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Last call! Can you write an opening sentence to this story? (Chance to get published in Writer’s Digest)


Write an Opening Sentence | Free Writing Contest

From hardboiled detectives to murderers, leprechauns, spies and even giraffe narrators, when it comes to the diverse and unique entries in our free Your Story contest, the gang’s all here.

If you have a spare moment this weekend for a writing challenge, take five minutes and give it a whirl.

Basically, in every issue we give our readers a chance to get published in Writer’s Digest by running a prompt and asking them to do one of two things in response to it: Write a full short story, or write a one-sentence opener to a short story.

For our March/April 2012 issue, we invited our readers to go the one-sentence route for this writing prompt:

Write the first line to a story incorporating these three words: Cinderella, midnight, and behave.

Want in? Post your entry in the Comments section of this post, and it’ll automatically be entered in the competition.

The rules:

  • Your sentence (just one!) must be 25 words or fewer. Entries of 26 words will be DQ’d (even though it’s my lucky number).
  • The deadline is April 10, 2012.
  • One entry per person, please.
  • How it all works: We’ll select the top 10 entries and post them here. In mid-April, readers will vote for their favorites to help rank the winners.
  • This is a free writing competition. The prize is publication in WD.
  • You can also submit your sentence via the form here.
  • Finally, as we say about this publication contest in the magazine: “You can be funny, poignant, witty, etc. It is, after all, your story.”

Good luck! One of the most fun things we get to do around here every issue is read them all, and we appreciate every single word that comes in.

I’ll be back next Friday with my series on vintage discoveries from the WD archives—and some free books. Stay tuned.

(And if you landed here looking for general advice on submitting short fiction to publications, check out my colleague Scott Francis’ excellent post on 10 rules for submitting short stories.)

Happy Friday.

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147 thoughts on “Last call! Can you write an opening sentence to this story? (Chance to get published in Writer’s Digest)

  1. pilarvizzo

    She played Cinderella at Halloween, praying her husband would behave, but as the clock struck midnight her “prince” transformed into the usual drunken, cruel beast.

  2. joce_frentz

    It was midnight as I smirked and remembered her saying, “Behave Cinderella”. However, she never specified how she wanted me to behave.

  3. boatlady

    But coming up fast, that midnight-black colt — it’s Prince Charming, he’s never behaved like this — neck and neck — he WINS — what a Cinderella horse!

  4. orushy2002

    My eyes rovered onto the platform. It was her final presentation: Behave. She was sharp, strong and overcoming. Not my soft, smitten Cinderella at midnight.

  5. LunaRaven

    Special Agent Cinderella and her partner, Agent Behave, raced down through the palace and towards the throne room, praying that they’d deactivate the bomb by midnight.

  6. Candice7858

    “No, you’re not Cinderella; I gave you a midnight curfew because that’s what happens when you don’t behave … the way I want,” said Roger.

  7. Jaybo

    “What kind of behavior is that?” bellowed the senior priest inside the confessional, and the poor young deacon, leaving behind his pride, breviary and absolution, dashed out into the seminary halls as like a black dressed midnight- fleeing Cinderella.

  8. Patspurg61

    “Cinderella behave!” Alex warned the slobbering Saint Bernard. “Or the only place you’re heading at midnight is the yard!”

  9. JFloydKeller

    Now that she was the parent, who would make her behave, and put down the Spenserian-Miltonian mishmash of Cinderella she’d worked over, hours past midnight?

  10. BoarderCollie

    “Midnight” suggested Dad, “No, Cinderella” wailed the four year old hysterically, “behave” said Mum calmly, scooping up the squirming puppy, “We will call her Cinders”

  11. rochhamp

    I begged Grandma to behave, but she approached the aloof judge with the fury of Cinderella’s evil step-mother catching her daughter out after midnight.

  12. debra_kirouac

    Katharine hated all things Disney, so she didn’t behave well when she opened a present from her Cinderella-loving cousin, Daisy at midnight – Katharine actually puked.

  13. storyteller3

    I awoke not knowing at all where I was and there was a dog – certainly not my dog – behaving very oddly, and around her neck hung a pocket watch it appeared to be stuck at midnight, and then in the distance a voice, “Cinderella where are you?”

  14. katieje

    “Be home by midnight…behave yourself,” Belle mocked; Cinderella and Aurora laughed as the three boarded the jet to Vegas for Cinderella’s numbered single days.

  15. sushreemishra

    “Rules are for fools,” smirked Cinderella of the 21st century, “time will behave today, follow my orders, and stop at midnight!” she winked.

  16. bookclubmom

    “But Mom, you can’t ground me if I don’t behave,” protested the modern Cinderella, “because with daylight savings time midnight is still an hour away.”

  17. anncarol

    I submitted an Opening sentence via the On-Line Submission Form and via eMail in late MARCH.
    Is there a way a can confirm it was received?

  18. LawWriter66

    Although Cinderella Tuhoey’s mother asked her only to behave and be home by midnight before granting permission to attend the party, Cinderella failed both conditions.

  19. David Hawke

    Elena promised herself she would behave, but by midnight she had already stolen two bags of dog food, several crickets, and a lizard named ‘Cinderella’.

  20. SapphireSunlite

    “If she had only learned to behave,” he thought, “this frail Cinderella girl wouldn’t be sprawled in her own crimson stain with that midnight stare.”

  21. LotsofChickens

    “Behave”! she said turning to her friend and laughing,” look it might be midnight but your not Cinderella, Its not as though them clothes will turn to rags if we go on to a club, come on enjoy yourself, you deserve it after all that’s happened.”

  22. stylib38

    I felt like a Cinderella who’d just spotted the time as midnight approached and even my desperate silent pleadings couldn’t get the clock to behave.

