Writing Challenge #45

WEEKLY CHALLENGE #45

1. CHALLENGE: Show… Don’t tell! Emotion is the strongest connection to your reader because without it, what is there? This challenge is a two-step process…

A. Write one or two sentences that tells the emotion. For example: Sally walked into her apartment and discovered the break-in. She was both angry and afraid.

Notice the lack of connection in that sentence?

B. Take that and show us the emotion. Maximum of two paragraphs.

Example: On an ordinary night, Sally would have dropped her bags, unlocked the door and stumbled into her dark, lonely apartment. Something felt different this time, though, and as Sally approached her home, she noticed the door slightly ajar. Her jaw clenched and in a split second, she decided to enter, rather than flee.

Sally’s stiff legs reluctantly moved forward, rubbing against each other with each step. Her worn, purple couch was flipped on its side, shattered glass crunched beneath her feet, and she could see the television had been smashed. In that moment, Sally bared her teeth, as she rolled up her sleeves. Somebody was going to pay for this.

Think you can do it? Of course, you can! Looking forward to reading all of your amazing entries.

Oh, and… everyone who participates in this challenge (both writing their own and commenting on four others) will automatically be entered for a chance to win the $15 Amazon Gift Card prize!

Anyone who entered last week has already gained a bonus entry and you can gain additional bonus entries by sharing our post on Facebook. Click here to find the post. Winner of the prize will be selected completely at random, so there is a fair chance for everyone!

We will still be voting normally, too, for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place based on highest member votes, but the winner of that won’t necessarily be the winner of the prize. The prize is a random drawing.

2. COMMENT: You MUST comment on FOUR other entries to qualify. If you do not, your entry will be disqualified from the challenge. Give and take… Keep the cycle going.

3. IMPORTANT In order to qualify, you MUST vote for your TOP TWO choices. If you don’t vote, you cannot win this challenge (even if you receive the most votes!). To vote, you need to reply to the email that goes out for the Weekly Challenges. In that email, if you scroll to the bottom, you will see all the information you need to vote for this challenge.

You need to join our mailing list in order to receive the weekly voting email

4. DEADLINE: Tuesday, October 10th at 11:59 p.m. PST. Voting booth will open for this challenge on Wednesday, October 11th, and the winners will be announced the following Wednesday, October 12th.

HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of Writing Challenge #43… Charles Stone, Patricia Crandall and Craig Lincoln! Well done, you three.

THIS CHALLENGE IS OPEN TO ALL MEMBERS AND FREE TO ENTER! Not a member yet? You can join and enter this challenge for free by creating an account here: 

Have fun!

BONUS CHALLENGE: Want to stretch that creative muscle a bit more? Take your two sentence entry and turn it into a short story! Then post it in the ‘Posts for Review’ section on Writer’s Carnival. Remember to review other posts while you’re there, too, to keep that cycle going!

Not sure how to post a full story? Click here and then scroll down to ‘All About Posting’

 


Author Notes

164 Comments for “Writing Challenge #45”

says:

1. John loved his wife very much.

2 Dark, sleepy, almond shaped eyes opened, as John hungrily pulled his wife into his tense arms. A bead of sweat landed on her parted, rosebud lips. He gently kissed her heart-shaped face from her smooth forehead to her dimpled-pointed chin. He took her lips between his teeth, pulled gently and then kissed her with a passion only they shared. Their moans mingled together long after the sun reflected in the gold stand-up mirror.

says:

Dark, sleepy, almond-shaped eyes opened, as he hungrily pulled her into his strong arms. A bead of sweat parted her rosebud lips.

says:

SORRY GUYS. I DIDN’T READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CORRECTLY AND I MADE A HUGE MISTAKE. JUST COUNT ME OUT UNLESS ANISA DELETES AN LET’S ME REWRITE.

says:

1. 7th Grade teacher, Lewis Golden planned to incorporate photos of rare plant and insect specimens into a statistical study project for his class.

2. “Study this photo, class, and tell me what you see.” Lewis held up a picture of a tortured, dismembered body. The seventh graders squealed with delight before he slapped the picture face down on his desk and took several deep breaths to compose himself. He had stopped by the crime lab this morning to have a cup of coffee with brother Ralph at the County jail. Sweat beading his brow, he thought, “Dam! I picked up the wrong folder from Ralph’s desk. “I’ll either have to scrap the Tuesday morning project, or I can make this error work for me. Holding his stomach to keep his breakfast down, he flipped through the grotesque photos in his brother’s gory collection and chose several photos suitable for viewing by the youngsters. Lewis rapped his desk with a pointer. “Class, there will be a change in format. Rather than studying plant and insect specimens, we’ll identify geometric patterns and shapes.”

