Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for Show Not Tell Crusader Challenge

The Challenge, as described by Rachael at Rach Writes...

Show Not Tell Crusader Challenge: In 300 words or less, write a passage (it can be an excerpt from your WIP, flash fiction, a poem, or any other writing) that shows (rather than tells) the following:

  • you're scared and hungry
  • it's dusk
  • you think someone is following you
  • and just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: shimmer, saccadic, substance, and salt.

Here we go...

As I swallow the clear, sweet water, I see it, reflected in the shimmering surface of the lake: blond hair. I strain to see more, but everything below the man's neck disappears into the tangle of plants behind him. He glances up.

Electricity charges through me and I back out of view, keeping an eye on him through the leaves. He appears to be talking to someone.

I have to get out of here. I don't know who he is, but he knows where I am. Moving as quickly as possible, I head for the far end of the lake.

Staying on animal trails, I move easily though the vegetation. I can make it, I just need time.

A shout makes me jump. How could he go so far so fast?

Ducking, I dart into shrubs that have more substance. The pungent scent of damp earth fills my nose as I work my way through the undergrowth, stepping as lightly as I can.

Branches crash and I freeze.

Just uphill lies a fallen tree, the trunk flanked by saplings and ferns. Their leaves might cover me if I stay low.


My eyes go saccadic at the shout. I have to hide. Now.

Heart thumping, I step over the plants, careful not to break any twigs. I lie down, pulling clammy, rotting leaves over me. The forest is getting darker, as the sun sets on the valley. Please, please let me look like a shadow.

Not a minute later, twigs snap as one of the men creeps near. I breathe through my mouth, trying to keep quiet. A rivulet of sweat runs over my lip, dripping saltily on my tongue. He comes into view, still, listening.

My stomach grumbles and his head whips around.

* * *

There you have it, 294 words; a modified bit of my current WIP, as it turns out. After all, saccadic isn't a good word to use for middle grade. :)

Now, go check out the other entries!


  1. Darn that grumbling stomach! I don't envy your protagonist having to hide beneath clammy, rotting leaves... ew!

  2. If this is from your WiP, it sure sounds intriguing! Very intense.

  3. This is wonderful. Despite the fact that I really need to get off the computer and clean up the kitchen, I read your passage, entranced by it and wondering what would happen. Such building of tension! Nice nice! And I never heard the word saccadic before.

  4. that word saccadic was a tricky one. i'm not sure i used it right! i hope she looked like a shadow! christy

  5. Great entry! As I was reading, I was certain the protagonist would turn out to be an animal. I was wrong...right?

  6. Rachel: That's what I thought, too. Glad it wasn't me. :)

    J.C.: Thanks!

    Jeane: Thank you! I hadn't either; I had to look it up.

    Christy: I'm not sure I used it right, either, but it's in there. :)

    Nicole: Thanks! The protagonist is human.

  7. Wow - great last line. I want to know what happens next!

  8. I love that you used part of your WIP. You have great tension with the snapping twigs and trying to find a better hiding place :) And I love that the hunger factor is what finally gave the MC away.

  9. Oh no! Is she going to get caught? Yikes! :O)

  10. Ouch! That's not good. You did a great job showing. Love this. BTW saccadic is just hard to use. We all seem to be accomplish the task though. ; )

  11. very good! Always wonder if others can hear the low rumble of the hungry tummy :)

  12. Ooh, great showing, I could picture this all clearly! "Please, please let me look like a shadow." - Love it :)



  13. Sounds like a GREAT ms good modifications for the challange ;) Nice job!!

  14. Isn't it fantastic, how different everyone is dealing with the same specifications?!?! Damn stomach! *sigh* Great post ... what's your current WIP all about?

    Karin @ Nofretiris Dream Of Writing

  15. Thanks everyone. Saccadic is hard to use (darn you Rachael!!). ;)

  16. That is definitely intense! And I like how the growling of her stomach alerted her stalker - freeeaky! ;-)

  17. Well done. (If it had been me, i wouldn't have been given away by my stomach...but by the crinkle of a TastyKake wrapper:) You trimmed it to under 300 very nicely, it still flows.

  18. Really good. I like how you used the hunger at the end and left us hanging.

  19. So eerie, especially with that misleading tranquil photo. I'd like to know what happens next!