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

Categories: Competitions, Fun, General, There Are No Rules Blog by the Editors of Writer's Digest, WD Magazine, What's New, Your Story Competition Tags: Writer's Digest magazine, writing competitions, writing contests, Zachary Petit.


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

  1. rob40 says:

    Behave yourself Cinderella, by midnight I will have invented orthotics!

  2. nearmira says:

    Cinderella! You must behave before midnight.

  3. ShinigamiAuthor says:

    Cinderella promised to behave and kept her word by making it home by midnight.

  4. KeatsNine says:

    Our modern day Cinderella walked the rain drenched streets after midnight, feeling more like a confused, wet amphibian that no longer knew how to behave.

  5. kadebg says:

    It took three times after midnight for the Cinderella on his arm to finally behave herself – the tattoo seemed in love with its owner.

  6. Bob says:

    And He said, “I will take your light again tonight, and return it tomorrow morning.”

  7. Binkwinky says:

    Lovely that the shoe fits, but behave and quit looking up my dress. This ain’t no Cinderella story. It’s past midnight, go home, Jack.

  8. JWLaviguer says:

    Cinderella should never try to cover Iron Maiden’s Two Minutes to Midnight. They should stick to behaving like an 80’s hair band.

  9. pilarvizzo says:

    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.

  10. Terrimmxii says:

    It was after midnight when Cinderella heard the knock on the door. She pressed her hand to her chest trying to make her heart behave.

  11. joce_frentz says:

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

  12. boatlady says:

    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!

  13. Cinderella knew that she had to behave but midnight could not come soon enough for someone who was looking forward to eating the pumpkin.

  14. orushy2002 says:

    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.

  15. LunaRaven says:

    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.

  16. MonicaD says:

    “Does this slipper come in any other color?”

  17. osouniq says:

    As midnight approached, my date begin to behave disrespectfully–leading me to realize I would not want to be this dogs Cinderella.

  18. Candice7858 says:

    “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.

  19. Catsims123 says:

    Novelist, Arnold Bennett, once wrote “Behave as if nothing had happened.” but this Cinderella had a conscience and midnight plans of a different tone.

  20. jimpatkt says:

    Cinderella wanted so badly to behave, but the moment she felt his touch her thoughts were of a balcony at midnight.

  21. WindyLiput says:

    Dad gave me permission and a midnight curfew on the condition that I behave, I could not wait for the party; I would be Cinderella!

  22. Jaybo says:

    “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.

  23. Patspurg61 says:

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

  24. JFloydKeller says:

    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?

  25. Mya says:

    The Fairy Godmother had told Cinderella that the spell would be broken at midnight—how would she behave?

  26. Junie says:

    Honey, it ain’t midnight and you shore ain’t Cinderella, so behave yourself and wear a suit!

  27. burrowswrite says:

    “Behave, Cinderella” — those were the last words father spoke before my evil stepmother, Snow White, poisoned him with an apple at midnight.

  28. vivienne nichols says:

    Where to find the winner?

  29. PaulBrake says:

    This is where I earned the codename Cinderella, one minute before midnight, trying to behave like I actually belonged in Angola.

  30. BoarderCollie says:

    “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”

  31. texascamps says:

    Unable to behave as asked, I pulled a Cinderella and left a token of my own for my princely editor’s step-wife and her midnight deadline.

  32. rochhamp says:

    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.

  33. kirstyY says:

    Screw Cinderella; it was past midnight and she wasn’t going to behave.

  34. CyndiC1210 says:

    Cinderella wanted to always behave, but the clock struck midnight and she was in rags, she decided it’s time to get dirty.

  35. debra_kirouac says:

    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.

  36. storyteller3 says:

    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?”

  37. Rainy Moon says:

    The bitter reality of my life is that no matter how well I behave I will never be a Cinderella meeting her prince by midnight.

  38. newoldfashioned says:

    There she stood, behaving with a Cinderella complex – as though she must gain the attention of every man in the room before midnight.

  39. diane6 says:

    I thought midnight and behave were most excellent Scrabble words; that is, until my (evil) step-mother linked them with Cinderella and all was lost.

  40. jordys says:

    Being asked to behave myself right around midnight made me feel like a half-hearted Cinderella flaunting around in a too-tight cocktail dress.

  41. katieje says:

    “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.

  42. Cruzer1082 says:

    Cinderella sat with knife in hand knowing the life she loved was over at midnight, “This woman will no longer behave”

  43. Hanna.takumi says:

    “What did you just say?” Cinderella couldn’t believe her stepsister was in her room at midnight asking her to behave.

