Writing Exercise #5 and Conference Challenge #1: Unhappily Ever After

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Okay, for those of you who have attended a SCBWI MD/DE/WV conference before, and for those who have noticed that our 20th Anniversary Conference and Celebration is almost … yikes! … eight weeks away, you know what time it is, right?


So who’s excited about this year’s round of challenges?


Okay, seriously? Is that crickets I hear chirping?

Oh, come on. They’re not that bad, are they? And I don’t know about you, but I enjoy conferences more when I go with that sense of accomplishment you get from tapping into your creative side, either by working on a rough draft, editing a manuscript, or doing writing exercises. If you feel the same way, then please join Susan and me for our next Eight Week Writing & Illustrating Challenge that will end before the March 23rd 20th Anniversary Conference and Celebration!

(For those who are following along with my 52-week exercise blast, this will be combined with the conference challenge.)

First, the rules.

Once a week, we’re going to post a challenge for both writers and illustrators. Some will be silly. Some will be hard. Some will make you curse our names out loud. But all will (hopefully) take no more than thirty minutes to complete and maybe even help improve your writing, give you inspiration or push you out of your comfort zone.

Those who complete the challenges (either writing or illustrating) will get entries for a super awesome delectably stuffed goodie basket full of writing supplies and signed books, including a Beauty Shop for Rent hardback by me! The winning ticket will be pulled at the March 23rd conference.

– Completing FOUR of the EIGHT challenges will earn ONE entry.

– Completing SIX of the EIGHT challenges will earn TWO entries.

– Completing EIGHT of the EIGHT challenges will earn THREE entries, woo-HOO!

Okay, any questions? Yes, sir, you in the back.

Uh, yeah, do I have to submit my work because I’m kind of shy.

No, shy person, because we love and trust you, we’re doing this strictly by the honor system. You don’t have to submit your work unless you’d like to share with the class. It’s completely up to you. You are required, however, to leave a comment in the challenge post saying you have completed the task for the entry to count.

What if I’m too busy this week? Can I do two next week?

All that matters to us is that you do them honestly and completely. If that means playing catch-up, it’s fine with us! But you still must leave a comment in the original challenge post. (Links will be provided in each challenge.)

When you say “super awesome delectably stuffed goodie basket” just how delectable it is?

Very delectable. And very worth your time, so let’s get started!


Writing Exercise #6 /Conference Challenge #1:

For those of us who are John Harbaugh fans, this week is feeling like a fairy tale, with the Ravens going to the Super Bowl and playing against Jim Harbaugh! For those who are not fans, don’t worry, this exercise won’t be about football or coaching brothers or any kind of sports.

It will be about fairy tales, though … and going beyond the happy ending.

Since it’s the first week, I thought we’d have some fun by doing an exercise we did at my ABC Event last October that was a total blast! First, pick a fairy tale – any fairy tale – one that has an endearing, romantic ending where two characters fall hopelessly in love and live happily ever after.

*Sigh.* Sweet, huh?

Now break them up.

Yes, your assignment is to write a “Dear John” letter from one character to the other, explaining why they can no longer be together and what has caused them to fall out of love. Then, write a scene with the abandoned, deserted character reading his/her “Dear John” letter and show us the answer this question:

What do they do next?

Illustrating Exercise #6 / Challenge #1:

Draw two distinctly different characters, the one who writes the letter and the one who reads it.

Good luck and happy writing and drawing! 🙂

About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two awesome boys, wife of one fantastic husband, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She loves run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
This entry was posted in Writing & Drawing Exercises. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Writing Exercise #5 and Conference Challenge #1: Unhappily Ever After

  1. Sue Poduska says:

    OK. I could easily have cheated on this one. Laura used this one at our Authors Book Club. But I wrote a new one. Aren’t you all proud of me? I’ll even share it.

    Dear Prince,
    You are such a frog! How could I have ever kissed you?
    When we fell in love, I was under the impression that we would be living in a nice, cozy palace and that your family had an actual kingdom. I was willing to overlook my errors in these assumptions, given that you really do have a beautiful pond here. I can create my own palace, or at least find a cozy spot. And who needs to be a big fish in a big pond?
    But it never occurred to me that we would be having flies for dinner every night. Every single night!!
    I’m sorry if this comes as a shock to you. I don’t normally kiss all the frogs I see. I sincerely hope you find the right princess for you.
    Your friend,
    The Princess

  2. Jenny Sokol says:

    New to the area and excited about the conference…I did both parts of the assignment but will just post my letter.

    Dear Eric,
    With any luck, I’ll be submerged by the time you read this. It seems I over-glamorized the human life form. I set the bar to high. It’s not you, Eric, it’s your species.
    When I discover chest hair in the sink, watch you cradle the remote with smug satisfaction, and smell the pungent odor of this thing you call “gas,” I wonder: Did I shed my scales for this?
    I showed Ursula a few snapshots. Thankfully, she understood and agreed to poof my mermaid tail back where it belongs.

    P.S. No, this is not about a merman. I plan on swimming solo for awhile.

    • Sue Poduska says:

      Great job, Jenny!

    • Laura Bowers says:

      Oh, man, Jenny, LOL!! Especially about the gas. And it’s always bugged me, how Ariel changed her true self for a dude – like Sandy putting on those tight pants in Grease to get her guy.

