their concerts. She learned from her the last mistake getting fired from her last job when she skipped out of her job early to go to a concert. With the help from her father, she started working for the up and coming businesswoman Linda Houser. She has one thing to prove to her newest employer- that she has the motivation to be on time and work ethic to work up the ranks of the fashion world.
Meet Wilson Newton. He is a fanatic/blogger in the entertainment world. He is also an aspiring musician who does local gigs around the town. Wilson Newton is a bit reserved, but he also has the personality of an overthinker meets artistic soul. He has that gorgeous smile that is referenced in Taylor Swift’s song “Gorgeous”. Wilson’s voice is equivalent to the lead singer of Red Sun Rising meets Thrice’s lead singer meets Incubus meets Seether. His looks are comparable to model meets actor. Wilson Newton is gorgeous and mysterious.
Sydney and Wilson meet during the act of grabbing The Babys Anthology album. He is rummaging through records at the Godmother Record Store. He is looking for The Babys albums. He found out about this band when he was doing research on the lead singer John Waite. He has a Bad English album in his hand. After a quick banter and discussing who should graciously buy the album- Sydney gives it to him as well as the ticket to the concert that she cannot go to. Sydney and Wilson try to make a date to make up for the loss of the album and ticket, but their schedules do not work. The manger of the record store tells Sydney to get to work.
“You work here?” Wilson asked.
“No. I work for an evil woman who wants to take the town into a fashion sense that I will never understand. I am not too fashionable and never will be, but Linda Houser wants to me to become that girl. I must leave go to work.” Sydney said as she gave the manager a scrunched-up face and stuck her tongue out.
“You’ll thank me later.” The manager replied laughing it off.
“Yeah, I don’t think so.” Sydney said as she walked off looking at her watch again realizing that she was late again. The manager and Wilson discuss how Sydney and manager met. The manager and Wilson talk for a minute before Wilson realized that he is being watched. He puts on a pair of sunglasses and hat on and leaves the record store abruptly.

Nice description, Tara! I like the rock music angle of your story idea. I’d be curious to know a bit more about how the worlds of your characters clash and what obstacles that would create for them. Thanks for doing our challenge!

I had a blast working on this writing challenge. The main conflict would lead up to the fact that Wilson is not who he says he is. When Sydney finds out who he is- she begins to wonder if she could really fit into his world and lifestyle while trying to come up in this fashion world- which is not the dream she wanted but her father’s dream for her. Wilson has his own dreams as well and people are telling him how to live out his life. He begins to wonder whose world he wants to live in as well. As they get closer to each other they also pull each away. They are independent people who do not like to let others in. Or fall in love.

Lisa was tired to the bone but knew she’d have no opportunity to get some R&R for at least a week. With a heavy sigh, she smoothed out the front of her knee length black skirt, picked up a tray filled with glasses of champagne and walked into the reception area. At 5’ 8” with bright green eyes, shining raven hair that she was wearing up this evening, an hourglass figure, and legs that went for days, Lisa was not one to be overlooked when entering a room. Even when walking with purpose, her breasts had an eye catching bounce and her hips a provocative sway; she carried herself with grace while managing to exude sensuality, which she was completely oblivious to. Although she was working the fundraiser as part of the catering team, she found it difficult to keep her thoughts focused on the present. She mentally calculated how close she was to her goal of opening her own restaurant. It shouldn’t be long now, she thought, yet still so far. Besides working as a full time chef, she took on as many catering gigs as she could because the pay was great. Recently Lisa had stretched herself to the limit so she could help to pay for her little sister’s college tuition. With their parents having died in a horrific car accident 5 years ago, Lisa had taken it upon herself to give her sister every opportunity to be successful, no matter how many extra hours she had to work. Lisa had been unaware that she had caught the attention of this evening’s host.

Rod had walked into the kitchen just as Lisa was smoothing her skirt, with deliberate yet sensual movements of her hands. He found himself attracted to this beautiful woman with an intensity somewhat like being caught in a magnetic field. Rod was a powerhouse in commercial development. His success was evident in his beautiful home, in the clothes he wore and the cars he drove. He was an advocate for accessible living for the homeless and people with low income. In every building project, despite whining from the shareholders, he designated and personally subsidized 10% of the apartments to people who desperately needed a safe place of their own to call home. Tonight’s party was to raise funds for a local homeless shelter. A moment after Lisa walked out to the living room with her tray in hand, Rod made his way there too, albeit slowly, as he was frequently stopped to engage in conversation with his guests. He may have been talking to them but his eyes were locked on Lisa’s every move. As if she could sense his gaze on her, Lisa turned toward him. She gave him an appraising look and seemed to like the appearance of his 6’ tall, athletic build. When her eyes locked with his, Lisa’s face flushed in a self conscious blush of embarrassment, or he thought, he hoped, was it from the same heated physical attraction?

