Thursday, April 21, 2011

Show Not Tell Crusader Challenge

You might be wondering where my usual Aspiring Author interview is. Let's just say I drop the ball every now and then. This is one of those times. 

But it all worked out because now I get to do the final Crusade Challenge! 

Here are the requirements:
In 300 words or less, write a passage 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.
Rach sure knows how to issue a challenge. I'll accept that challenge with this...

I ducked under a branch and my foot sunk into a rotted log. A bead of sweat trickled toward my brow but I shook it away and glanced up the hill. My last informant insisted that I would reach the ocean by morning. That would've been twelve hours ago. If I didn't get there soon, the free-thinkers would reach the village first. They might've done so already.  

If that was the case, the fed's would kill me.

I crawled up the hill, dragging my body over moss and roots. Halfway up, the smell of salt stung my nose. It burned my throat and coated the roof of my mouth with a filmy bitter substance. I gagged but nothing came.

Snap, a noise startled me in the distance.

Oh crap! Whether it was the fed's or a free-thinker, I had to hurry. Dirt wedged under my nails as I shoved off the ground and wobbled forward. My heart thumped faster with each breath. Only three more steps.

The noise came again. This time right behind me. I fell forward and came to a sudden stop, my head hung over the edge of a cliff. The fading light shimmered on the ocean's surface below. There was no way down.

"Stop," a voice cut through the air.

I rotated my head and eyed the man. A free-thinker. Not just any-free thinker, though. It was the leader, his fingers wrapped around a mega-taze.

A knot tightened in my stomach. The game plan had changed. He was never trying to win the race. I was his prize. Me. The fed's last hope. If I turned into a free-thinker, I'd be as good as dead.

I took a saccadic glance between the crashing water and the man behind me. I wasn't ready to die.

And I hope you liked it! Have a great weekend and happy writing :)


  1. Wow, I'm not sure which I'd pick: crashing water or scary free-thinker man!

  2. Excellent! Funny, I don't think of free-thinkers as being bad...

  3. Wonder what a free-thinker is? You left us at quite a cliffhanger there--literally!

  4. Fantastic! Is this part of a bigger work? If not, go write it! LOL

  5. Rachel-I'll guess we'll never know. This was almost 300 words :)

    Alison-Whether free-thinkers are bad or not, this person thinks they are...I'm glad you liked it though.

    J.C.-Teehee ;)


    Nicole-This was purely for the challenge but I had a blast writing it! Maybe it will be part of a story in the future. I'm glad you liked it.

  6. Wow, well done, thanks for sharing your challenge with us!

    I'm starting up a 'Critiquing Crusaders' program, where participants in the Second Crusade can find other writers to exchange critiques with or form critiquing circles. If you're interested, come by The Kelworth Files to check it out!

  7. Michelle, this is awesome!! I loved it!! :D

  8. Ooh intense. I like it Hope she escapes :O)

  9. I love it! Tons of great action, lots of tension, and less than 300 words too! Very cool!

  10. Very nice! I just wish I could read more!

  11. That was great! Excellent tension!

  12. Wow, Michelle this was great! You should totally expand it into a full story!

  13. Wonderful tension! I'm there. I've noticed that a lot of us are in the forest with our challenges. LOL! Nothing like great minds thinking alike. ; )

  14. really nice ending! You let us know without actually saying it that your character chose the ocean jump!

  15. Ooh, great showing! I love the name "free-thinkers" - I was picturing all sorts of things with that one. And yep, what Kerrin said! I have no doubt she jumped ;)



  16. Excellent take on the challange. I liked it a lot! Have a great weekend.

  17. Isn't it fantastic, how different everyone is dealing with the same specifications?!?! Love the ocean and the free-thinker fragment here! :-)

    Karin @ Nofretiris Dream Of Writing

  18. Thanks everyone! I do have to say that she didn't necessarily jump. Either option meant death in different ways. Just had to throw that in there :)

  19. Neat - I love the suspense/thriller feel of this one! And excellent showing not telling! :-)

  20. Awesome Michelle! Are you going to write a thriller/mystery. I'd read it!

  21. Wow! That was very tense and scary, and you did use all the senses! I didn't even know what saccadic meant! :D Great writing, Michelle~

  22. That was great! But how does it end???

  23. Great stuff, especially the details, including the dirt under the fingernails. Love how so many of us ended with cliffhangers.

  24. Wow, great job, Michelle! I loved it.


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