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Author Veronica Bartles, juggling all the things


SCBWI MD/DE/WV March 2013 Conference
Writing Challenge #1: "Unhappily Ever After"

In preparation for the SCBWI MD/DE/WV spring writer's conference (March 22-23, 2013), the lovely ladies at the As The Eraser Burns blog are posting weekly writing challenges for us, and as always, I'm determined to complete each of the 8 conference challenges.

The first week's challenge: Pick a fairy tale with an endearing, romantic ending where two characters fall hopelessly in love... and break them up. Write a "Dear John" letter to explain why the fairy tale insta-love didn't work out in this case, and then write what happens next. So here's my attempt:


"My Dearest Princess Gwendolyn,

Although you remain the fairest maiden in all the land, I fear I cannot marry you tomorrow, as I promised. I find your constant complaints wearisome, and I am afraid my love for you will not survive a life forever plagued by a wife with such exacting standards as yours.

When you found reason to complain about the comfort of our mattresses, simply because you found a tiny pea on the bedframe, I should have realized that you would be impossible to please. Yet Mother assured me that all True Princesses would find such a bed uncomfortable, and so I overlooked your pickiness and told myself that we would be happy anyway.

When you asked to have the royal chambers repainted prior to our wedding, I consented because Mother convinced me that all True Princesses prefer pink or purple walls to green, even though I have always found the pale green hue to be quite soothing.

But when you refused to eat dinner last night, simply because the chef prepared my favorite meal of split pea soup and pot roast with peas, even Mother had nothing to say in your defense. True Princess or no, I cannot marry a woman who dislikes peas as you do. I hope you will understand, and I truly wish you a life of joy and happiness. Perhaps you can find a prince who prefers carrots, and you will live happily ever after.

Prince Rupert"

Princess Gwendolyn crumpled the paper into a tight ball and tossed it to the floor. “It’s not fair!” she yelled, stomping her dainty foot on the cold, stone floor. “I passed the test. I was supposed to become queen!”

“There, there, dear,” Queen Katrina said. “I’ll talk with Prince Rupert again. He’s a stubborn boy, but he’ll come around in time.”

“No.” Gwendolyn clenched her tiny fists and squared her shoulders, lifting her delicate chin in defiance. “If he would choose that vile vegetable over me, he’s not the prince I thought he was.” She gathered her voluminous skirts in her tiny hands and flounced out of the palace, never to be seen or heard from again.

But some people say she married a common carrot farmer and lived happily ever after.



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