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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Teacher (10/26/06)

TITLE: Dancing for Him
By Sara Harricharan


I tried to ignore Koby’s grumbling, wishing I could whack him as he filed through the door in front me.

“Zip it, man.” Nick snapped, pushing me forward to go in next. “Let’s just get this over with.”

Mrs. Darien asked us to stop and talk to a visiting dance troupe. She didn’t say who, or why, but everyone had merely assumed I was at fault. When you’re the only Christian member in a band, who just happens to be the leader’s ex-girlfriend, things aren’t easy.

The troupe was practicing with their backs to us, a large white sheet covering the mirrors they faced. Moving in fluid, graceful synchronization, I found myself transfixed.

“They’re beautiful.” Alyssa breathed. Shelby snorted, but didn’t contradict her. The music sounded familiar, but I didn’t get a chance to place it as the song ended along with the dance.

The dancers shuffled to sides of the room, and a woman spotted us, coming forward. It was her eyes and hair that brought me to my senses. Jet black, nearly waist length, sparkling purple eyes.

Jelena Mathur, seven-year winner of the world’s-most-talented-dancer award. “Hello. You must be the Screaming Whisper Band. Cassie Darien asked me to speak to you.”

I found my voice before the others did. “You’re Jelena Mathur?!”

She smiled. “That’s me-you must be….Laura.”

I couldn’t help the smile spreading across my face. “How did you know?”

“Save the act for later, Laura.” Nick growled, pushing in front, frowning at Jelena. “Whatever Mrs. Darien wanted you to say, say it now. I haven’t got all day.”

Jelena perked a brow at that, aiming a remote at the white sheet, she pressed a button. “I’ll show you instead.”

Images fuzzed then cleared, dancing across the sheet. Literally. That’s when I recognized the song.

Our big hit from the concert last night.

Shelby sucked in her breath and I knew she was trying to keep quiet. The images on the top half of the sheet were of us performing last night, those on the bottom, were Jelena’s troupe from a minute ago.

Compared to her version, our own looked like something my mom would change the channel on.

Jelena clicked it off, turning to look at Nick. He scowled, arms crossed over his chest. “I attended your concert last night. I suppose your music was alright-I had a hard time following the lyrics or anything else.”

She nodded towards, Shelby, Alyssa and I. “The messages you are sending to those young people, the images you’re portraying to your fans-are you aware of impact?”

Koby forced a laugh, and Nick glared at him, speaking up in the band’s defense. “Look, I appreciate your concern, you’re were famous before you became all religious-”

Jelena cut in. “Seven years ago I changed, mentally, physically and spiritually. I will also mention that for seven years, I’ve consecutively won the world’s-most-talented-dancer award. That has nothing to do with religion and everything with respect.”

Her eyes flashed. “When God gives you a gift, you don’t clutter it up, disguise it that you take away from it, or disgrace it. Music is a gift. An art. One to be valued-I felt like I was watching you throw it away last night.” She turned directly to look at me. “I noticed your heart wasn’t in it, but you didn’t drop out-why?”

All eyes turned to me, I swallowed. “Because….I’m a Christian, I don’t believe that God wants me to use…or dress…my body that way.”

“Why are you still in this band?” I mentally gave her points for bluntness, scrambling for a suitable answer.

“I-uh, well, I’ve been praying about it!”

“Kudos.” Jelena said dryly. “I’d be happy to teach you all some alternate dance moves and sequences, if you’d like.”

Nick rolled his eyes. “Like that’s all there is to ‘fix’ us.”

I think Jelena pitied him, because she leaned forward and whispered something into his ear that made him squirm, then look at the floor. Aloud she added. “There’s a fine line between ‘hot’ and ‘cool’.”

Her troupe gathered around her, studying us curiously. She turned the music on. “The choice is yours.” Her eyes searched us individually, and she held out her hand. “Who wants to dance?”

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This article has been read 1626 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Betty Castleberry11/06/06
I like that you used a fictional famous character to influence other fictional famous people. What a different place the world might be if this happened more often. I saw a couple of grammatical errors, but all in all, this was a good piece, and one that made me really stop and think. Kudos!
Sandra Petersen 11/06/06
Wow! Great message that can transcend to what we all are doing here as FaithWriters.

One thing that was a little difficult was keeping all of the characters straight in my mind. Focusing on the essential characters (Laura your narrator, Jelena, Nick) and mentioning the others briefly might help, and then you can develop the main characters a little easier.

I really liked the dialogue, especially the interaction between Laura and Jelena toward the end. That section packed a punch! Blessings!
Jan Ackerson 11/06/06
I like your tagless dialog, but it was confusing in a few places--for example:

“Why are you still in this band?” I mentally gave her points for bluntness, scrambling for a suitable answer. The "I" here seems to indicate that your narrator made this speech, but I don't think that's the case. I think the action sentence goes with the next bit of dialog.

A great example of being salt and light in the world.
Allison Egley 11/06/06
Great message. As others have said, it was a bit confusing in places, but over all a very enjoyable read.
Joanne Sher 11/06/06
Great witnessing piece! I enjoyed the banter among the characters. Nice job!
Donna Powers 11/07/06
A good witness and a thought-provoking piece. I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing it.
Catrina Bradley 11/08/06
Very good story - but a few things confused me:
I had assumed the "band" was a high school marching band since a teacher asked them to talk with a dance troop. (I'm also assuming "Mrs. Darien" is their teacher, but you never say.)
How did Nick know that Jelena had "become all religious"? She didn't say anything to make him think that. Maybe she is famous for it, like Jane Fonda?
When Jelena asked Laura why she didn't drop out of the band, her answer was that she was a Christian (ok) but then said "I don’t believe that God wants me to use…or dress…my body that way.” This would seem like a reason why she WOULD drop out.

I liked this line from Jelena: “There’s a fine line between ‘hot’ and ‘cool’.”
VERY true! And I wanted "whack" NICK! What a smart-mouth. I wonder what Jelena whispered to him. Good characters, great message - keep writing!!!
Val Clark11/08/06
I liked the message of this piece and the characters but overall found it confusing. I visualise stories and although I could see each scene clearly they seemd to jerk along rahter than smoothly connect. yeggy
Suzanne R11/08/06
I love the way this piece started! The message you draw out is great. I'd have liked, as the reader, to observe more of the dance, but hey, that's just me. Well done!
Jacquelyn Horne07/25/07
This is a good article for teens. A wonderful lesson and pov here.