Show, Don’t Tell: The Secret to Great Writing with Show and Tell Examples

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You've heard the classic writing rule, “Show. Don't Tell.” Every writing blog ever has talked about it, and for good reason.

Showing, for some reason, is really difficult. Yet, it's also one of the most important writing techniques you need to master if you want your own writing stand out.

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show and tell examples

Telling is one of the hardest habits to eradicate from your style. I still struggle with it regularly. However, writing that shows is so much more interesting than writing that tells. Most of the time.

In this article, you'll find the definition of “show, don't tell,” see several show don't tell examples, and learn the one simple trick to strengthen your writing style.

What is Show, Don't Tell?

“Show, don't tell” is a popular piece of creative writing advice to write with more sensory details, allowing your reader to hear, see, taste, touch, and smell the same things your fictional characters experience.

This is especially a popular piece of advice given to new writers, who often tell too much in their description (and often include unnecessary backstory or adverbs, which slow the story's pace and take the reader out of the moment).

The descriptive language makes the experience visceral for the reader, which allows them to imagine what a character experiences in real time for that character. Because of this, it's more likely that the reader forgets that they're reading—a goal fiction writers (and all writers) want to achieve.

As Anton Chekhov said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

(Note: even though you'll see the above quote frequently, it's a bit of a miss-quote. Here's what Chekhov actually said.)

How do you “show, don't tell”? The good news is that it's pretty easy to show if you just learn this one trick:

Be More Specific

The simplest rule to remember if you're trying to show is just to write specific details. Specificity will fill in the gaps from your telling and bring life to your scenes. Let me give you an example of how being specific will help you show.

Here's a very tell-y example:

They went to New York to see Cats. They both enjoyed it very much. When they tried to go home, their flight was delayed because of the snow so they stayed another night and decided to see the musical again.

That's a fun story. A great trip to the city could be ruined by the weather, but they make the most of it.

It's all pretty vague, though, isn't it?  Who are they? What theater did they see Cats at? Why did they enjoy it?

To show rather than tell, you have to interrogate your story. You have to be more specific. Better yet, you'll use strong verbs to show what a character does, feels, and experiences.

Here's that example with some of those questions answered:

Tanya and James flew to New York city in a 747. They got their bags, took a taxi to their hotel, and checked into their rooms. “I can't wait to see the show,” Tanya said. “You're going to love it.”
James shook his head. “I don't get it. It's about cats who sing and dance? Sounds sorta dumb.”
Tanya smiled. “Just trust me.”
Their hotel was just a few blocks from the Foxwoods Theater so they walked. He had never seen buildings so tall or so many people walking on the street. When they got to the theater, Tanya noticed his eyes were a little wider, his mouth a little slacker. The foyer was covered in gold and white marble, with hundreds of people milling around in gowns and beautiful suits. He didn't talk much. Finally, they took their seats, and the lights went down. He took her hand.
….

Let's stop there. Once you get specific your story can get a lot longer. The word count goes up, which isn't always the direction you want it to take.

But overall, at least in this example, the showing is a little better than the blander, tell-y paragraph.

Instead of “they,” we now see Tanya and James. We know a little more about them, that Tanya is a little more cultured, while James is more wary of it. We get a glimpse of the theater.

The second example does a better job at sticking in the reader's mind. The reader gains an emotional attachment to the story in a way the previous example did not.

Interrogate Your Story

There's still more room for specificity, though, which is why you always have to interrogate your story.

What was their flight like? Why is James so awed by New York? What's the nature of their relationship?

Here's another example with some of those questions filled in with specificity:

Tanya and James flew to New York in a 747. Tanya drank club sod and James had ginger ale. “Can I have the whole can?” he said. When they in LaGuardia, James turned to her and said, “Just so you know, that was the first time I've ever flown anywhere.”
“What?” said Tanya. “Why didn't you tell me?”
“I didn't want you to know I hadn't left Oklahoma.”
She took his hand and kissed it and held it to her cheek.
“I'll still love you, even if you are an Okie hillbilly.”
They both smiled and he kissed her.
….

That's definitely more specific, but it's also getting longer. We haven't even gotten to the theater yet.

And what that means is that while “show, don't tell” is often good advice, showing isn't always appropriate. Instead, keep in mind this alternative advice:

Show and Tell: When to Show and When to Tell

Sometimes, showing isn't appropriate for your writing. Sometimes, if you want to write a great story, you have to tell.

How do you know when to show, not tell and when to show and tell? Here's a brief guide:

Show if:

  • It is a pivotal scene, like the climactic moment in your story.
  • You are bringing the reader into a scene and need to briefly describe the details of the setting so they can picture it.
  • It is a moment of great conflict, drama, or crisis.
  • You are presenting an important, dramatic conversation and the dialogue between the two characters advances the plot.

In other words, show if the scene is exciting, dramatic, story-advancing, character-developing, and altogether interesting. Show if the character has an emotional experience in the scene—or if you want to ground the reader in the character's POV.

Tell if:

  • You are mostly giving information the reader needs to know but which doesn't advance the plot.
  • It is a non-pivotal moment in your story.
  • You are linking two highly dramatic scenes and need to skip over a less dramatic period of time.

In other words, tell if the scene is boring, non-pivotal, not dramatic, and mostly exposition or informational.

I include an infographic that breaks it down visually below. Scroll down for a creative writing exercise to put this concept to use immediately.

Show Don't Tell Infographic

How to Find the Write Balance Between Show, Don't Tell

How do you find the write balance between showing vs telling details?

Every story is like an accordion.

You can get infinitely more specific, but the consequence of specificity is length.

While you should want to be more specific, to show more than you tell, you'll need to cut the detail that doesn't add to your story.

If you want to be a better writer, make show and tell a natural part of writing.

To do this, be specific, but don't bore us.

How about you? What do you think is the right balance between showing and telling details? Let me know in the comments.

PRACTICE

Let's put “show, don't tell” to use using the following writing exercise: Rewrite the following writing prompt by being more specific.

  • They went to Los Angeles to see his parents.

Write for fifteen minutes. When you're finished, post your practice in the practice box below.

And if you post, please give some feedback to a few other writers. I hope this is a community that helps each other improve.

Enter your practice here:

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Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

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156 Comments

  1. Jmfthird

    Ricky went with Bill in his old brown Ford sedan affectionatel known as “S–twagon II” to see Bill’s parents, both now retired, whom Bill hadn’t seen in eight years. Bill remarked as they got on interstate 20, “gawd, you can’t even get on the flippin’ highway without takin’ your life in your hands,” narrowly missing sideswiping a truck with a utility bed on it. That was nothing to the gridlock they would encounter nine hours later in the City of the Angels. It was, however, a very entertaining trip in between. They stopped at Carlsbad Caverns long enough to learn that the bat population is now endangered by some sort of strange disease called “white nose”. The one hitch-hiker they saw, whom they declined to stop for, looked like your garden variety wandering serial murderer. We are in search of the REAL America, they joked. The summer heat was in the strength of its youth and their air-conditioner was a model 4-80: four windows cranked all the way down at eighty miles per hour. They took turns driving when one or the other felt fatigued, and listened to the classic rock of their youth on a series of FM radio stations, finding the music of the Grateful Dead especially fitting; but when they found a retrospective on Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks on an L.A. area station, that sent them to their destination in high style. “I think they’ll be glad to see me, but they may not know me so well anymore,” Bill told Ricky as they pulled in the driveway of the small, well-kept cottage. The puzzlement Ricky detected in Mom and Dad donfirmed what Bill had said.

    Reply
    • Suzie Gallagher

      love this – garden variety wandering serial murderer
      well done

      Reply
      • Wong One

        I agree. Garden variety serial killers are great.