      Great job, and welcome to the area! Be sure to say hi to me at the conference. 🙂

    • Stacy Geis says:

      Hilarious! Love it! The remote part did it for me!

  3. Miranda McClain says:

    As Aurora left the diner at the end of her shift she took out her phone and saw there was a text message from Phillip. She rolled her eyes. Ever since that whole sleeping curse thing something had been needling her at the back of her mind. She knew that supposedly only true love’s kiss could break the spell, but was what she felt for Phillip actually true love? She wasn’t sure. She was definitely grateful to him, and he was pretty easy on the eyes but surely there was more to love than that.
    Then she read Phillip’s message:
    “Been thinking. Not sure this is working out. I need a more modern girl. Met someone in a band. She’s taking me on tour. Sorry. Good luck with getting caught up on the last 100 years.”
    Wow. Had he really dumped her via text? How could she ever have believed she was in love with such a jerk!
    Riding home on the subway Aurora saw an add for The University of Phoenix’s online study program. Suddenly her future seemed to have unlimited possibilities. She let out a sigh of relief and decided to download an application as soon as she got home.

  4. Stacy Geis says:

    Dear Belle,
    I really hate to do this, especially after imprisoning your father to the brink of death and making you sacrifice your own life in place of his, BUT, I feel that we are no longer a good fit. I value our friendship, in every way, and appreciate your kindness and helping me to find my way back to human form. But, now …well, I…AM…BACK, BABY! I can’t waste any more time in this castle. The other day, I realized, that life is too short. You just never know when a psychotic old woman will put a curse on you transforming you into a hideous beast! And I am not waiting around here to find out! So, I am headed to Vegas, Belle. Glitz, Girls, Gambling and Glam…it’s Vegas, Baby! Just look at me! With this face and my money, it’s where I am meant to be!

    I hope you understand that it’s not you, Belle. It’s me. I love you like a brother loves a sister. I am forever indebted to you for all you have done. Drop me a line if you are ever in Vegas. I’ll be at the Bellagio.


    What the? Really? He’s leaving me for Vegas? So, where does that leave me? Once upon a time, I, too, wanted more than this provincial life! Before this whole ordeal, all I wanted was to see the world. But, no! My life got flipped upside down by Beast and his selfishness. Never again will I allow him to choose my path. I was strong before I met him, and I am even stronger now. Truth be told, I’ve always dreamt of becoming a writer. Actually, when I think about the last year of my life, it’s just too crazy to be true. Almost like a…fairy tale. Beauty and the Beast…by Belle. It’s the perfect title for my first novel.

  5. Last year, as one of the conference challenges, I rewrote “The Princess and the Pea” from a different perspective. So I thought it would be fun to mess with the same fairy tale for this challenge as well. I posted my scene on my website, if you want to read it:


  6. Sarah M says:

    I just signed up for the conference and I’m hoping to get through a few challenges before it get’s here! This is great fun! Here’s my letter, thanks.

    My dear Prince,
    Our whirlwind romance was wonderful you see,
    for when we met
    I thought you were perfect for me.

    As time has past though,
    many things have come to light,
    and now I have realized,
    being together isn’t right.

    You snore loudly when sleeping,
    and my dear it keeps me awake.
    Though treats come for both of us
    you are always the first to take.

    I have lists of peeves my dear,
    I won’t share them with you now.
    It might feel sudden and maybe it hurts,
    but I hope you understand somehow.

    Peeves could be tolerated,
    but this last one it cannot.
    It’s something you should have mentioned,
    I guess that you forgot.

    It was spring when we met dear.
    Now the season has changed to fall,
    and sad but true my darling,
    we disagree on sweet football.

    I cannot be around you
    as the leaves drop from the trees.
    Though I’m sure my tackle,
    would bring you to your knees.

    So dear Prince it’s over,
    I’m sure you feel the same.
    We both know the truth:
    Football is more then a game.

    With love,

    She left the note on the table
    right next to the remote.
    Prince Phillip hasn’t touched it
    since this season’s too cutthroat!

    Phillip finally found the note
    underneath his good luck idol
    and since his team won this season
    he’s hoping she’s not homicidal.

  7. Pingback: Conference Challenge #8: Preparing for a successful conference! | As the Eraser Burns

  8. Pingback: Writing Exercise #12: Quote it up | As the Eraser Burns

  9. Dear Edward,

    Although the customer is always right, you are no longer my client, so it’s time for you to learn to actually say the words, “I was wrong.” I don’t care how hard it is to find a good lawyer, when Phil starts getting handsy with me, and I tell you it’s time to go, then It’s. Time. To. Go. And by the way, I never, ever told him I like gardening, so I don’t apprecicate you forging a thank you note from me for the hoe he gave me at Christmas.

    Look, Edward, I’m not going to lie to you. The money is nice. Really nice. But there’s a lot more to life than money. I thought you’d finally figured that out. Let me know when you’re ready to treat me like your wife and not your employee. You can find me at Kit’s.


    (Pretty Woman counts as a fairy tale, right?)

  10. Oh, and I meant to post this link, because it fits so nicely: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diU70KshcjA
    (A Disney Princesses song called After Ever After)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.