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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Angry (08/02/07)

TITLE: Anger 101
By Kristen Hester


Twenty-seven-year-old doctoral student Kara Simmons fluffed her hair and then adjusted her tortoiseshell glasses as she sat in her car and gathered her nerve. She didn’t really need the glasses, but felt they gave her an academic look. As she walked toward the building where she would lead her first group counseling session, she wondered about the three people Dr. Borderlon told her to expect. What hardships and tragedies have contributed to these people’s anger?

She found her assigned room and waited eagerly to meet her “clients.” The first person to arrive was a large man with a bushy beard bearing the remains of his breakfast. He wore a plaid flannel shirt with the sleeves torn out. His jeans were full of holes and his work boots were well worn. Despite his unsavory appearance, Kara felt sympathy towards the man. What previous tragedy has brought him here?

Next to enter was an attractive young woman who was the kind of beautiful only achieved with money. Kara suspected that the lady’s ample bosom, full lips, perfect tan, and blonde hair were not God given. What deep pain is she hiding?

The final person to arrive was a woman in her late thirties. She seemed an average mom in her sneakers, denim capris, knit top and low-maintenance hair cut. As she sat down, her large purse tipped over to reveal a wallet, water gun, cell phone, dog leash and a school visitor badge. What in her past has caused her anger?

Kara cleared her throat and introduced herself to the skeptical trio. “Hello, my name is Kara Simmons. Dr. Borderlon asked me to fill in for him because he’s ill. I’m working on my Ph.D. in psychology under Dr. Borderlon. I feel privileged to spend this time with you. To begin, let’s each introduce ourselves and share what brings you to anger management class.” Kara nervously nodded toward the man. “Sir, would you mind beginning?”

“I’m Ben. I drive a truck. There are lots of bad drivers on the road. They make me mad.” He leaned back in his chair and crossed his large tattooed arms across his chest. The others nodded their heads in total understanding. What am I missing? Are bad drivers the only cause of his anger?

Kara turned to the pretty blonde. “Tell us about yourself.”

“My name is Victoria. My anger stems from family issues.” Now we’re getting somewhere. “My parents are unfair. They, like, are insisting I get a job. They, like, even say they may stop paying rent on my condo. They have plenty of money. They’re cutting me off just to be, like, mean.” She flipped her hair over her shoulder and stuck out her lip in a picture perfect pout worthy of a lipstick commercial. That’s not what I was expecting for family issues.

Kara looked at the last lady. “And you?”

“I’m Bobbette and I’m angry. My son Todd’s teacher sent him to the principal yesterday for hitting a classmate. But did the little girl get in trouble? No! She’s always picking on my angel. And my son Brad was kicked off the soccer team. He’s better than the other players so the jealous moms make up stories about him.” Bobbette paused momentarily to catch her breath. “And then today the person in front of me at Wal-mart had twenty-one items in the express lane. Some people always expect special treatment.” You’ve got to be kidding me.

Kara looked at the three people in front of her in disbelief. That’s all they have to be angry about? She could feel her blood beginning to boil. Her head pounded and her hands shook. She couldn’t contain it any longer.

“I’ll tell you how to deal with your anger,” Kara said surprising herself with the force and volume of her words. “Get over yourselves. You people have nothing to be angry about. Children abducted from their parents. Drunk drivers who kill innocent families. Child slavery in Africa. Women abused by their husbands. These are things to be angry about. Not your petty problems.”

Six eyes stared in silent shock at Kara. Did I really just lose my temper in the anger management class I’m supposed to be leading? If Kara hadn’t been so disappointed in herself, she would have found the irony amusing.

Ben broke the silence. “Seems like we’re not the only ones with anger issues, lady.”

Kara looked sheepishly at the class. “Any suggestions on how we can control our anger?”

