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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)

TITLE: Test Time
By Sara Harricharan


Anticipation is the wrong word for this test. The proctor’s fake smile did little to ease my roiling stomach as she passed around a box of pencils.

I took three.

One to use, one for backup and a backup pencil for my first backup pencil.



Of course not.

I spent the last two months studying for more than I was worth. After all, a test is just a quiz of information. Things that needs to be learned so you can either pass onto something new, or stick your head in a book and stay there.

I guess when you have a habit of tripping over things, you tend to always second-guess yourself and double-check to make sure your shoelaces are tied.

Sneaking a glance around the room, I spot Mimi’s perfect ponytail. My twin is confident and cheerful in the midst of my secret doom.

The proctor announces the time and the procedure for the first half of the college entrance test.

Obviously there are two halves and they will cover five different ranges.

I wish I didn’t eat oatmeal and eggs for breakfast. My stomach feels horrible.

Mimi had a power smoothie. It must work. She didn’t even bother to study much for the test. She’s prettier and smarter.

The test booklets are handed out and I painstakingly pencil my information in the answer form.

Getting into this college means everything to me. Our community college doesn’t have the classes I want to take and I would miss Mimi. So here I am taking the test to get into her college to my own courses.

I hope we both pass.

I am a shadow.

But I like being her shadow.

Dear Heavenly Father, please, please help me now. I know I have to do this myself, but my stomach…

“Time!” The proctor calls. “You may begin…now.”

Pages turn and pencils scratch across blank spaces.

I am relieved to find that I can understand at least half of the problems in this section.

Time ticks by as torturously as possible.

Raising my hand for the next booklet, redness touches my cheeks when I realize that I’m the last to finish.

A wrinkle of her prominent nose accompanies the proctor and her fake smile as she personally delivers my booklet and calls the time again.

At break, Mimi rushes over to me, asking if she can have one of my protein bars. “I’m starving!” She exclaims, tearing the wrapper off and swallowing my snack in two perfect bites.

I offer her my soda as well. The oatmeal and eggs are still sitting pretty in my stomach.

“Thanks sis!” She accepts it with sigh and gives a shudder after several gulps. “Are you doing all right? I can’t see you in the back. I didn’t think the test would be this hard.” Her cell phone rings and I am forgotten.

The remaining sections of the test crawl by and I am only relieved to have survived it.

Results will come in the mail along with a letter of acceptance if I have passed. I can only hope and pray.

The week blurs by until I come downstairs to find Mimi crying. There is no need to ask what is wrong.

The white envelope in her lap and expensive stationary in her hand, tell the story she cannot.

Her eyes are brimming with a sadness I can’t fathom as she nods towards the mail on the coffee table.

My destiny awaits me in the remaining envelope.

Shaking fingers slide under the flap, slicing one finger in the process. I suck it as I draw the papers out.

Dear Miss Myla Junheart, we are pleased to inform you of your acceptance into…

The letter floats to the floor.

Copyright 2008

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This article has been read 1360 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Teresa Hollums01/10/08
Fascinating story. Self esteem is often a barrier as long as we let it be one. Good story.
James Clem 01/10/08
Good development showing her anxiousness. And good job showing the value of preparation.
LauraLee Shaw01/12/08
I love that you showed the contrast of the topic with the twins. And in a way one would not expect. Good job!
Joanne Sher 01/12/08
Great descriptions - and the last line is just right. What a lesson.
darlene hight01/13/08
you kept a nice element of suspense throughout this piece. well done
Jan Ackerson 01/14/08
I love the "backup for the backup".

As one who has both taken and proctored these types of tests, I can tell you--you nailed it! Very good story.
Temple Miller01/14/08
Great contrast of characters. I bet Mimi only took one pencil! You illustrated the promp very well!
Catrina Bradley 01/14/08
An unexpected ending, and I like it! You seemed to change from past to present tense, but otherwise the writing is great.
Sheri Gordon01/14/08
This is so good. The writing is very good, and the story kept me interested.

This is my favorite part: "One to use, one for backup and a backup pencil for my first backup pencil." That made me laugh out loud.

I love the double lesson, even though you focused primarily on one sister. Very good job with the topic.
Joy Faire Stewart01/14/08
Excellent job describing the MC's emotions; I was right there with her. Unique writing on topic. Great job!
Linda Watson Owen01/14/08
Yep, you nailed it alright! Super job of putting your reader 'right there'! I thought your few words dialogue of the other twin was perfect to so succinctly picture her for us too.
Dee Yoder 01/16/08
Beautiful contrast between the two sisters. I especially like the last line and the line about having a backup pencil for the backup pencil. ( :

Good story with an engaging MC.
Betty Castleberry01/16/08
Twins. A creative take for the topic. This was a well written, entertaining read. Thumbs up.
Beth LaBuff 01/16/08
Yay! Great story and great illustration for the topic. I love your ending! I had to smile at your MC taking three pencils for the test (one for the test, then a backup, then a backup for the backup :) ) .This was a pleasure to read. Thanks.
Sharlyn Guthrie01/16/08
You managed to do several things in this piece...illustrate the topic both positively and negatively, teach a lesson about self confidence, and effectively use a teen/young adult voice. Nice job on all of those things. It seemed to me the tenses changed near the beginning, but perhaps that was intentional.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/16/08
This is an excellent piece for the challeng topic. You made us really care about your mc, who prepared so thoroughly for the test, even to bringing her own snacks.
Julie Ruspoli01/16/08
Yay, she made it. Great twist of who didn't save a stitch. I couldn't read fast enough to see if she got accepted.
Loren T. Lowery01/16/08
This reminded me so much when I took the LSAT for law school. You captured the feelings beautifully. Great job!
Tim Pickl01/16/08
Excellent writing--I felt the tension of the pressure of the deadline as they took The Test. This one could be developed into a skit for church!
Maxx .01/17/08
great story ... and right on topic. I think I know Mimi ..... I wonder what the shadow will do now?