  44. sushreemishra says:

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

  45. bookclubmom says:

    “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.”

  46. Deb says:

    “We need some quick cash, so you need to behave like Cinderella, hook some rich prince before midnight, and lure us out of this recession.”

  47. marcusb78 says:

    Why are you acting like Cinderella after the midnight ball; when you’re broke with no cash and need lessons on how to behave?

  48. Zachary Petit says:

    Hi Anncarol,

    I checked with our Your Story editor, and she said she has received the submission. Thanks for entering!


  49. anncarol says:

    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?

  50. LawWriter66 says:

    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.

  51. Writer_Girl says:

    As midnight approached, the prince was careful to behave while dancing with Cinderella–for she was the fairest in all the land.

  52. David Hawke says:

    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’.

  53. SapphireSunlite says:

    “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.”

  54. ThatSoMiley says:

    It was well past midnight and Jane was up finishing the last of her housechores, just like Cinderella.

  55. LotsofChickens says:

    “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.”

  56. GabbieM says:

    Midnight rang out across the palace grounds: Cinderella lifting her gown’s edge ran for the coach, alas her shoes were destined not to behave.

  57. stylib38 says:

    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.

  58. andileroy says:

    “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.”

  59. casejanelle says:

    Cinderella begged her corset to behave until midnight, anxious the Prince would notice her feet were extremely small for a woman of her size.

  60. Miss R. says:

    Not everyone has Cinderella’s luck, so in my books, midnight is no time to behave.

  61. erock7100 says:

    Midnight brings change, not just for one soul like Cinderella’s tale, but rather everyone will fall and behave like savages when the new dimension comes!

  62. Joannah Miley says:

    At first stealing from the company was like suggesting Cinderella to stay at the ball after midnight, or telling Grumpy to behave.

  63. janemaldives says:

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

    (22 words)

  64. sdo261 says:

    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.

  65. Amber says:

    I’m no Cinderella; if decided to let go, turning into a pumpkin after midnight would be the least of my problems.

  66. Corcey says:

    I know it isn’t proper behavior to kiss Princess Cinderella’s husband but here, in the midnight glow, I didn’t really care.

  67. cdnrmsclk says:

    Slightly tipsy after midnight, it was nearly impossible to mirror Cinderella and behave like a real lady.

  68. nlramsey says:

    Should she behave, return by midnight, another Cinderella, or risk, rise, and refuse to settle for royalty?

  69. soozequeue says:

    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.

  70. SeenNevermore says:

    As the rioters came forward to hang the girls who couldn’t behave, I was left as Cinderella, dreading the time when midnight came.

  71. sispieth says:

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

  72. PSWilliam says:

    It was just after midnight when the boss entered my office, smirking. I didn’t become a Cinderella Story by knowing how to behave.*

  73. PSWilliam says:

    It was just after midnight when the boss entered my office, smirking. I’m didn’t become a Cinderella story by knowing how to behave.

  74. vivienne nichols says:

    Having tasted life’s magic, I behave like Cinderella on the right side of midnight.

  75. dreamongirl says:

    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.

  76. noldsy73 says:

    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.

  77. aadkins2 says:

    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.

  78. phernandez.2009 says:

    “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.

  79. axscode says:

    He was under her, midnight was behind her, and she was over her need to behave, clearly now, she’d have to drop the Cinderella front.

  80. meetdylan says:

    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.

  81. ohmyword says:

    I had given up hoping for my own Cinderella story. It was long past midnight now, and the rats refused to behave.

  82. mwesterfield says:

    I dumped my boyfriend on prom night — just before midnight, no less — knowing full well it was no way for a Cinderella to behave.

  83. sluna says:

    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.

  84. msgleekypotter says:

    Behave ’till midnight, you’ll learn the gift of patience, and meet your true love who’ll treat you well, just like Cinderella.

  85. rsonenshine says:

    It was excruciating to behave like a human, but if this Cinderella chick didn’t kiss me by midnight, the Elders would have my head.

  86. Machtemes says:

    The boys all called him Cinderella because of his midnight curfew, but all knew well, were he not to behave, the nightmare that would follow.

  87. Sapna says:

    The Prince pouted, ” My Cinderella can behave as bewitching and slippery as the moon does at midnight on a lunar eclipse.”

  88. Nicola Higgins says:

    “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.”

  89. Molly12 says:

    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.

  90. JediOfTheShire says:

    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.

  91. SarahC says:

    “I asked you to behave,” the prince hissed, as Cinderella tottered into the coronation wearing only midnight black stilettos, a g-string, and a smile.