        Reply
    • Mhvest

      I like “the summer heat was in the strength of its youth” and because these are middle aged men in a car that one would expect a teenager to drive.

      Reply
    • Yvette Carol

      Yeah it’s got a nice flow!

      Reply
      • Wong One

        I agree with Yvette..Great Flow….

        Reply
    • Zo-zo

      Yes, I agree with Yvette, good flow, and great description that is pertinent and quirky.

      Reply
    • Juliet

      Really descriptive and sad

      Reply
    • Trinity

      The ending was confusing for me as I didn’t understand why the parents didn’t know who they were. But i liked the imagery in the classic rock and the 4-80 air conditioning system

      Reply
    • Tim Swanson

      Masterful clues about the ages of the guys and Bill’s parents using so many unusual yet familiar details. On the second read, I got what was happening with Mom and Dad. Sad but realistic.

      Reply
  2. Jay

    Show doesn’t have to be longer than tell, it just has to make us feel it. So, rather than just saying a character was caught in the rain and got soaked, we might describe how his shoes filled up with water so that they squelched at every step.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      That’s a good point, Jay. It depends on exactly how specific you want to get with your showing. There IS such a thing as too much specificity. A few chosen details are better than a waterfall of information.

      Reply
    • Manalto

      I agree, and if you choose your details wisely, they can speak volumes.

      Reply
  3. Suzie Gallagher

    The sun was setting as the plane landed in Los Angeles. The cabin was infused with a golden orange glow. Celebrity hoped was a good omen and squeezed Wayne’s arm to waken him.

    Security took forever, Celebrity’s newly coiffured hair was becoming limper than the lettuce left forgotten at the bottom of the crisper. That was the problem, Celebrity thought, I have a name that totally sucks, I am desperately trying to make a good first impression with Wayne’s parents and it really doesn’t matter because my name got there first.

    The hair, the new linen suit, strike that, the new crumpled in a heap linen suit, the Jimmy Choo’s that were killing, all of it didn’t matter because her silly, fussy, manic mother once was friends with a woman called Mia with strange named children and she got landed with the stupidest name in the history of stupid names.

    And Wayne’s parents had already judged her, and what was the point anyway, I want to go home, she could feel her eyes smart. No way, I am not having mascara run. Where did Wayne go?

    Oh I love this man, she smugly smiled as he handed her a bottle of water and a napkin. “Come on Ceely, mom and dad aren’t that bad. They made me. And I love you, honey more than chocolate chilli ice cream, more than anything,” Wayne held Celebrity whilst whispering in her ear.

    Reply
    • Mhvest

      What a great idea for a story here, Suzie. What a horrible name, Celebrity. I like the words “limper than lettuce left in the crisper” the alliteration draws attention and then you have the contrast of limper and crisper. Great!

      Reply
      • Suzie Gallagher

        thanks, this is the story though, there is no more.

        I am composing vignettes of different characters, attached to different characters and scenarios.

        I can’t settle to write a “story”

        Reply
  4. Tom Cavanaugh

    Bags packed. Coach class. Middle seat. If moving back home wasn’t bad enough. “Great. You get the window while I am stuck in the middle.” Joe said as he took his seat in row 16. “How is it that you always luck out?”

    James, still staring at the luggage being thrown in the plane. “I wish they’d take their time. I have a bottle of scotch for your dad in mine. It was already aged in an oak-barrel, I can do without a few hours in a cotton T-shirt.”

    Joe looks up. Two gigantic Samoans slide sideways down the aisle. Joe hits the back of the chair in front of him where James sat. “You know these guys are going to sit in this row. It always happens.”

    The Samoans slowed near row 14 and put their bags above. They slowly walked past 15 and stopped. The one in front glanced at his ticket again and they continued moving.

    The plane fills up and Joe is greeted by an older, petite lady who takes up the window seat.

    A small victory.

    Almost.

    A last-minute addition takes up the seat. His gate, through the seeping sweat of his clothes, must have been a half-mile away. He removes a 6” tuna fish sandwich from Subway and lifts up the armrest.

    The 5-hour flight to Los Angeles to visit his parents could not get much worse.

    The lady turns towards the man who just arrived and notices his sweat-filled University of Maryland shirt.

    “You know my daughter went there,” the lady said. “Now her son attends there. I have dozens of stories on that beautiful campus.”

    The man commanding the aisle seat leans over and smile. “Well, I think making a friend and sharing stories is a wonderful way to ease this treacherous flight time.”

    Reply
    • Zo-zo

      Hahaha!! This made me laugh. My favourite paragraph is the seeping sweat clothes and tuna fish!

      Reply
  5. mlhatcher

    For me, giving the details of what it is like to be at that particular moment and experiencing what is going on is what it is all about. How else could anyone share in what the emotion is and have the imagination develop throughout the scene, if it were not written out to give the complete picture. In my mind, it is a necessity to give the full measure of detail, so that the moment can be shared and explored. Is that not what the beauty of writing is all about.

    Reply
  6. Maven

    The essence of show not tell is to get into the skin of your characters. That is, not to describe all the detail of what a tiger looks and smells like when it’s right in front of you, but rather to convey the feeling of facing a tiger. Paradoxically, this can often be more economical than the telling version.

    Reply
    • Jeannie Miernik

      Yes, I agree. The more potent the language, the less of it you need. Ernest Hemingway is one example of an author who could pack more story AND more intimacy into fewer words.

      Also, you can start later if what happens at that later point makes it clear what has happened before. That allows more space to insert the important details. For example, you could start right off with, “The flight was delayed because of the snow, so Tanya and James stayed another night and decided to see The Cats again.” The reader already knows from this sentence that the couple traveled and that they’ve already seen the play once. If the good stuff in this story happens in the couple’s conversation after seeing the play a second time, this might be an even better place to start.

      Reply
      • Wong One

        Hemingway packed more than just that

        Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Eh I don’t know about that. But maybe I’m misunderstanding you. I think in general talking about emotions is more on the tell side than the show side. I prefer to show emotions through description of setting rather than inner monologue. Am I wrong?

      Reply
      • Yvette Carol

        Well Joe in the course I took recently they taught us to show emotion through minor physical appearance changes. Also, through actions and then sometimes you can add in a thought or two as well. I really like your notion, that you can show emotion through setting of scene. I have definitely started using that since joining this group.

        Reply
        • Joe Bunting

          That’s a great point, Yvette. I prefer action over physical appearance though.

          Reply
    • Mhvest

      I don’t understand. If you describe at tiger being in front of someone with enough clarity wouldn’t the reader then be able to feel the emotion that the protagonist is feeling?

      Reply
      • Maven

        Best example I can give is from Vertigo, where Raymond Massey tries to throw Jimmy Stewart out the window. Hitchcock shot this in a bunch of confusing close-ups. A studio exec asked why he couldn’t do it with some long establishing shots to make the details clearer. Hitchcock said, “Because, when somebody is pushing you out of a window, the clear details are the last thing on your mind.”

        If you describe the tiger with 25o words of detail, you’re implying the calm viewpoint of a Mr Spock. See the point?

        Reply
        • Joe Bunting

          That’s a really good point, Maven. And I love that example. You could do it with 5 words, or you could do it with more if you used stream of consciousness and pinged different details: the black eyes, the three inch teeth, the claws sinking into flesh, the blood, the rumbling of its growls, the sound of ripping clothes and flesh.

          Reply
        • Mhvest

          Do you have any examples from writing? In film everything is show by definition. The great fear in that movie, and I think you mean Rear Window rather than Vertigo was on James Stewart’s face as the guy threw him out and he tried to hang on. Maybe that’s why people often like movies better than books, but then a lot of people who see a movie after reading a good book are disappointed.