After many trips going back and forth from party to the kitchen, with heavy trays laden with food and drink, Lisa was really feeling how overtired she was. She stumbled several times walking across the room, so shook her head vigorously to snap herself out of her fatigue. Lisa spun around with the intention of serving guests outside on the patio, where she could get some air. Halfway through her turn, the drink tray connected with something solid, causing the champagne and glasses to be sent flying. Looking up at the obstacle she found herself once more falling into the vibrant blue eyes of the host. She gasped in mortification when she realized that she had pretty much drowned him in spilled bubbly. Following an exuberant apology, Lisa took the cloth napkin off of the tray and started blotting at the wet patches on his shirt. Feeling her body flush with the heat of desire when she touched him, Lisa became flustered so lowered herself to a squat and began picking up pieces of glass. Rod followed suit in squatting, but took her hand in his and said she should leave it as he’d already signalled for it to be cleaned up. Neither of them expected the jolt of electricity that surged through them at the touch of their hands. All Rod could think of was how much he would love to kiss those perfectly plump lips of hers. Then his eyes travelled down her slender neck, to take in her full breasts, her nipples had very apparently hardened in her arousal. Lisa blushed again wondering if he could read her thoughts, see her mental fantasy of Rod firmly pressing his lips on hers, then kissing and tasting a path to his chosen destination.

Nice job, Bridget! I got a good sense of your characters from your description and this is an intriguing premise. One small tip, and perhaps you just wrote it this way for the challenge, but sometimes it can sound a bit more natural to have characters’ physical traits described from the POV of their love interest rather than their own POV. Thanks for doing our challenge!

Thanks very much for your feedback and POV suggestion. I tried a different approach for this; probably won’t do that again!

Katie Carson’s life came crashing down when her father died suddenly, and she finds out she was cut out of his will in favor of her stepmother and stepsisters who inherit his successful perfume business. Katie finds herself without a home or a job, and it turns out, her friends weren’t such good friends.
She finds a job at a diner called the Gingerbread Café, and though she enjoys the people she meets there, she is hopeless as a waitress. She drops things, she burns herself, she’s an admitted klutz. But the owner likes Katie and looks the other way at her faults. After work, Katie returns to her tiny studio and attempts to start her own perfume business, mixing specialty scents.
Xavier Kingston doesn’t have time for a love life. After lifting himself out of poverty, he fears losing everything again. So he devotes all his time and energy into work. He frequents the Gingerbread Café most mornings for coffee and a catch up of email and news on his smartphone. He doesn’t even look up when he orders his black coffee with two sugars.
So it is no wonder that Xavier (his actual name Francis Xavier, after the saint) never noticed Katie in her drab uniform, messy bun, and make-up free face.
One morning, Xavier realizes he has no cash in his wallet. He’s embarrassed, but Katie tells him the coffee is her treat. He responds by sliding a ticket to a fundraiser ball across the counter.
Katie fully intends to give the ticket away. The ball is a harsh reminder of how much her life has changed. Just a year earlier, she wouldn’t have thought twice spending money for a new gown and all that goes with it. Now she lives paycheck to paycheck. But change has made her appreciative of things she does have, and more determined than ever to better herself.
Katie’s boss, Claudia, tells her that she was once a beauty pageant contestant and has an entire closet of gowns and shoes. She is also a whizz with a sewing machine and will create a beautiful gown for Katie to wear.
At the ball, Katie sees Xavier in the company of several beautiful women, but he doesn’t seem interested in any of them or even being at the sparkling gala. He strikes up a conversation with Katie, and remarks on her beautiful perfume. He asks if they ever met before, she seems and sounds familiar, but Katie doesn’t answer either way. For both, the night is magical, full of laughing and genuine fun. Something neither of them has experienced much of. But soon, a face stands out in the crowd. It is Katie’s stepsister, Tillie, smirking at her. In a panic, Katie runs out of the ball without even a goodbye to Xavier.
Xavier is determined to find his beautiful mystery woman, whose perfume was as beautiful and unique as she is. He tries everything from a private investigator to social media. His search becomes a sensation and women all claiming to be the mysterious woman come forward. But Xavier knows his mystery woman wears the perfume that is all her own. All the while, the woman he is searching for serves him his coffee every weekday morning. Why doesn’t he see her? Katie wonders. He’s only interested in the glamourous woman she was for one evening. Not the woman she truly is. The one who has a kind caring heart.
Finally, Katie offers to help him track down his mystery woman, and soon Xavier is thinking more of Katie than the mystery woman. But before she can admit the truth, her stepsister reveals Katie’s true identity, leave Xavier confused and Katie heartbroken.

