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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Agreement/Disagreement (01/19/12)

TITLE: Shifting Gears
By Abel Blake


The suburban scenery zipped past Francis's speeding bicycle. Brisk air smelling of both ocean and fresh cut lawns blasted his face. He reveled in the clicks and whirs his bike made as it wove through empty streets, but better yet was the view of the girl riding ahead. She shot back a coy smile as she jumped the curb and dove down a dirt path. Francis grinned from cheek to freckled cheek as he tightened his grimy grip and followed her down.

The girl stopped her bike at a precipice overlooking the craggy shore. She removed her helmet and fixed her tight brown curls into a quick ponytail. “Isn't she beautiful today, Frankie?” she asked, surveying the frothy waves.

“Yeah, she really is.” Francis smiled sheepishly at the intended double meaning.

The girl either didn't get it or she chose to ignore it. “Race you to the caves!”

Tattered sneakers slid on slick stones as the kids scampered down the slope and bolted along the pebbly beach. Francis was exuberant over this flash of childish fun, so rare in his friend lately. The lanky girl outpaced her shorter, pudgier companion and was soon sitting down resting and laughing as a wheezing Francis caught up.

“Not even...close, Frankie!” she said between breaths.

Francis stuck his tongue out and retorted, “Just wait till my growth spurt.”

She stopped laughing at that. Turning to him she sighed and began, “Frankie...you know I'll be going into high school next week and well...there are certain things high schoolers just don't do anymore. I just don't think I can keep hanging out with a twelve year old. I'm really hoping you'll understand.”

Her stammering rejection slapped Francis across the face and left him thoughtless.

“Are you okay, Frankie?”

His bottom lip quivered slightly as he shot back, “No! I'm not okay! We've been friends for years and now you think I'm not the right size for you? This is not cool.” He turned and strode back to the bicycles, his ears burning.

“Frankie! It's not like that!” the brunette chased after him. “I want us to stay friends but-”

“But what?” Francis interrupted, still marching. “But you don't want your new friends to see you with a little kid? Don't worry I won't be annoying you anymore.”

The girl looked flustered but effectively silenced by the boy's biting responses. Francis yanked his bike off the ground and mounted to go.

“Please, Frankie, can we not leave it like this? I feel terrible.”

He paused for a second, then quoting her favorite movie answered, “I'm disinclined to acquiesce your request.”

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This article has been read 423 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Yvonne Blake 01/26/12
Ahhh...poor Frankie! Oh, the pains of growing up.

I like how he feels and thinks older than his age. It's only when she mentions it, that he is aware of the difference.
C D Swanson 01/26/12
This was so well written! Beautifully descriptive, larger than life characterizations, and a heart breaking situation.

Poor little guy-his heart was shattered within his chest-and he didn't even see it coming.

Sweet, and brilliant. I loved this piece. Excellent job. God Bless~
Martha Black01/27/12
I wouldn't go back to being a teenager for all the tea in China! For many of us that was a painful time. You illustrated masterfully the pain of the one bring hurt and the one causing the hurt. Good job!
Dimple Suit01/27/12
My heart broke for both of them! For her trying to let him know going into unknown territory she needed to scale back and for him in not caring what world she lived as long as he was a part of it. Great job in capturing the emotions of being a teen.
Theresa Santy 01/31/12
What a delightful little tale. I enjoyed your character depictions, and especially loved this line:

"Francis grinned from cheek to freckled cheek as he tightened his grimy grip and followed her down."

If I had to make a comment, which I don't, but I think I will anyway--I noticed a plentiful supply of adjectives. (However, I once receved a yellow box comment saying I had too many adjectives and that piece did rather, exceptionally, well, so, who knows?)

I love your sense of writing style, your tone and voice, and that very last line made me laugh out loud.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/01/12
This is a great story. The opening paragraph painted such a vivid picture for me. It was spot on the topic and done in a wonderful way that youth can be so awful (did that make sense? it is a compliment:)

You use wonderful adverbs and adjectives. Some of your verbs could be a tad more "spicy" Like you used stopped her bike when maybe skidded might paint more of a picture (I know can't please me all of the time!) I can tell you are working on showing your story and not just telling it. Some of the experts have suggested to me to use great action verbs and less adjectives. I enjoyed your descriptions but think you can do even more with it.

The only really problem I had is the last line of dialogue from the girl. It didn't sound natural at all. I understand that the boy was quoting a movie so that explained his line but hers did't feel authentic.

I did enjoy this and it was a heart-breaker. There is nothing like that first time you get dumped or get told Let's be friends. Awesome writing and a very enjoyable read.
C D Swanson 02/02/12
Nice job and well derserved. Congrats.
God Bless~