  92. Okay Cinderella, if you behave, the magistrate gave the order to remove your ankle bracelet after midnight.

  93. anxurit says:

    Oh how I strain to behave myself in your presence when not a million midnight stars nor even Cinderella herself could outshine your smile.

  94. Sierragene90 says:

    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.

  95. lisaahn says:

    Cinderella switched her long, green tail beneath the streetlight, scales glowing, wishing she had learned to behave herself after midnight.

  96. matheos11 says:

    She sensed what the handsome prince truly desired, but Cinderella knew she must behave until he arrived at her brothel after midnight.

  97. WildCarrot says:

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

  98. yellehs7777 says:

    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.

  99. Glenda says:

    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.

  100. GDrazenovich says:

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

  101. Zach83 says:

    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.

  102. RobynWolf says:

    Midnight a time when good children who behave are in bed but Cinderella scampered home unaware of the danger swooping down upon her.

  103. Darkeye says:

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

  104. cvanderpool says:

    I could hear him over her sobs saying the only way to get a Cinderella like her to behave is to threaten her with midnight.

  105. Samuel says:

    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.

  106. Elizabeth says:

    Cinderella was a duck, but tonight she would move, spin—behave like a swan; she unlocked her wings and thought, I have till midnight.

  107. anupamya says:

    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.

  108. berrydelicious says:

    It has be said the Cinderella hour of midnight indicates one must behave but a true believer knows rules were made to be broken!

  109. Moe says:

    When Cinderella took the stage just after midnight, the summer of ‘87 officially began and none of us would behave as when we met.

  110. lbeth1021 says:

    The Cinderella in the childrens fairy tale is lucky; no stepmother could be more evil than Midnight finding out why I didn’t behave.

  111. KL says:

    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.

  112. Bonnee says:

    As the bells chimed for midnight, Cinderella could only behave as if the beautiful morning light had come.

  113. jhohadli says:

    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.

  114. xsnow30 says:

    Midnight fast approached as Cinderella danced with her Prince, behaving as best she could while the warning of her Fairy God Mother ran throughout her mind.

  115. timm.gillick says:

    I checked my watch — two minutes to midnight, still good — only a hundred and twenty seconds to behave then I’d kill Cinderella and her “prince.”

  116. lesleypend says:

    Why must my sister behave like Cinderella at midnight: breathless, bewildered, full of longing?

  117. It was two minutes to midnight when she flung herself at Franklin with alcoholic rage and spewed, “I won’t behave, this isn’t some Cinderella story!”

  118. Dayna says:

    This story doesn’t behave like the Cinderella story you’re familiar with, this story, my story starts and ends at midnight.

  119. Ber says:

    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.

  120. amanda cundari says:

    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.

  121. Danielle says:

    “Behave,” they had warned her, but it was nearly midnight and Cinderella was prancing around town, wearing only one shoe.

  122. IanMoldovan says:

    She arrived at the party dressed as Cinderella, but how will she behave when the clock strikes midnight?

  123. karishma says:

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

  124. Judy1873 says:

    Cinderella knew that after midnight, she must behave, but for now, she would shove her foot into the slipper and grab herself a man.

  125. laurimeyers says:

    His lips were warm against hers at four minutes to midnight; Cinderella had behaved herself long enough.

  126. amb362 says:

    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?!”

  127. Madsen13 says:

    Cinderella did not turn into a pumpkin at Midnight, but was inclined to behave like any young, fertile girl seeking a man might act.

  128. rob akers says:

    The defense advocate spoke to the King, before sliding the slipper on the accused’s foot. “If the shoe doesn’t fit then sir, you must acquit!”

  129. DennyK says:

    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.

  130. nerfhurder says:

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

  131. RM Schieffelbein says:

    No one will suspect me; it’s almost midnight and they think I’ll behave, like some kind of Cinderella.

  132. soundandfury says:

    At the club, her name was Cinderella, because she started to behave nasty after midnight, but by the end I would call her sis.

  133. verda.khan says:

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

  134. Mellifluous says:

    “Midnight! You are completely incorrigible! Behave and I will tell you a little about your mother, Cinderella.”

  135. Michael Chase Walker says:

    “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.”

  136. cdorman says:

    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!”

  137. jessica says:

    I am Cinderella, and I refuse to behave until after Midnight.

  138. mouse555 says:

    “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’.

  139. Calum Kerr says:

    It was one minute past midnight and no pumpkin or rats had appeared, it was all a lie and Cinderella no longer had to behave.

    • funnelchest94 says:

      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!”

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