Moaning and caterwauling erupted in the classroom. “We’ll make the project fun, I promise.” Lewis indicated the photograph pinched between his thumb and forefinger, depicting a large metal beam falling from a New York City skyscraper with black geometric patterns of tall and angular buildings in the background. “Who will be first to identify two geometric shapes and give a brief sci-fi fantasy?”

reigny dai

says:

Yikes! That’s a whopper of a mistake, and I can see why the teacher had to hold his stomach to keep his breakfast from making a repeat visit. I loved the fast thinking he showed in order to twitch his lesson plan. Great recovery.
“Caterwauling,” what a wonderful word.

Jerrica Wiley

says:

1. Noah was frustrated because he couldn’t read.

2. Noah sighed heavily sinking in the chair beside her bed, opened the book to where the page was folded and attempted to attack it again. With furrowed brows and gritted teeth, he went into battle. Silently, he stumbled over the words, trying to familiarize himself with them before he read them out loud for he didn’t want to look like an idiot. He licked his dry lips and went for it. She was in a coma she couldn’t judge him too harshly anyway.
“Dreams do come true,” he started, slowly tripping over the words as they fell from his lips. “if only we wish hard enough.” His lips tightened as he repeated the sentence again while trailing it with his finger.

reigny dai

says:

It hurts my heart when a person can’t read. This piece is special because Noah dreams of being able to read as he tries to read a sentence about dreams coming true. I love that. Nice job

Melissa Pierce

says:

A. She is talking to people and can’t think straight. She is embarrassed and frustrated.

B. The thick, soupy fog rolls in and settles on her mind. It’s not total darkness, but may as well be, as all she is left with is the silhouette of thoughts and words just out of reach on the other side of the mist. She stops talking mid-sentence, furrowing her brows, as all words escape her. She stands there with a blank stare, trying to grasp what her next words were going to be. She can hear all of the sounds around her and see the faces of the people waiting for her to finish, concern and amusement settling in their expressions. Looking down, she hopes some small spark of recognition will come to her before the dreary fog tamps down all hope.

Her cheeks, flushed with red, try holding back the tears already burning behind her soft-set eyes, and turns to her husband to once again finish the thought she was in the middle of. She stands there, plastered smile on her face, while the conversation finishes without her, but inside she is screaming at the illness that brings this lurking fog to her mind.

says:

Telling:
Looking at the devastation around her, Magda heard a news report and felt helpless anguish.

Showing:
Filthy water bumped the cat’s plastic dinner dish against the step under Magda’s feet. She’d never see her cat again. No. And she couldn’t call her son to come help look for it — her telephone was under water somewhere down there in the kitchen. She couldn’t even find out how her son weathered the storm, if his avocado orchard was still standing, if they had enough formula for the baby —

She picked up the radio and dialed the station finder again, hoping to hear a human voice before the batteries wore out. There – faint, but clear: “and the weather service predicts elevated ocean temperatures will turn this new tropical storm into another category four hurricane by the time it hits this area the day after tomorrow. ”

Gregory Shipman

says:

Super great job Deanne and so timely… not only have you shown the emotional state of your character but an expansion to include her son. And to further illustrate, you bring the underlying cause of the dilemma… ‘Climate Change’… that nasty phrase which too many ignore… rising temps and its effect on ocean currents and atmospheric conditions… when will we wake up…
Great Write!

says:

Thanks for your comments, Greg. Yesterday I read the first two chapters of Bloomberg and Pope’s recent book “Climate of Hope.” They say scaring people to death is not the best way to get them to take action on the issue– it’s more likely to cause them to disengage and turn away. Their approach is to go into detail about the way local municipalities are tackling — and solving — bits and pieces of the over-all factors driving CO2 overload in the atmosphere, like creating safer inner-city bike lanes to get more people out of their cars, and creating incentives for people to install green roofs to provide better insulation and mitigate rainfall run-off. At first look, that doesn’t appear to be material for dramatic fiction, but who knows? Maybe it could be background for a nail-biter. Ah yes — the war that erupts when a city councilman tries to pass a local ordinance that requires all new construction to include multiple EV charging stations for use by residents, employees, and general public. The local gas station mogul teams up with build-it-on-the-cheap contractors to defame the councilman and discredit the idea that EV charging stations are needed. The ordinance is saved when the councilman rallies a battalion of EV owners to sneak up on the mogul and surround him in the dark. It works because those electric vehicles are so quiet, and that wins the vote of several council members who are sick of traffic noise. Have to work in a car chase somehow . . .