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This article has been read 1006 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Fitzpatrick08/09/07
Good job. I like this one. Amen and amen to the main character's outburst of righteous anger. Cleverly written. Keep it up!:0)
Chrissi Dunn08/09/07
Yes, I can understand Kara's anger. You set the scene well.
Lynda Schultz 08/10/07
Physician, heal thyself. I love this! Well done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/10/07
I loved this lesson for the teacher. The details are outstanding in your story.
Joy Faire Stewart08/10/07
Excellent point made to put our problems in the right perspective. I enjoyed this story.
Marilyn Schnepp 08/11/07
Great story for the "Embarrassment" challenge, eh? Very, very well writen and interesting to boot; kept my interest and didn't lag inbetween takes. Loved the "true to life" type aspect in this story.
Debi Derrick08/11/07
Ha! Ha! What a way to turn a "challenging" topic into truthful fun!
Rita Garcia08/11/07
I like this, alot! The title is great, the story and details are amazing ... how did you put so much detail in "750" words? The ending is sheer perfection!
Linda Germain 08/11/07
Terrific read! The teacher's "righteous indignation" was a genuine response to shallow self-absorption. (I say let's have MORE RI!) Your characters are sharply drawn and perfectly presented. You have the WRITE STUFF for sure! God Bless~
Joanne Sher 08/13/07
SO clever, and I really like your ending. Great detail. You'll be RIGHT at home next week :D
Pam Carlson-Hetland08/13/07
Great character description. I loved how you wrote about the petty things vs. the major issues of life that should, indeed, ignite righteous anger. And the MC is so human...just like the rest of us.
Catrina Bradley 08/13/07
Great details bring this to life, and the embarrassing outburst was quite unexpected. Love the end. :)
Dee Yoder 08/14/07
Yay, for your MC! Too many people have petty grievances that they continually feed into anger and rage. Your entry is a great example of this, and you offer a good solution at the end.
Jan Ackerson 08/14/07
Clever idea!

I'd have liked a bit more give-and-take between the people--perhaps less of the "first impressions" and more dialogue rather than a series of mini-monologues.

Another thing to consider that just occurred to me would be anger issues that defy the stereotypes--having the burly guy upset over the kidnapping of his chihuahua, for example...it's always better to give the readers something other than what they expect.

Hope you don't mind the suggestions; your writing is excellent and your lesson well-stated.
Sharlyn Guthrie08/14/07
You demonstrate so well how prone all of us are to anger. I enjoyed the character sketches. Wish you had more words to expand the therapy session.
Julie Ruspoli08/14/07
This great article helps put our everyday anger in the right perspective. Good job!
Loren T. Lowery08/14/07
Solid writing, with a good messsage that was well presented with its setting.
You were able to cover a lot of territory, I can only imagine the look in those six eyes staring at her...here's hoping her opening her anger to to them helped them as well.
Leigh MacKelvey08/15/07
Lots of details! I can't wait for your Master's entries! ( two days at FW and you make Masters!) Seriously, your writing is really well done. Pay attention to the critiques you receive from other writers and you will polish your special gift even more. Congratualtions on your success here at FW! I enjoy reading your writing every week!
Betty Castleberry08/15/07
I'm afraid I might have acted the same way. You really stirred up emotion in me, (the sign of a good writer.) Some of what people get bent out of shape over is so *silly.*
This was a good read.
George Parler 08/15/07
The Teacher becomes the student. This reminds me of how the enemy will found out just how much a minister really believes in what he preaches. Well done.
Patty Wysong08/15/07
I'm running to see who started that 'so what makes you angry thread?' lol. GREAT job!! You worked it so beautifully--all that build up and then a super-duper punch. Excellent!! :-) Hugs!!
ps--quit looking in my purse, would ya'!!!
Julie Arduini08/15/07
Priceless! You did a great job with the dialogue and characterization, I so could picture each client. Well done, as always.
Gabrielle Morgan08/15/07
A great read - very well written.
Jacquelyn Horne08/15/07
Neat twist at the end.
Lynda Lee Schab 08/16/07
Great work again, Kristen! Great title and concept for "Anger." One thing that struck me was the first line from the blonde woman. It didn't seem to, like, fit with the rest of her speech. LOL Maybe the "stems from" threw me off, as that phrase seems to old for her, like, more immature dialect. Personally, I would have loved to see the counselor fly off the handle and into a big spiel about some trivial thing that's happened to her or have some hidden anger come spewing out, driving the other three to tears or something. But, that dreaded 750 word limit...sigh. You did a great job, as always. Congrats on moving up so quickly. You rock!
Sherrie Jackson08/16/07
This was a fun read. Funny how nowadays, people have swallowed the consumerist promise of a problem-free life, and as a result can't handle the little things. Your story expressed that very well, to me. Great job!
Seema Bagai 08/16/07
Interesting piece. Liked the twist at the end. I was wondering how these people ended up in the class in the first place, though.