Rachael, I’m really intrigued by your premise and how you’ve played with the rags to riches elements here. I love the perfume angle of the story, too — job well done!

While most of her friends were off enjoying the Summer of their lives, Natasha could not bring herself to leave the house. A weeks Summer vacation usually consists of fun and frolic, good times with friends and family. After losing her husband 3 years prior from many years of ill health, life had been a struggle. Three jobs later and now falling into the depths of depression, forgoing 2 cottage weekend invitations as well as a concert, she dreaded the thought of work on Monday.

Chad was the belle of the ball. Always charming, that one loose blond curl was always a challenge to wrangle, the person you could count on in any situation. Willing to give of his free time to help others was something that he thought nothing of. His business was performing well, new clients were practically knocking down his door. Early morning hiking the scenic hills flanking his estate and volunteering as a Big Brother on the weekends warmed his heart. His foundation to assist underprivileged children participate in sport was his passion.

After much contemplation, Natasha finally showers and leaves the house to get much needed groceries for the week ahead. Chad quickly makes a pit stop on his way to the visit his family and pick up some flowers for his Mother. The store is packed. Sunday afternoons are filled with returning cottagers, weekend weary families, meal planners and anyone else that needs to pick up a few things. As Natasha suddenly stops in her tracks to take another peek at her shopping list, the feeling of wet heat rolling down her back snaps her head around to face the handsome stranger that emptied his entire Vente Blond all over her t-shirt and the bottom ringlets of her dark silky main.

Monday morning quickly arrives and the office is bustling. As the receptionist Natasha welcomes this distraction. The buzzer rings, Natasha looks up past the computer screens and oh my goodness, there he is, the clumsy coffee spiller. Chad is mortified when he sees her. He bashfully continues to his meeting. On his way out, he asks Natasha that he would be honored to take her for lunch as a means of apology. Against her better judgement, Natasha relents and is pleasantly surprised as the butterflies dance in her stomach.

You’ve created a very deserving Cinderella and likeable prince! I really wanted to know what the immediate impact was of their meeting! I wonder what additional conflict could be created if Chad skulked away after spilling coffee on poor Natasha? Her reaction could be interesting…

Jerrica has always done and said the right things and now she is left with, of all things, a duck farm. Well, actually it is a farm that just happens to have ducks on it, among a few dozen other animals. All she really wanted was to belong after she and her sister were orphaned. Her Aunt Tilly left them her wealth; her twin sister Janicia got the bulk of the paper and bank accounts, Jerrica got the properties; a B & B in upstate Oregon, and this blessed farm. Jerrica just wants someone to share it with, not be tied down to cows and pigs and of course, the never-ending ducks.

Tomass is the gorgeous son of Mrs. Weare, a widow in charge of making sure the Bed and Breakfast runs smoothly for the new absent owner. Tomass has fought his way to the top of his game, he now captains his own fishing boat and if he can make the deal, he will be his own boss and have his own fleet.

After Jerrica’s relationship ends traumatically, she flees from the drama and drudgery to stay incognito at the B & B, leaving her twin sister to deal with the holdings. Her sister follows her and finds the available Tomass to be quite charming. Will Jerrica finally find her prince, or will her sister charm him right off his boat?

The role reversal and the unexpected “duck farm” setting gave this premise a fun twist. I also liked the potential conflict of rivalry between sisters. I wanted to read more about these characters!

Ella did not want to be at this fund-raising gala, but, as one of the primary donors, she felt she should make an appearance. It was her idea that her company be known for their help with underprivileged women and children. Tonight’s gala would fund a majority of the scholarship program. Smile and nod and she would get through the evening. Ella also had high hopes on cornering her former sorority sister so she could discuss a business venture that their two companies were perfect for. So far, Debra, was being elusive. Ella’s assistant kept her moving from guest to guest, playing the perfect host. As she was talking with the different guests, she noticed a very handsome gentlemen, strolling around the silent auction table. She had asked her assistant, Elizabeth, to find out who he was. It had been awhile since Ella had been on a date, maybe, just maybe she could end that streak.