says:

Good time to describe someone’s emotions during the recent hurricanes. Personally, I’d like to feel her panic. She lost her cat and she’s worried about the formula for the baby, but I didn’t feel her emotions. I’d be freaking out. Can’t contact her son or get help. I want to feel her helplessness. I hope you take this as constructive because that’s the way I mean it. I like the story, but feel it could really make us cry. Good job.

reigny dai

says:

A.
Les faced the doors, not knowing which to enter.

B.
“Homecoming. Like I could get a date,” Les said as he read the posters lining the walls. He reached his destination and stopped. A puff of breath pushed through his pursed lips. Les studied the signs. He mouthed the words that glared back at him. “Boys.” “Girls.” His weight shifted, he looked down the hall, and then back at his two options. “Eenie meenie…” A door opened, and a student exited one of the bathrooms. Les hurried and pretended to drink from the water fountain. “Crap. Did she hear me?” Les stood there, thinking and staring at the scuff marks his shoe left on both bathroom doors.

How long had he been in the hall?  He checked his phone and wiped his hand on his jeans. His palm pressed the door for the boys bathroom, dropped, then pressed the door for the girls bathroom, and dropped again. The principal had given Les permission to use the boys restrooms, so what was holding him back? Les looked at his chest, well breast, and found the answer. He flung a hand at both doors and walked back to class.

Anisa Claire

says:

I could definitely feel the turmoil in this write. That would be a tough situation to be in and society sure doesn’t make it any easier. Not in general, anyway. Great job!

Anisa

reigny dai

says:

Thanks. I struggled with this as story writing, per se, isn’t my specialty. But I enjoyed the challenge and was excited to participate. Situations like this are new to all of us, but even so, there isn’t much that society makes easy or easier.

Gregory Shipman

says:

You’ve sure packed a bunch of tension in this piece, Reigny. A really nice job of showing your character’s apprehension and problematic decision. Its definitely a societal issue that’s front and center. Your closing sentences solidify the dilemma for those who may have missed the picture!

reigny dai

says:

Showing, not telling, is tricky business. So, woo hoo for me, for packing this with tension. (smile). These decisions potentially affect everyone who uses public bathrooms, and there are no simple answers about how to best handle them. Those last sentences were my way of “bringing it home.”

Thanks so much for your remarks.

says:

This is something that must plague lots of kids. I feel the kids of these days would understand it more than my generation. I’d like to feel the emotions more. I’d think his heart would pound and his mouth would be dry and sweaty palms. Maybe Les left sweat prints on both doors? Just my thinking. More detail in the emotions would benefit this story. But good job with this exercise.

reigny dai

says:

More kids deal with it than we hear about, and kids these days aren’t as understanding as we’d like to think. As for Les’ emotions, he left scuffs marks on the bathroom doors because he kicked them. That showed his frustration instead of me saying the word “frustration.” He wiped his hand on his jeans because it was sweaty. That action was intended to show he was nervous and his palm sweaty, without me telling you so and without using an adjective. I’ll continue to work on this aspect of writing. Thanks so much for your candid feedback!

says:

1.A man stalks a woman as she jogs down the street.

2. “Finally!” the man thought as he watched a young woman slow down from her jog to a walk. “She’s alone.” He’d wanted her from the first moment he first saw her. Even now his loins pulsated as he watched her petite hips sway back and forth as she walked walked down the jogging path toward him. It would only take a moment to pull her into the wooded area where he would sate his desire. He licked his lips as she was close enough now to see the beads of sweat trickle from her forehead that his tongue wanted to savor as he tasted her smooth skin. Now was the time. After that run, she’d be too tired to fight him. He pounced.