          Reply
  7. Marianne

    They went to Los Angeles to see his parents in a rental car at Christmas. It was a Ford SUV and since they both drove Toyotas they went for several miles in the cold Virginia winter, before Sarah figured out how to turn the heat on.
    “Everything’s on the wrong side in this car, “ she said. The cold was making her fussy.
    “Yeah they should give lessons before they put you in one, but this has a lot more room than the Corolla,” said Jason. “It smells like it’s brand new.”
    Jason thought the drive would take five days, which would give them four days to stay with his parents in their stucco, three-bedroom home on Kenwood Ave. in the historic distract of Los Angeles.
    “Are there really palm trees?” said Sarah.
    “Yeah, there aren’t any in our yard but there are some on the street, different kinds. My parents wanted to stick to trees that went with the house which is kind of a fake tudor.”
    Sarah looked out the window at empty brown fields and filthy feed lots under gray skies and imagined a sunny city with neat lawns and lots of palm trees. They passed a farm house with a three metal and plastic pink flamingos in the yard.
    They stopped in West Virginia to eat, at the Sky Inn, a restaurant recommended by AAA, and were seated in the only vacant booth which was by the door. Each time the door opened a frigid mountain wind blew across their booth, chilling the formica table top. Sarah looked at her fuzzy red gloves and wondered if she could eat with them on her hands. She looked at Jason who seemed unperturbed by the cold. He gave her a wide smile.
    “I like traveling,” he said.
    “Me too, but it’s cold.”
    “Want to change sides?”
    “No sit by me and keep me warm.”
    They ordered bar-b-que sandwiches with slaw and fries. Jason took the Tabasco Sauce and dripped the orangish liquid on his the shredded pork. Then he added some slaw, put the top of the bun back on, and took a huge bite. He smiled out of the corner of his eyes at Sarah.
    “Good,” he mumbled with his mouth full.
    Sarah took off her gloves and ate her fries one by one after dipping them in a circle of ketchup. She leaned into Jason as she ate, trying to absorb the warmth of him though his polartec jacket, and thinking about a warm Christmas.

    Reply
    • Katie Axelson

      I love the description here! Especially the paragraph about West Virginia. I can really see the frigid mountain wind.

      Katie

      Reply
      • Mhvest

        Thanks Katie

        Reply
    • Yvette Carol

      Oh the simple beauty of the blessed details! A clear scene and believable characters. Nicely rendered Marianne 🙂

      Reply
      • Mhvest

        Thank you very much Yvette Carol

        Reply
  8. Yvette Carol

    Thanks for the tip about specificity. Yes, I’m guilty of cutting back a lot of times on specifics, because I want to get on with the story!

    Reply
  9. Rachel Pierce

    I went a little bit over the time limit, but here’s what I wound up with.

    She had been expecting more traffic. Sara had never been to Los Angeles. Never been outside of the American Southwest. The heat was expected. Welcome. The palm trees, but as the taxi speeds down 101, the knot in her stomach grows tighter.

    “They’re going to love you,” Jason says. He kisses her temple, his calm, cool words flowing down her sweat-stained back like a waterfall. Reassuring and refreshing. Never changing. She thinks of the waterfall back home in Arizona. Their secret place.

    Breathe.

    “I thought there would be more traffic,” she says, struggling to keep the panic out of her voice. ‘I thought we would have more time,’ she says to herself.

    Jason takes hold of her hand as the taxi driver exits the freeway. Sara thinks briefly about how her hand is sweaty and he might notice, but then the worry passes as they drive up and around the winding hills. She holds on tighter. On either side of the drive gated homes rise around them. At the top of the hill the driver stops in front of a pale green stucco.

    A woman in a kelly green top and not-quite-age-appropriate jean shorts bursts out of the front door. She looks just like the pictures. Animated and full of life.

    Jason squeezes Sara’s hand. Her eyes search for his deep brown ones.

    “We’re okay,” he tells her. The waterfall pushes her out the car door and carries her onto the grassy lawn, bringing a bright smile to her face.

    Reply
  10. Beth Zimmerman

    Dan hadn’t been home in years. He could still hear the door slamming in his mind as he stormed out after one fight too many with his father. The man had expected, demanded, too much from all of his children. Especially his oldest son. And Dan had failed. Again. As he had thrown the hastily packed duffel bag into the passenger seat of his pickup truck the front door had opened and his father had stepped out on the porch.

    “Daniel!”

    He slammed the door and walked defiantly around his truck..

    “Daniel! Do NOT leave! If you leave now … don’t bother to come back! You won’t be welcome!”

    Dan threw his body into the driver’s seat and sat for a moment with both hands on the wheel staring straight ahead at nothing. Then he reached, with grim determination into the pocket of his jeans, pulled out his keys, and removed his house key from the ring. He jammed the truck key into the ignition and heard his mother scream, “NO!” just as the engine turned over and caught. He pushed the switch to roll down the passenger window and tossed his house key onto the grassy front lawn. Then he shook his head and drove away.

    10 years and neither of them had moved an inch. Such stubborn men they were. His mother had begged him often over the years to make the first move, to apologize and come home. Why had it been so important to him to stand his ground? To refuse to give in? He had been so determined to make the unyielding man suffer and repent. To outlast his father.

    He’d outlasted him alright! At what cost? Now the man lay dying in a hospital and his mother had tracked him down to warn him that this might be his last chance. At first he had claimed not to care but Shelly saw right through his bravado. She always did. So she had quietly packed suitcases and called airlines. Now here they were on a crowded airplane from Kenya to Los Angeles. Shelly slept quietly beside him as he stared out at the clouds and wrestled with his past.

    Reply
    • Zo-zo

      I love the sound of the door slamming in your second line, drawing us in. Also, I like the contrast between Shelly’s calm ‘quietly packed suitcases’ and Dan’s chaos. ’10 years and neither of them had moved an inch’ is a great line – but maybe a scene that Dan remembered which proves this would have been more powerful than his thoughts…? Those are my thoughts!

      Reply
  11. Zo-zo

    The plane had small windows, June thought. She had thought that the windows in planes would be bigger and brighter, that you’d see the whole city from that view. But no, all you got was a piece of sky.

    She sighed and popped her gum. ‘I don’t know if I’m going to like her.’

    Matt blinked at his newspaper.

    ‘She’s obese.’

    ‘I didn’t say that, I just said she’s not as skinny as you.’ He moved his hand towards his pocket, but then remembered he couldn’t smoke. ‘And she doesn’t like skinny girls.’

    As they arrived at his parent’s door, June’s only expectation was to be shunned. She looked at the wreath. A little bluebird sat on a brown twig grinning at them. Matt shook his head. ‘It’s been here for twenty years.’

    Matt banged the knocker furiously, on and on and on. She poked him and rolled her eyes. He just carried on.

    Finally a huge man with a grizzly bear beard flung the door open, nearly knocking himself out.

    ‘Mattie’s home!’ He yelled, his voice real deep, but with a bounce in it too.

    June smiled as he closed in on Matt and they man-hugged. It started out as a good hug, but then it just became embarrassing so she pushed them apart and stuck her hand out to greet him. ‘June’s the name.’

    Grizzly bear started laughing, and then pushed her close to his chest. ‘Oh we don’t do handshakes,’ he said.

    June thought he held on for a little too long, and when the footsteps clipped down the hallway, he threw her off him like a bad rash. There, coming down the hall, as prim as a stick but wide as a ball, was the Mrs.

    ‘What a nice surprise,’ she said, her frozen eyes fixed on her husband. ‘You’re early.’ She stuck out a taut hand for June to touch.

    Ah, June thought.

    Reply
    • Zo-zo

      Hmmm… reading it through, not sure if I did the ‘show vs tell’ thing here… Comments? Suggestions?