Henry did not want to be here tonight, but his boss made him come with her. They had discussed a few business-related items on the way over, but since they’d arrived, she had been a ghost. Not recognizing anyone else that he knew, he decided to keep to himself and keep looking for Debra. He really hated working for her. He’d previously worked for her father, and when he retired and gave the company control over to Debra, he stayed on as an assistant to her. Deep down, he had hoped that the old man would give him a chance at being the CEO. He knew the business inside and out, but no, in the end, control when to his daughter. Out of the corner of his eye, on about the third time around the silent auction table, he noticed the most stunning woman in a form fitting red dress. He knew instantly, even without meeting her, she was out of his league. Women that looked like that, did not date lowly assistants. Throughout the evening, Henry kept catching her eye. Who was she? Whoever she was, she seemed to be running the show tonight.

After the dancing began, Henry decided he was going to be bold and ask the lady to dance. She seemed to be avoiding the dance floor, only dancing the first dance, but he was going to try, if he could find her again. He was building his courage when he noticed the lady in red coming directly towards him. Before he knew it, they were on the dance floor as the DJ announced that it was going to be the final dance. They’d introduced themselves to one another, first names only. He still didn’t know who she was. They danced the entire dance talking about the evening, and keeping the talk light. Ella felt at ease with Henry, as he did with her.

Just before the dance ended, they were interrupted by Elizabeth and Ella left in a rush. No chance to exchange contact information or even last names. What a shame. Henry looked around, still not finding Debra, he decided to text her to find out where to meet her now that the gala was ending. The text that he received back stated only “Oh that. I left hours ago.” Once again, Henry was doubting the decision to move from NYC to San Francisco to help Debra move the headquarters. He should have quit when he was passed over for the promotion. He should have quit when Debra started treating him like her own personal slave.

After Ella handled the emergency with the caterer, she bee-lined back to the dance floor, looking for Henry. She caught a glimpse of him leaving through the main entry and she tried to follow him. Getting to the doors just a minute or two after him, she looked around hopeful to see him, but he was gone. She thought to herself, “Well, now how do I find him?”

Considering how closely this update sticks to the plot of the original fairy tale, it feels very organic and unfolds smoothly. Well done!

Jack would do anything for his mother, even take over her house cleaning shifts at her new wealthy client’s house while she recovers from illness. Jack just passed the bar exam, and he’s counting the days until he secures his first attorney job and pulls he and his mother out of poverty. While she cleans houses, he hits the books promising to make something of himself. At his first cleaning assignment, Jack shows up in sweats with an armful of cleaning supplies. He’s not expecting the lady of the house to be so captivating. In truth, he wasn’t expecting to see the lady of the house at all. He spends the week finding excuses to talk with her, drawn in not only by her beauty but her intelligence. In his world, women like this are rare, a fantasy.

Anna was born with a silver spoon in her mouth; it’s a truth she won’t pretend to ignore. Her days are spent managing her step father’s investment firm, including the search for a new attorney to help with their tax division. Her nights are spent alone, yearning for someone to spend her dwindling free time with. She doesn’t want the rich, snooty men she comes across at the office. She wants a man who has honor and respects the people in his life. Just when Anna thought these men only exist in fairy tales, she bumps into her new house cleaner. He is straight out of the pages of a romance novel, and she wants to get to know him better.

Imagine Jack and Anna’s surprise when he shows up for the tax attorney interview. Anna knows Jack is the right man for the job, and especially her heart, and offers him the job. She’s impressed with his work ethic, and comes up with countless excuses for how to see him at work. At first, Jack is careful not to mix business with pleasure, even though he cannot deny his attraction to Anna. Their connection is put to the test when Anna’s step sister discovers that Jack and his mother clean the family home. Can the pair survive the judgments of their family and coworkers to find their happily ever after?

Another nice use of role reversal to update the traditional story. I wonder if even more romantic conflict might be created if Anna didn’t know Jack was going to law school? Would she be able to see the real “Cinderella” underneath his humble exterior?

I need help rewriting the fairy tale of Cinderella for work. It needs to include 2 kids,a happy ending, a problem they face, how they’re gonna face the problem, and a solution for it. It also needs to have one of the following as the moral of the story
2. Fearlessness
3. Being Unique
4. Bravery
I also have to answer the following questions to rewrite the story
1. Who do the 2 kids meet?
2. What is the conflict they face?
3. How will they resolve the conflict?
4. What is the moral of the story?

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