  23. andileroy

    “Cinderella’s Dominatrix Service – we guarantee to arrive precisely at midnight with the tools necessary to make you behave … or your beating is on us.”

  24. janemaldives

    Why behave when games were intoxicating: giving handsome men until midnight to impress her – she was ugly – but not desperate, like Cinderella.

    (22 words)

  25. sdo261

    At least I could behave; while Jody bawled, I eyed my Cinderella clock ticking towards midnight and prayed that Daddy would return unscratched this time.

  26. soozequeue

    The chances that I would behave at Leeza Alloco’s wedding were about the same as finding Cinderella smootching Prince Charming after midnight – slim to none.

  27. sispieth

    Behave sniffed the entire length of the debris field, and finding the fuselage, she licked the smoke off the midnight letters which spelled “Cinderella”.

  28. dreamongirl

    It was almost midnight and I could not make my heart behave, unlike Cinderella I didn’t have a fairy godmother telling me when to run.

  29. noldsy73

    Carlton struggled against midnight’s beckoning grip on him, unwilling to allow the night to dictate how he should behave; he wasn’t Cinderella, after all.

  30. aadkins2

    Not known for her ability to behave, Cinderella glanced at the clock reading 5 past midnight and took another swig of whiskey from her flask.

  31. phernandez.2009

    “Aurora, behave!” cried Cinderella as the mare reared in terror at the pounding hoof beats behind them and the tolling bells announced it was midnight.

  32. meetdylan

    I stared into Cinderella’s eyes, as cold and lifeless as the midnight hour, and knew if I didn’t behave, morning would come without me.

  33. sluna

    The clock’s midnight carillons reverberated— the Cinderella hour’s strikes mask my shotgun cocking as I wait for the once well-behaved lady to enter.

  34. Nicola Higgins

    “Will the prince behave?” asked Cinderella timidly, “because I’m not sure I want to go if he won’t, especially since the ball ends after midnight.”

  35. Molly12

    Cinderella doesn’t behave! She didn’t leave at midnight to get back home in time, instead she ran to the next ball to see Prince Frankenstein.

  36. JediOfTheShire

    The crows on the clock tower behave as if the dull bell stroking midnight beneath them is silent, and instead they watch Cinderella fleeing frantically.

  37. Sierragene90

    In the classroom mirror I resemble somewhat of Cinderella and after all he is my prince charming, but as midnight approaches I suddenly become very aware that student and teacher are not meant to behave this way.

  38. WildCarrot

    There was something strange about Cinderella, how she couldn’t behave and left the house straight at midnight, head down and jaw clenched.

  39. yellehs7777

    It’s midnight; she’s trapped like Cinderella, but there are no evil step sisters in this darkness; they wouldn’t behave bad enough to exist here.

  40. Glenda

    Just before midnight, Cinderella, trying desperately to behave, saw the mouse run across her foot, managed somehow not to squeal, but instead wet her pants.

  41. GDrazenovich

    “Behave yourself !” shrieked the fairy godmother as Cinderella pushed the gagged and bound prince into her carriage five minutes before midnight.

  42. Zach83

    At midnight, Cinderella felt his strong hand as it slid along her silken thigh and decided that she would no longer behave for children’s literature.

  43. Darkeye

    Behave was a philosophy that had hunted Cinderella and brought her pain and suffering; until midnight it was in her own words, magically different.

  44. Samuel

    As the clock struck midnight, the big bad wolf pounded against the door almost shattering it; Cinderella knew how to behave if he did succeed.

  45. anupamya

    It’s midnight and Roger knows how to behave when Cindy opens the door.
    He calls her ‘Cinderella’ to please whenever he makes her angry.

  46. KL

    Midnight lowered his silky nose until it brushed Cinderella’s flaxen forelock, then he trotted off with a snort refusing to behave for any mare.

  47. jhohadli

    Her pink-n-muddied Reeboks refused to behave as she jumped-n-slid limb-to-limb, scaling the mango tree way past midnight and without Cinderella’s luck …or cute-n-furry helpers.

  48. Ber

    Cinderella refused to look at the clock she was to busy dancing the night away with her lover, it was midnight he put his hands where he should not she shouted will you behave.

  49. amanda cundari

    Midnight was embraced with Cinderella’s company, as the stars reflected off the carriage acting as a mirror between her two worlds of fantasy and reality.

  50. karishma

    The scintillating stars in the sable sky, behaved like fireflies astir at midnight, when Cinderella saw a carriage pull into her home’s driveway.

  51. amb362

    Sitting in the limo it was quarter to midnight, heading to the palace my mother shouts to my sister, “Is this the way you pictured Cinderella behaving on her birthday?!”

  52. DennyK

    Under a canopy of stars, the prince peered down from the balcony moments before midnight, wondering how the carriage would behave when Cinderella stepped into it.

  53. nerfhurder

    “Just watch how I will behave!” Cinderella exclaimed as she prepared to enter the ballroom wearing a provacative midnight strapless gown.

  54. verda.khan

    The idea of successful praise, to McGregors, was when children behaved in their finest manners, Cinderella’s story would be read until midnight.

  55. Michael Chase Walker

    “Behave now, children!” The old crone warned. “For midnight is upon us, and Cinderella won’t be the only one whose fortunes have turned so agley.”

  56. cdorman

    Minutes from midnight, frustrated with Cinderella’s shyness towards the prince, Sheeana the mousewife, climbed onto the fool’s shoulder and whispered, “Behave like your step-sisters!”

  57. mouse555

    “Oh Cinderella, will you behave! Midnight is nothing to be scared of.” My stepmother’s voice did nothing to bely my fear of the ‘witching hour’.

    1. funnelchest94

      Charming and Cinderella let the sitter in the front door and called to the next room ,”Behave, you two! We’ll be back by midnight!”