      Reply
      • Yvette Carol

        Hey Zo-so I thought there were some really nice little jewels in there, like the man-hugging, the deep voice with the bounce in it, and ‘the Mrs.’ Also, the ‘stuck out her hand’ line was tight, it painted a picture without a lot of words. Suggestions? As Joe said elsewhere, take out the ‘remembered’ part because that’s telling, and just perhaps show his eyes flick up and take in the ‘no smoking’ sign….

        Reply
        • zo-zo

          Thanks Yvette!

          Reply
    • Francesca Williams

      I noticed June’s almost hostile attitude, and how even though she didn’t think the mother would like her, they had similar personalities.

      Reply
    • Kloe

      I think this is a strong piece, I really like how the ending had such strong imagery and made the reader think about the situation. I also like how you wrote ‘we don’t do handshakes’ but then the mother holds her hand out for June to shake– it’s a very strong point where you used more showing and less telling.

      Reply
  12. RD Meyer

    Becky sat in the passenger and fidgeted with her hair. The desert air dried her sinuses, but Carl had insisted on keeping the top down. And as if this trip couldn’t grate on the sense any more, the seams in the concrete kept her from enjoying her Creed album.

    She glanced at her first real boyfriend, his hands resting on the wheel. Family was important to him, which was why she agreed to come along, but that didn’t mean she had to share the sentiment. Some people just can’t cut the cord, Becky thought.

    Carl reached over and gave her neck a quick massaging rub. “Don’t worry, hon. I’m sure they’ll love you as much as they do me.”

    She wanted to snort, but smiled instead. Yes, she wanted to get to know Glenda and Martin eventually, but to make a special trip just to see them seemed a bit over the top.

    “How do you think they’ll react to, well, you know?” she asked.

    He took his eyes off the road for a second and looked at her before staring back down the interstate. “We don’t need to go into that yet,” he said. “After all, you were trying to get enough money to finish school. Just go with that for now.”

    “I don’t feel comfortable lying to them,” she said as she turned to watch the passing scrub brush.

    “It’s not lying,” Carl sighed. “You just don’t have to go with all that brutal honesty you always have. Not at first.”

    “You want me to be someone I’m not.”

    “No,” Carl admonished. “I want them to give you a chance so they can love the real you. The way I do.”

    They drove in silence for a long time. Becky began to feel a queasiness in her stomach that had nothing to do with winding their way through the downtown streets once they turned off of I-5. They finally pulled into the parking lot of an In-n-Out Burger, and Becky saw a stern looking woman standing beside a BMW. Surely, she thought, that was his mom. However, it was when his dad got out that her heart skipped a beat.

    “Shauna?” he gaped, his jaw slamming the asphalt.

    She knew not all of her clients lived in Las Vegas, and that most of them used fake names, but this was an unwelcome surprise.

    Reply
    • Zo-zo

      Great story. Kicker of an ending.

      Reply
      • Al The Nerd/Hippie

        I loved the story that you wrote! I am also a great writer too

        Reply
        • Manalto

          Apparently great writers use “also” and “too” in the same unpunctuated sentence.

          Reply
          • Suqsid21

            The sign of a great writer is not being afraid to break with convention and rules in a meaningful way to produce good writing; that said I don’t see this as that.

          • Manalto

            Speaking of convention, “that said” and its variants are woefully overused these days. I guess it sounds more important than “but.”

    • Yvette Carol

      Crikey! (as they say down in these parts) I wasn’t ready for that ending. I think my stomach dropped, it was the ‘her heart skipped a beat’ bit that twisted the whole scene somehow in a sickening direction… Phew! Nice job RD!

      Reply
    • Adsabry60

      That is really good surprising ending I really like it
      Good job

      Reply
    • Rexx

      I must say the ending is one of the best Lil tricks I have noticed in an author who isn’t Mr or Mrs famous author. Great job !

      Reply
    • mccracken

      twist ending – I thought at first she was a surrogate, but then…

      Reply
    • Francesca Williams

      I didnt understand it at first, but the twist at the end clarified. Great story.

      Reply
    • Kloe

      I really like how you didn’t let the reader know exactly what was happening until the very end, even then the reader still had to draw the conclusion for themselves (somewhat). It also had very strong diction and great imagery.

      Reply
    • Juliet

      The ending definitely caught me by surprise because the whole time I was reading I thought she was pregnant

      Reply
    • Trinity

      I didn’t get the story at first but having a discussion after helped me understand the story. It did a good job in showing me when what was happening instead of telling me. The imagery was strong.

      Reply
    • Regan

      I loved the ending–great twist! I read along thinking that she was a liar, and maybe a pregnant one at that. This is the sort of story that demands an ending–so–great job, really great job.

      Reply
  13. Jeremy Statton

    Thanks for sharing this Joe. As a writer without formal training, I haven’t quite developed this habit yet. But this is a great way to help remember what I need to do.

    As the plane took off, he couldn’t stop thinking about the moment when he received the phone call.

    He knew the call was inevitable. Noah acknowledged the reality of this truth, but he had still pushed it away as if ignoring it would somehow hold it off.

    His wife was the one who answered the phone, and when she handed the receiver over to him, he knew that moment had come.

    “Dad?”

    “Hi Noah. I have some bad news about your mother. She has cancer. The doctors give her 3 months.”

    His entire childhood played like a silent movie through his head. Every cherished moment with this women had been the most absolute thing he had known in his life. Every missed opportunity to give back to the one who had given him everything. Every time he had hugged her. Every time he had yelled at her in anger.

    It all fell on him at once. A heaviness that pressed his soul down to the floor even though his body remained standing.

    After what seemed like an eternity to him, but was really on a short pause over the phone, he came to with a question from his father.

    “Son, are you there?”

    “Yeah, sorry. We will get there as soon as we can.”

    He paid too much for two tickets on the earliest flight he could find. He filled his suitcase with items he wouldn’t need, forgetting basics like shampoo and shaving cream. Thought they were together, he couldn’t feel more alone.

    They were headed to Los Angeles to see his parents.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Hey Jeremy,

      This is a powerful story. I like the emotional weight it has. You do have a lot of telling here, although I don’t particularly blame you for not getting it. The post wouldn’t have helped you with all of this telling. Let me break it down:

      “He couldn’t stop thinking about the moment when he received the phone call. He knew the call was inevitable. Noah acknowledged the reality of this truth, but he had still pushed it away as if ignoring it would somehow hold it off.” This is inner monologue, which, in my opinion, is like the definition of telling (you can’t really show inner monologue).

      “His entire childhood played like a silent movie through his head. Every cherished moment with this woman had been the most absolute thing he had known in his life. Every missed opportunity to give back to the one who had given him everything. Every time he had hugged her. Every time he had yelled at her in anger.” This is kind of a mix between backstory and inner monologue and a few pieces of action. Instead, you could make it all action by saying, “He remembered when he was sixteen and he broke his leg playing football and she came to the hospital room and hugged him tight and he felt like a child again, safe in her arms….” Of course, there’s still some inner monologue there (any time you say “felt” and “remembered” but it’s still more specific.

      “He filled his suitcase with items he wouldn’t need, forgetting basics like shampoo and shaving cream.” It’s hard to be too specific in 15 minutes, but for next time, what items did he put in? And rather than telling us he forgot basics, just show us he forgot his toothbrush and shampoo and shaving cream. To really show, you have to trust the reader is going to get it.

      Does all that make sense? Questions? Disagreements?

      Reply
      • Jeremy Statton

        You are right and it does help.

        This is a difficult habit to train myself out of.

        Reply
      • Rob Johnson

        Thank you so much for posting this. I’m in the middle of my second rewrite and I’ve been struggling with this daily. Not only did I join your mailing list but I’m going to bookmark this page so I can come back and reread it when I have trouble.

        Thanks also to Jeremy who was the first brave soul to post his practice paragraph.

