S: Show Not Tell Crusader Challenge

**The winner of a preorder of Gae Polisner's Pull of Gravity is Julie Musil. Julie, I'll email you later today!**

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.

From below, the surface of the ocean shimmered.  I knew I still had hours to wait, so I dove back down and into the depths of my cave.  Since I didn’t go to school like most of the others my age, days took too long.    I knew the job I’d been trained to do was important, more important than the whims I wished I could entertain.  Still, after about 25 minutes, I swam back out, restless.

I dove deeper, so that the length of my body almost touched the sandy bottom of the ocean as I glided across it.  Scanning it for a sign that food lurked, I swam for miles before catching the faint sweet scent of lemon.  Plunging forward, it grew stronger.  The blue tip stuck out of the sand.  I grasped it, my arm the same grainy color as the mucky substance I dug it out of.  The vine was short.  Though disappointed, I sucked at the sour plant.  The first taste of food in days, all it did was tease my tongue and stomach. 

Bubbles passed me from behind.  I flipped around.  Nothing showed to have created them.  I pushed off the ground and hurtled through the water toward home.  Twice I circled back.  Still, nobody followed.  More bubbles and the faint sound of swishing water led me to believe otherwise.  Once home, I lay on the gray ledge that surrounded my cave room and rubbed at my skin, watching it turn from deep blue to slate.  Hidden, I waited.  I’d ignored the rumbling of my hollow stomach for two days.  Now, however, it would give me away.  Slowly I turned my eyes upward.  I couldn’t see far enough to know whether or not the sun had begun to set, but enough time had passed, that I knew I needed to begin my mission.

Regardless if someone followed me or not, I pushed off the ledge and swam toward the surface.  Minutes later, I could tell that the fall sky had already begun to darken.  I emerged and crawled behind the rock, crouching for only a moment while my body transformed.  I scrubbed at the salt on my tan skin with a towel and slipped into the clothes that had been placed there for me.  Sneaking out, I glanced around, knowing my movements were so quick that to any human who tried to fix their eyes on me, I would be nothing more than a saccadic suppression.

our S book (Stieg Larsson)

 our Q book since christy forgot
click to learn more about this book
(sorry, i haven't read it!)


  1. Nice job! Wow, a double challenge. I'm impressed. :D

  2. Great job! I liked your descriptions and I'm left wondering what her mission was all about.

  3. ooh, a bit of a creepy story, christy, I like it! I know your mc's are usually female, but I caught a hint of a male voice here (or maybe just strong female?).

  4. This is really original and I totally want to know more about what is going on! Hope we get to see more in the future!

  5. is this a sekrit project? please say yes. I really enjoyed reading it and can't help wondering, is the character some sort of sea creature? Definitely not human. Great job.

  6. Oh man, I wish I had a cave room. I wonder what could've been following her. Good job on the challenge.

  7. Doh! I think I was supposed to do this blogfest and forgot... You did a fabulous job on that piece!

  8. Ooh, is it a mermaid? Definitely some paranormal creature!

  9. Ooh! What a different take on the Challenge! I'm really intrigued about what your MC is now!

  10. I'm guessing a silkie (selkie). Great post! The mission intrigues me. ; )

  11. i love the guesses! it IS now a secret project. the other day, i visited a blog...possibly the golden eagle's (can't remember!!!) and it had a post about the ocean and how only 10 percent of it is discovered. well, to a writer, that means there's a whole heck of a lot there for me to imagine and create! my mc is a very strong female. and what she is...is fabricated. there's no name for it-yet- but she's a type of amphibian. camoflauge, can live on land and water....i'm excited to work on this...but i have two other wips to complete first. i can't believe im turning into a sci fi writer!!! christy

  12. The blog is very good!

  13. Ooh, me likes :) Great twist on the Crusader Challenge, and I love the way you show her determination to finish even though someone might be following. My favorite line: "nothing more than a saccadic suppression" :)



  14. Isn't it fantastic, how different everyone is dealing with the same specifications?!?! Cool, that somebody else came up with the idea of dealing NOT with humans! :-) Pity, that we were limited to only 300 words, would be interesting to read more of your story!

    Karin @ Nofretiris Dream Of Writing

  15. Oh, I forgot: Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy is highly recommendable! It's a fantastic read ... and also the movies are really well made.

  16. Very nice! I love seeing what everyone's come up with, given the specifications. Excellent job with the five senses!

  17. Great original concept, Christy. Lots of open threads to move the story forward at a later date. I liked it.

    Grant @ Grant's Big Blog

  18. Wow, I was totally sucked in and am dying to know what happens next! Well done! Congrats to Julie as well!

  19. Thanks for sharing.

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

  20. Ooh, interesting twist. Would love to see what happens next!


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