He came up behind her and rapped his arms around her neck and waist to drag her into the woods. He could smell her subtle perfume as he pulled her close to him. “You’re mine,” he whispered in her ear. To his astonishment, he didn’t hear the cry of a frightened woman, but the words, “Like hell I am!” And before he could take one step toward the woods, suddenly he was blinded by the fingers that were jabbed into his eyeballs and his grasp loosened to his folly. His once anxious lips now tasted the iron from his blood as it trickled to his mouth as an elbow connected to his nose. His once anxious loins curdled up inside his body as a knee connected with his pride and joy. As he doubled over in pain, terror struck his heart when he felt the cord from her Ipod wrap around his neck as she dragged him into the woods. As life giving air slowly left his body, he heard her whisper in his ear, “Serial rapepist, meet serial killer!”

reigny dai

says:

As the ultimate Criminal Minds fan and a lover of Law & Order SVU, I commend you for writing a piece pitting two different types of criminals against one another. It was unique in that, not only did the rapist get outwitted but it was a wowan who do it.

Criminals are cocky and don’t expect their targets to fight. But, not every target becomes a victim. Bravo

Anisa Claire

says:

Phew. I’m glad that spun at the end. ‘Too tired after that run to fight’… What a creepy thought. Well written with lots of description and a plethora of different emotions. He’d wanted her from the first moment he first saw her. – The word ‘first’ being in here twice tripped me up, and I think you meant ‘wrapped his arms’. Nicely done!

Anisa

Gregory Shipman

says:

Holy Dexter!!! Turnabout can be devastating for this rapist. A solid write as you show us the serial rapist’s emotions… and Bravo for turning the table on his soon-to-be-ended life. A great read!

Melissa Pierce

says:

I enjoy how you take us through the rapists emotions from excitement and anticipation through to the surprise twist from his ‘victim’ and then his fear as he his life is ending. Really great story and I loved the surprise of him being the victim in the end.

Gregory Shipman

says:

(Lead-In) She approached the dark deserted street with apprehension and foreboding. Her new decrepit apartment on this block is the aftermath of her dreaded divorce.
(Story) The too few streetlights dimly flickered and did little to dispel the darkness. Her heels clicked and the sound echoed off the three story walls off the run-down houses. She sighed as she slowed and searched her surroundings with tear stained eyes. She thought of George and his new wife in their uptown luxury. How her life had turned for the worse as poverty brought her to a neighborhood of despair and despondency.

Each night she returned to this place from a job that paid too little. She moved forward as though each step took her closer to an unknown and dreaded fate. Instead of her apartment being a place of warmth and safety it is a reminder of how far she has fallen. Another step forward and the darkness deepens. This, though, is all she has… for now.

reigny dai

says:

When you’re low, what’s the one thing that lowers you? Your ex doing better than you. The difference in their situations makes me really feel for her. It’s not a farfetched scenario and it resonates because of that.

Gregory Shipman

says:

Thanks reigny… most insightful… we do make ourselves that much more miserable when the ex has a leg up on us… I do appreciate your input… most valuable.

says:

Your sentence, “Her heels clicked and the sound echoed off the three story walls off the run-down houses.” Is my favorite in your piece. I also like the end, “for now.” Can’t go anywhere but up. It leaves the reader with a positive note. Nicely written.

Anisa Claire

says:

Goodness, Greg! You pulled out the heavy weapons (pens) for this write. Excellent. The emotion is oozing out of this and I not only felt her despair but heard the surroundings, too. Nicely done.

Anisa

Gregory Shipman

says:

Thanks Anisa… you’re too kind but don’t stop! You know how I love characters that walk on the dark-side, some by choice… some by circumstance… it feels good to get back in the ‘Carnival’ groove…

says:

A vivid picture of despair, until you get to those last two words. They indicate a little flicker of that too-seldom light, a stirring determination to find a way to change things. That woman will get back on her feet. Well done!

Gregory Shipman

says:

Thanks Deanne… its too true… the human spirit is in us all… even when overwhelmed and surrounded by darkness there is always that flicker of light, that bit of hope that begs us to hold on and struggle upwards.

Thanks for the read…

Jerrica Wiley

says:

This tugged on my heartstrings. You did a good job describing her situation and it honestly made me feel really bad for her. Good writing.

Gregory Shipman

says:

I appreciate your comments, Jerrica… I suspect its a much seen situation and the pain and frustration (and unfairness) has to be filled with tension and anxiety.

thanks

says:

Boy I can feel her despair. I feel her loss and pain. I like your details very much. I actually felt myself in her shoes (heels); how the pain of having to change your life after a divorce. Thinking about her well-to-do EX, with his new bride. So sad, but well done.