        Reply
    • Rob Johnson

      Good job, I read your story before I started writing my own and then almost named one of the characters Jeremy!

      Anyway, I also struggle with showing versus telling. One thing that I’ve been doing is trying to imagine it in my head and then pull out details from the scene and describe them.

      I’m also reading authors whose prose I admire and and copying paragraphs down which have devices that I like.

      Good luck!

      Reply
        • Spiderob

          Sorry, I thought it would tell me when someone replied.

          My favourite authors are a little unusual in that they come from a wide varied genres but I really like Brent Weeks, Diana Gabaldon, Yoshikawa Eiji and Orson Scott Card.

          But my absolute favourite is Frank Herbert. Half of his books are lessons in everything from politics to human nature but the man could and make up profound sayings that will make you think he must be copying from Solomon or something.

          If you have time read Dune. I’ll never forget it. And stay away from David Lynch’s abomination of a movie.

          Reply
  14. alba 17

    You are so right that detail makes things longer. I have trouble figuring out how much detail to put in. Anyway, here’s my 15 min. writing.

    They took the long way. Sam didn’t even bother calculating how many days it was going to take because he didn’t want to know. The longer the better; he wasn’t looking forward to what he had to do once they got to L.A.

    Perry pressed him on that point, but apparently he didn’t care that much either. He relented as soon as they pulled the Rabbit out onto the highway and opened the first bag of Cheetos. Sam was prepared for the piles of crap that would accumulate on the road. Perry’s fingers were already covered in greasy orange dust. Sam tried not to think about it smearing on his bare skin, leaving trails of neon on his abdomen.

    L.A. – he hadn’t been back in years. Perry had never been. Sam’s parents had quizzed him on what “his roommate” liked to eat for breakfast, what kind of drinks he liked. He didn’t think he could tell them Perry’s favorite drink was a lime jello shot slurped out of Sam’s bellybutton.

    He’d tried to tell them so many times, but at the last minute he’d always balked. He didn’t really know why. He just couldn’t get the words out of his mouth. He could see the stunned look on his parents’ faces, the drag of disappointment in their eyes. Their only son wasn’t going to give them a new generation of Lowensteins.

    “Is the Grand Canyon on the way?” Perry asked, struggling with the map and chewing cinnamon gum. Sam hated that cinnamon gum. He wasn’t kissing Perry until he got rid of it.

    “If you want it to be,” he replied.

    “Yeah. I want to see it. I want to go to the Four Corners and put my hands and feet in four states at once.”

    Sam snickered. “Sounds good. Figure out the route. Feel feel to take the scenic one.”

    “Sam, it’s going to be fine. Your parents live in L.A., for god’s sake, they’re not exactly Bible Belt fanatics.”

    “You don’t know them. They’re lining up nice Jewish girls for me to meet even as we speak. And it’s Orange County. Not exactly the same as L.A.”

    Perry ruffled his hair, a hand lingering on his bare neck. It felt good. He was suddenly glad they were taking the long route. More time alone with Perry. Perry’s schedule had been crazy the last few months. “I’m planning my charm offensive right now. They won’t know what hit them. They’ll be calling adoption agencies for us before the week is out.” Perry tried to reassure him.

    If anyone could charm his parents, it was Perry, Sam had to give him that.

    Sam dragged his eyes from the road to look at Perry. “I hope so. You certainly charmed me when we first met.”

    Reply
    • alba 17

      Oh man. Reading this over, I see so much “tell.” I might rewrite it.

      Reply
    • Mhvest

      There’s a good amount of showing here, and enough of the important details (the slurpee, the gum, the cheetos etc.) with each of them having a reason for being there. I think it’s very clear and fairly subtle.

      Reply
      • alba 17

        Thanks for the feedback. It’s good to know! I do see some sentences that I think I can cut out.

        Reply
  15. alba 17

    You are so right that detail makes things longer. I have trouble figuring out how much detail to put in. Anyway, here’s my 15 min. writing.

    They took the long way. Sam didn’t even bother calculating how many days it was going to take because he didn’t want to know. The longer the better; he wasn’t looking forward to what he had to do once they got to L.A.

    Perry pressed him on that point, but apparently he didn’t care that much either. He relented as soon as they pulled the Rabbit out onto the highway and opened the first bag of Cheetos. Sam was prepared for the piles of crap that would accumulate on the road. Perry’s fingers were already covered in greasy orange dust. Sam tried not to think about it smearing on his bare skin, leaving trails of neon on his abdomen.

    L.A. – he hadn’t been back in years. Perry had never been. Sam’s parents had quizzed him on what “his roommate” liked to eat for breakfast, what kind of drinks he liked. He didn’t think he could tell them Perry’s favorite drink was a lime jello shot slurped out of Sam’s bellybutton.

    He’d tried to tell them so many times, but at the last minute he’d always balked. He didn’t really know why. He just couldn’t get the words out of his mouth. He could see the stunned look on his parents’ faces, the drag of disappointment in their eyes. Their only son wasn’t going to give them a new generation of Lowensteins.

    “Is the Grand Canyon on the way?” Perry asked, struggling with the map and chewing cinnamon gum. Sam hated that cinnamon gum. He wasn’t kissing Perry until he got rid of it.

    “If you want it to be,” he replied.

    “Yeah. I want to see it. I want to go to the Four Corners and put my hands and feet in four states at once.”

    Sam snickered. “Sounds good. Figure out the route. Feel feel to take the scenic one.”

    “Sam, it’s going to be fine. Your parents live in L.A., for god’s sake, they’re not exactly Bible Belt fanatics.”

    “You don’t know them. They’re lining up nice Jewish girls for me to meet even as we speak. And it’s Orange County. Not exactly the same as L.A.”

    Perry ruffled his hair, a hand lingering on his bare neck. It felt good. He was suddenly glad they were taking the long route. More time alone with Perry. Perry’s schedule had been crazy the last few months. “I’m planning my charm offensive right now. They won’t know what hit them. They’ll be calling adoption agencies for us before the week is out.” Perry tried to reassure him.

    If anyone could charm his parents, it was Perry, Sam had to give him that.

    Sam dragged his eyes from the road to look at Perry. “I hope so. You certainly charmed me when we first met.”

    Reply
  16. Rob Johnson

    “Why are we going to visit them again?” Mary asked for the third time in an hour.

    “You know why.” He said. “And please stop pestering me about it. You know I don’t like it when you harass me about my parents.”

    “Bobby, they aren’t even really your parents, for God’s sake! Why do you have to bow and cater to their every whim?”

    “I would think that you would know by now exactly why.” He said. “And after everything they did for you, despite your situation I would think that you would be a little more grateful.”

    Bobby pulled the car into a gas station and got out slamming the door harder than necessary.

    Maybe I pushed it too far, she thought. But I’m tired of coming all the way out here every time his “mother” has an episode.

    Bobby got back in the car, not looking any happier than when he left.

    “Look Bobby, I’m sorry that I brought it up more than once but I’m the one that suffers when we go there. They may have accepted me as you say but that doesn’t mean that they don’t make their opinions known.”

    “Fair enough.” He said and started the engine. “But don’t forget it’s only been two months since we checked mom out of the institution.”

    “Please stop calling her mom!” She shouted before she could stop herself.
    “Why should I?” He shouted back.

    “Because, you were eighteen when you moved in!” She said. “It’s weird!”

    Bobby looked down deep in thought and then nodded to himself seeming to make a decision. “I don’t care. It’s call them my parents or never know what it’s like to have them. What would you prefer?”

    The bitterness in his voice was obvious and Mary knew that the answer she gave would determine what would happen between them forever.

    “How’s your dad taking it?” She said.

    The crease in his brow vanished and his shoulders relaxed. “Like he usually does, with a carton of wine.”

    Reply
  17. Nics Cahill

    Joe this is a great prompt, thank you for it and how you encourage me. Nervously I am letting go of my little story based on this prompt.

    They went to Los Angelos to meet his parents

    The light faded as the Chevy moved through the desert. Chewing on her nails, she watched Jesse from the corner of her eye. Several times she had opened her mouth to speak but had closed it without making a sound – words where far away.
    ‘I love you’ Jesse said, glancing at her for a moment, before returning his eyes to the road.
    She turned to face him.
    ‘I love you’ he said again.
    Tears fell down her face. He stopped the Chevy, gravel crunched under his feet as he walked round to open her door. Lifting her out of the truck he cradled her in his arms.
    ‘She’s gone, sweetheart,’ he murmured as he rocked her, ‘Mama’s gone’.
    ‘Where Daddy? Where has she gone?’ her little voice whispered against his cheek.
    ‘Heaven baby, Mama is in heaven’ Jack answered.
    ‘I miss her Daddy.’
    ‘So do I.’ he said
    ‘Can Mama see stars in heaven, Daddy?’ she asked looking up to the sky
    ‘I don’t know baby.’ He said, as he looked up into the vast blackness that was twinkling with light
    ‘I think Mama can see the stars Daddy.’
    ‘I hope she can, baby. Mama loved stars and she knew their names.’ Jesse said .
    ‘Will you teach me the names of the stars Daddy?’
    ‘I will.’ Setting her down on the ground, he pointed out the North Star and said that was the one they were following to the ocean.
    ‘Why are we going to the Ocean Daddy?’
    ‘I’m taking you home baby, to where I grew up with Gramps and Granna on Leo Carrillo State Beach.’

    Reply
  18. Catherine Wrigley

    Jim had never been to the west coast before. The flight was interminable and the coach seats were claustrophobic. He hadn’t been sure wat he could bring through security, so he hadn’t packed any food, and then he balked at the prices in the airport. Now he was left picking at some rubbery chicken in a gelatinous gravy. If it had been in a foil tray with a little cherry pie baked right into the corner at least he could be nostalgic instead of repulsed.

    He twisted the platinum band on his left hand. It was still a foreign body. He would catch a glimpse of in from the corner of his eye, distracting him from everything else.

    The Sierra Nevada hung below his window. There was nothing on the east coast to compare to this unbroken, vast, and jagged depth. They reminded him of the drawings of the deep sea trenches in his childhood atlas. Those pages were terrifying, the unknown lurking in those gashes on the page.

    He felt a warm hand cover his tense knuckles on the armrest, over the ring cutting into his skin.

    “They’re gonna love you, you know.”

    “But we didn’t invite them to the wedding.”

    “We pretty much didn’t invite anyone to the wedding. It would have been too much for them to fly to New York. We’ll have a party or something when we get there.”

    “You know why I’m…”

    “I know. It’s going to be fine, hon. I promise.” Earl took his hand in both of his own and squeezed. Jim could feel the rings scrape lightly against each other and hoped Earl was right.

    Reply
  19. Hal

    Seamus and Jodi sat in silence in the hybrid, listening to the music throbbing mutedly through the small but technically marvelous speakers Seamus had had installed before the trip. He had wanted to make sure the speakers were perfect for their twenty hour drive down Highway 101 to Los Angeles. It was his car – his first new car ever. 

    He had purchased a brand new hybrid in order to make sure he was being as environmentally friendly as possible. He wanted to make sure that his greenhouse emissions would be minimal. He liked the sun and warm weather, but didn’t want to be responsible for burning the planet up. However, the stereo had not been up to his level of quality. But that was an easy enough fix. It seemed that with enough money, everything was easy to fix.

    Jodi stared out of the passenger window, watching the ocean fly by in one postcard moment after another. This was the first time she had ever been down highway 101, and it was nothing less than amazing. She thought back to what she knew about it. Not much, she realized with distaste. It was kind of her ‘thing’ to know a little something about everything. She thought it had  been built during the depression, a government program to keep people working.

    “So, what do you know about this road?” she asked, cocking her head to emphasize the question.

    “What do you mean?”

    “Well, it’s beautiful, right? But, like, why was it built? Why here, when… you know, all that stuff.”

    “Oh. Hmm, let me think.” Seamus bit his lower lip, his brow furrowed in thought. On the radio, R.E.M.’s ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it (And I feel fine)’ came on. All thought processes stopped and, both Jodi and Seamus smiling broadly, they started to sing the words. “That’s great it starts with an earth-quake, birds and snakes and aeroplanes, Lenny Bruce is not okay…”

    Reply
  20. Priscilla Parra

    “Daddy, look!” Mia said enthusiastically, making Adrian wake up from his sleep, taking his attention outside the airplane window where he could see the clouds being painted in beautiful colors, as if taken out of a movie, “they look like cotton candy! Can we go to the fair with grandpa and grandma?” she said with wide, attentive eyes. “Of course sweetie, but we have to get off the airplane first,” Adrian giggled while trying to fix his daughters’ hair which seemed like it had not been brushed in days.

    Once they arrived at the Los Angeles airport, he took her hand and did not let her go at all. The last time he had been here was almost eight years ago, and it was as chaotic as always. People seemed to swim along a current; you had no time to look back, unless you wanted to be trapped in between. After Mia was born, Adrian had moved with his wife to San Diego, seeking a new start together. He suddenly began remembering the many adventures he had with the love of his life in what seemed now a different world. He realized her face was beginning to look blurry in his memories, and pain struck his chest. He could not forget her, not now. Not ever.

    “Daddy, how does grandma look? Does she have curly hair like us?” Mia interrupted his thoughts, and it seemed like all she did lately was ask questions. At least this kept him distracted. “Yes, but her hair is lighter and longer than ours.” She looked at him, concerned, and said, “Is she mean?” Adrian giggled, looked at her closely, and replied, “She is the sweetest woman in this word, and she will be very happy to finally hold you in her arms.”

    When they arrived at the hospital, Adrian began to feel a warmth that began in his chest and spread to his head. He wiped his forehead and noticed how cooler it felt inside the building. “Uh, excuse me, ma’am. I’m here to visit my mother, Katherine Franco,” he managed to tell the receptionist. He licked his lips and noticed how dry they were. “Please, sit down and I will call your name in a minute,” she said with a comforting smile.

    They sat, waiting for what seemed like an eternity. His leg was shaking so hard it seemed like it was about to detach from his body. He looked at Mia, playing with the toys that were laying on the floor, as if resting from the long games they had been part of today. Looking at her, he could not help but notice how much she looked like her mother. Her blushed, chubby cheeks and her long, curly eyelashes reminded him of the woman that stole his heart. He shook off that thought; it wasn’t the place or the moment. Mia needed him, and he did not have time to be weak. They needed each other. His mother needed both of them.

    Once the nurse showed them the way to the room, he paused before opening the door, glancing at the flowers he had bought on his way to the hospital and admiring their beauty. He wished he could have bought a card too, but he did not find one that said enough words to describe how he felt at this moment. Mia wrapped her arms around his hips. He put his arm around her, and after a moment, he took her by the hand. “I’m ready,” he said while he opened the door and stepped inside.

    Reply
    • Juliet

      Wasn’t very descriptive, and some parts didn’t really make sense but it definitely has a lot of imagery

      Reply
    • Trinity

      I didn’t understand what was happening with the grandmother in the story and was upset about the mother dying but the description of the little girl was perfect and of outside the plane window.

      Reply
  21. peter

    I think you are trying to say something to the effect: drop the authorial authority and replace it with interiority and mush. This s d t rule seems to end in something samey, tedious and, worst, celebratory-of-the-human-condition (American version). No wonder there are so many near-identical novels turning up.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Not really, although I’m not sure what interiority and mush is. Or what authorial authority is, to be honest. Perhaps you could clarify.