Larry Pierce

says:

John was on his nightly jog in the park and that is when he discovered the body. He was both frightened and a little frantic.

On any other night, John would have just taken the quickest path home, but tonight he decided to cut through the wooded area of the local park. As he rounded the blind curve, he stumbled upon a body in the dark, deserted trees. Something felt wrong with the scene, though, and as John approached the body, he noticed she was still breathing. He clenched his jaw and decided, instead of leaving the woman to call for help, he would stay by her side.

John moved slowly towards the body, listening closely in case the killer was still nearby. His old, worn out running shoes squeaking lightly with each step. As he got closer to the body he could see just how badly she was injured, someone had beaten her and just dumped her body in the park. The closer he got, the more he gritted his teeth. This lady was someone’s sister, someone’s daughter and possibly someone’s mother.

He could not idly sit by and do nothing. As the woman’s death rattle came to an end, John stood up and headed into the woods. Somebody was going to pay for this.

Anisa Claire

says:

This is an excellent example of how you can really bring a short scene to life. The first write there is a total disconnect, which was the idea behind this challenge, and your rewrite unfolds into a whole story. Great descriptions and insight into what your character is really feeling.

Anisa

says:

That would be horrible to stumble upon. I’d would have liked a little more detail of the woman and what she looked like. Let the reader feel sorry for her. He doesn’t seem sympathetic enough for me. I would have wanted him to try and get help. How did he know she was at death’s door? Maybe he tried to help her by feeling her weak pulse and hearing that gurgling in her throat. Yo can do a lot with this story and make a longer version. Write a short story and submit it somewhere. Nicely done.

Stephanie Anders

says:

She was amazed at the beauty of the universe is my first sentence.

The stars glittered in the dark sky above, taunting her like little diamonds she couldn’t reach. She stood eerily still, bright blue eyes wide open, as she imagined being up there with them, truly free.

Gregory Shipman

says:

You moved from the first sentence (amazement) to your ‘following’ which showed how that amazement sprang forward and grew from that magic carpet in the sky… beyond reach but not beyond sight and scope.

great job!

says:

Ahh, perspective. It’s a beautiful image viewed by ages of people — before the advent of TV and sci fi films. When I look at stars, I imagine the millions of lightyears of empty space between them, the absolute zero temp, and absence of any sound. The stars are tiny pinpricks of inferno in the vast emptiness. I prefer chlorophyll and photosynthesis. Why go to Mars when what we have right here is a miracle?

Travis Baribeau

says:

Mark won the lottery and was extremely excited.

Mark smoothed his shirt, as he strutted through the parking lot, headed to the golden doors of the Lottery Corporation. A massive grin that lifted his cheeks nearly to his ears spread across his face when he flung the doors open and he hugged the first person he came into contact with, screaming, “I WON! I WOOON!!! I WOOOOOON!”

Gregory Shipman

says:

Hey Travis… winning the lottery! Now there’s a situation for a spill-over of emotion. You describe it beautifully; form the smoothing of the shirt (gotta look my best) to the way big grin (the world is my oyster). You nailed this one!

greg

Anisa Claire

says:

1. Elodie held a carved piece of wood and missed Jaylon.

2. Elodie wrapped her long, calloused fingers around the carved piece of wood and cocked her head to the side, as a slight smile formed on her cracked lips. It was silly, really, but her eyes brightened when she held this small trinket and her thoughts brought her to his rich smell, warm smile and gentle touch.

says:

A lot of information conveyed about Elodie in a few words: her physical state indicates hardship or age. Eyes brightening suggests she had been sad or depressed. Warm memory shows she had once been in a loving relationship that now is gone. Excellent.

Gregory Shipman

says:

A masterful piece of translation, Anisa. Your sentence is like a curtain with an inch gap and you follow it by throwing the curtain open and exposing all behind it. It shows the full depth of Elodie’s (love that character) emotions. Without doubt its chock full of the good stuff…

says:

His lips trembled, he swiped his palm across his wet cheeks and his knees met the floor beside the blue cradle. “Why us? Dear God Why?” He roared as he clutched the velet soft puppy to his chest and a lullabye gently played.

Anisa Claire

says:

This definetly shows strong emotion, Ellen. Great descriptions!

Anisa

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