      Reply
  22. Emily

    Funny though no one in the Shiro Clan ever got arrested. Then, again, his
    stay in this Yakuza clan was actually quite different from his stay
    in others. The Shiro Clan’s fierce front was just a facade since
    underneath all of that the people recruited actually cared about the
    strangers brought in.

    When Rune was recruited into the Shiro Clan he expected nothing much less
    from the other clans. More drug dealing and hearing sex sounds.
    However, he was wrong. He saw a lot men and women but nothing illegal
    going on. What he saw was karate training, kendo training, and muay
    thai training.

    When he explored deeper into the headquarters with his guards by his side
    which actually made him look like a Yakuza boss, he was shocked to
    see rehabilitation centers and women counseling others and telling
    them about their past.

    In reality, the Shiro Clan was nothing like what the other clans
    described it. The most feared, powerful, and dreaded clan that
    brought billions into the economy (Master Shiro actually gives a
    portion of the money to the community that Mei lives in, mind you)
    was actually an organization aimed at tearing down the Yakuza once
    and for all.

    Reply
  23. Katherine Hayward

    I have just written my first novel and found your blog yesterday as some of my proofreaders advised me to ” show, not tell”. I have done my best in these paragraphs but I am still not sure if it is ok, and where I need to improve. My book is a fantasy book. Is this rule still applicable for fantasy novels? Here’s my attempt at “show not tell”.

    The flight to LA, where his parents lived, was due to leave JFK at 10:15, and it was now 10:00 am.
    “Run” she said, her red high heels clicking on the tiled floor and he rushed to keep up, dragging his brown suitcase and her red Samsnite one behind him towards the check – in desk, where a bolond- haired lady in an American Airlines unifrm was waiting to checjk their passports, check their bags in and give them their boarding passes.
    “Where are you flying to today sir?” she asked him
    “LA” he replied , smiling at her as she checked their passports and put their suticases on the conveyor belt.She handed him their boarding pases and they were done.
    “Have a great trip” she said.
    “Thanks” they replied, and turned to leave the check – in area .
    After they had checked in, they went through Security and finally reached the departure lounge.
    James wiped his brow and sat doen heavily . Tanya sat down next to him and pulled a People magazine out of the bag she was using as handluggage. She browsed through the pages until their flight was called.
    “American Airlines flight 278 to Los Angeles now boarding” said the disembodied voice over the loudspeaker.
    Tanya closed the magazine and stood up, smoothing her cream linen skirt down . She had made a good choic teaming it with a light peach chiffin blouse she thought.
    “LA here we come!” said James as he walked slightly in front of her, his beige shorts and blue and red short sleeved shirt the most comfortable thing he could find for the flight. He had white Nike trainers on his feet.

    As they settled into their seats on the plane , he signalled to the air hostess, who bought them Cokes.
    “Ah, this is the life” he said , and the ice in his cup rattled as he lifted it to take a drink. Tanya put the seat back and said “I’m just going to have a nap”. She closed her eyes –
    Before long, the plane landed in LAX, and whem it came to a complete stop, the heat hit them . It was so much warmer here than in New York.
    Tania loved the sun, and pulled her sunglasses out of her cream Chanel tote bag and put them on . They were large round Jacki O’s.
    They descended the steps to the tarmac and walked across it with the other passengers toward the Terminal building where they were soon lost in the crowd of excited travellers.
    Fifteen minutes later they emerged into the Arrivals area, where James’ parents, Tim, a grey – haired man and Jill, a lady with dyed blonde hair were waiting.
    “Welcome to LA!” they said , and hugged them both, before James and his dad took the suitcases, and led Tania and Jill out towards the car, a silver Buick waitingin the airport car park with the sun glinting off its windows. Tim, always the gentleman, held the back door of the car open for Tanya and James. They slid into the backseat and Jill and Tim got into the front. As Tim drove the car away from the airport, Tanya glanced out of the window at the palm trees and white and cream houses with red tile roofs and lush front gardens and smiled. She felt so happy to be somewhere sunny and really needed a break from the daily grind of working in New York.
    Just then, Jill looked up at Tanya and met her eyes in the mirror on the back of the car’s built – in sunshield as she finidhed checking her makeup .
    “LA is a great city” she said. “Tim and I love it since we moved here a couple of years ago ‘ we have a feeling you’ll love it.
    I have a feeling we will” thought Tanya, as James reached across from his place on the seat next to her, took her neatly manicured hand in his and kissed it.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Hi Katherine! So glad you found us. Congratulations on your novel. If you need a good guide for editing, check out this post: http://positivewriter.com/how-to-edit-your-book-until-its-finished/

      “Show don’t tell” is certainly more important for literary fiction than genre fiction like fantasy, but if you read really good writers like George RR Martin you’ll see they do very little telling. Still, I think we overuse the saying “show don’t tell.” It’s all about creating drama right? What “telling” usually does is that it removes all the drama, but if you can tell without oversharing, you should be fine. And after all, often showing ruins the story as much or more than telling!

      But I thought your practice here was great. I don’t see any telling at all. Hope that helps!

      Reply
      • Katherine Hayward

        Thank you! I have no previous experience of writing a novel. Would you mind proof reading for me? I sometimes get the impression that maybe the proofreaders were reading my manuscript whilst thinking of books they like to read themselves and comparing it to them.

        Reply
    • Rachel

      Hi Katherine – no idea if you’ll see this, but here’s my two cents. I agree with Joe that there’s little or no telling in your piece (except the sentence about Tanya
      feeling happy it was sunny and needing a break), but I think if anything there’s
      too much showing and too much detail you don’t need. In particular, nothing
      much happens during check-in or on the flight, so the drawn-out descriptions
      feel unnecessary. I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve had a go at editing it, which
      includes cutting it an awful lot (maybe too much). What do you think?

      The flight to LA was due to leave JFK at 10:15, and it was now 10am.

      ‘Run,’ she said, her red high heels clicking on the tiled floor, and he rushed to keep up, dragging the suitcases.

      Once they’d checked in at the American Airlines desk, they hurried through Security. James sat down heavily in the departure lounge and wiped his brow. Tanya flicked through People magazine until their flight was called.

      ***

      The heat hit them as they left the plane. Tanya put on her Jackie O sunglasses as they crossed the tarmac towards arrivals.

      ‘Welcome to LA!’ James’s parents greeted them as they emerged from the crowd.

      The Buick gleamed in the airport car park. Tim put the suitcases in the boot and held the back door open for them. As the car pulled away, Tanya glanced out of the window at the palm trees and cream houses with red tile roofs and lush front
      gardens, and smiled. It beat the daily grind of New York hands down.

      ‘LA is a great place,’ said Jill. ‘I know you’ll love it.’

      Tanya grinned at James. I’m sure we will, she thought, as he picked up her hand and kissed it.

      Reply
  24. Maryann

    The BEST advice I have found so far! THANK YOU!!

    Reply
  25. Jamiel Cotman

    James and Sicily flew to L.A. to meet James’s parents.

    Having caught an early flight, they arrived at the beach house a few hours before scheduled.

    “Ugh. You won’t believe how tired I am.” yawned James. “Ma will just have to wait if she wants to talk.” he continues.

    “James look!” says Sicily, “The lights are on this early in the morning?”

    Seeing silhouettes of two people through the windows, both James and Sicily stared at each other realizing it appeared to be James’s parents, hugging, kissing or actually having sex.

    As James uses his key to walk in, he realizes that his dad was merely helping his mother reach a set of keys hidden above the chandelier. They wanted to be sure James and Sicily could get into the mini house where they would be staying.

    It was a comical sigh of relief!

    Reply
  26. Miley Anderson

    well hi Joe! umm i had some difficulties in writing shortshow not tells. Think you can help me?

    Reply
    • Miley Anderson

      I mean I have some difficulites in writing it 😛

      Reply
  27. jimmyMCPuffin

    Tanya and James flew to New York city in a 747. They got their suite cases, took a taxi to their apartment, and checked into their rooms. “I can’t wait to see the theater,” Tanya said. “You’re going to love it very mucc.” James shook his head. “I don’t get it. It’s about dogs and lizards who sing and dance? Sounds sorta awesome.” Tanya smiled, “Just trust me.”

    Their hotel was just a few blocks from the lines Theater so they drove. He had always seen buildings so tall or so many people walking on the road. When they got to the show, Tanya noticed his eyes were a little biger, his mouth a little slacker. The foyer was covered in black and white marble, with trillions of people milling around in gowns and beautiful clothes. He didn’t talk much. Finally, they took their seats, and the lights went dark. He took her hand.

    Reply
  28. MR.superfunky

    Joe and Sammy went to los santo and checked in to the hotel after Joe said Are you ready to go see the incredible hulk Sammy said i dont want to see the incredible hulk sing and dance Joe said where seeing it because i bought a hulk tee shirt they went to the theater a saw hulk dance Sammy said hulk stinks but then hulk took their Suv right next to the hotel and chucked it right in to los santos customs car shop.

    Reply
  29. SpiltRadiation

    Tanya and James flew to New York city in a Boeing 747. They got their bags, and took a taxi to their hotel, and checked into their rooms. “I can’t wait to see the show,” Tanya said. “You’re going to love it.” James shook his head. “I don’t get it. It’s about Cats who sing and dance? Sounds sorta dumb.” Tanya smiled, “Just trust me.”

    Their hotel was just a few blocks from the Foxwoods Theater so they walked. He had never seen buildings so tall or so many people walking on the street. When they got to the theater, Tanya noticed his eyes were a little wider, his mouth a little slacker. The foyer was covered in gold and white marble, with hundreds of people milling around in gowns and beautiful suits. He didn’t talk much. Finally, they took their seats, and the lights went down. He took her hand.

    Reply
  30. LobsterSquid

    They went to the bright loud city of Los Angeles where there were thousands of people.
    Then they went to the most expensive hotel there with a blue green underground swimming pool and long chairs all over. They found a restaurant because they were starving since they haven’t eaten in 7 hours. After a long day of walking and eating they went home to go to sleep in there yellow cotton beds. In the morning they went swimming in the blue green underground pool, after they went to see a play and the play was Peter Pan. They had lots of fun and went home watched T.V. for a few hours. The next day they went swimming for five hours than went to there cousins house. They found out that there house was haunted by a spirit and ran out of the house. “Were never going back there again!” “definitely not going back there”. They went back to there hotel and went to bed because in the morning they had to leave “well this vacation was fun” “yeah lets come back somtime” in the morning they went home to there blue house. Hope you enjoyed!

    Reply
  31. Wong One

    Show not tell advice on this blog site is quite good. The stories though, are crap. The author’s name is Dong Grapper, and he gives great writing advice (I attended one of his workshops in Dungshire, Maine) but then you read his prose and think, this guy is an idiot!

    http://lewdandfunnystories.blogspot.it/2014/11/show-dont-tell.html

    Reply
  32. Wong One

    took her out to the athletic department parking lot right up the street and as soon as we were in my car, she was all over my cock. I had been hard since I’d seen her in front of the bookstore and had been waiting for this blowjob all day long. When we came to a stop light, and I looked down to see my dickhead bulging out of her check like a stash of nuts in a chipmunk’s mouth, I thought I was gonna blow my wad right then and there.
    “Jesus! You sure can suck dick!” I told her as my free hand ran across her tits.
    We were approaching a fraternity house that was nice enough to invite me to all their parties and once even gave me free access to their “E-Z Fucks” list. I thought I would make a show of camaraderie, so I pressed the button that opened the sunroof.
    “Okay now honey, I know you’re already doing me a big favor, but would you mind reaching down with your right hand and pressing on the gas pedal for just a few minutes?”
    She gurgled her assent.
    I grabbed on to the edges of the sunroof and pulled myself up so my torso was sticking up out of the sunroof. She was still blowing me, and that could be seen clearly through the windshield and the driver’s side window.
    The sound of Led Zeppelin got louder and louder as my car buzzed towards my favorite frat house. I saw all the guys out on the lawn, playing catch with a football and posing for all the chicks.
    Just as we passed the frat house, I raised my arms like I always do when I cross the line in the 100 yard dash and let out a big yell.
    “Yeah!!!” I yelled as we zoomed by the frat house.
    When I heard all the guys yell “ALL RIGHT JOHNSON!!!” simultaneously, I shot my wad deep into her throat. Apparently this shocked her greatly because she suddenly pressed hard on the accelerator, and we drove right into the Education building, plowing through a women’s studies class that was watching a docudrama about a high school gym teacher who idolized Ted Bundy.
    Three lesbians were killed instantly when my car crushed them at high speed. The babe’s head went through the windshield and my dick went with it. She survived and so did my dong.
    We were charged with reckless behavior, endangering the safety of a university official and negligent disruption of the learning environment under the student conduct code. We were found guilty by a tribunal of pre-law students and assorted professors picking up extra cash and fined over $100.
    My track coach paid my fine. She had to pay her own, so she sucked off some Physics teacher who gave her a B minus in his class and used his position on the conduct tribunal to get the charges against her dropped. I saw her at the disco bar a few times after the trial, and each time I ignored her on purpose.

    Reply
  33. JoshHB

    The dirt of the barren scrublands flailed wildly into the air, as a thousand horsemen thundered towards the Human capital of Helipa, a mighty sandstone fortress with foreboding ramparts aged with crumbling walls from battles long forgotten. The Eastern campaign had been raging well into its fifteenth year by now, helmed by Magnus VII, Eminance of the Third Wotonian Empire, an ageing Wotonian of around 400, tall in stature with distinctive features and a crooked nose, and a neatly flowing silver beard, though he still retained much youth in his face. Ever since King Sargus the Mighty perished after a fever leaving the Western Human Empire to his twin sons, Destar and Malastar, a brutal civil war between the twins had fractured the Empire in twain. This had allowed Magnus to conquer swaths of land in the name of Wotonia with relative ease, picking at the carcass of the dying nation. He had reached the capital by the end of Quintae, pitting his Second Legion along a huge trench network built around the capital, surrounding Destar, the boy king of the Empire. Magnus was standing, shaded by the tents around him from the relentless sun, discussing tactics with his key generals when the order came to attack the fortress. The gates had been opened by guards to throw the starving out to die as food had become scarce. The roar of the horns flared through the sky as the charge began, men on horseback and foot soldiers in phalanx alike bolted directly on the capital gates to dispose of the limited resistance sent in a futile attempt to hold the city. City guards were cut down in their stride, jets of sanguine splayed in all directions, gargled bloody breaths frothing from the mouths of those mortally wounded and being lapped up by the parched mud. The gates had been breached and a torrent of warriors flooded into the streets and alleyways. One of the legions generals, Wotillus Sextus, a close personal friend of the Eminance and decorated war hero, turned to Magnus “your orders, Magnus?. The city will soon be ours but something interests you more, what is it?” he exclaimed, voicing himself over the ruckus. “Find the boy” he sharply declared. The general summoned a contingent of the legion to follow, as he rode down the central plaza to the palace courtyard. The majority of the city was captured within hours, most of the misfit garrison were low born peasants who had never handled blade in their lives, so lowered them at the sight of an armour clad sea flowing down the streets. A huge wooden door climbed to the sky, the only obstacle standing between the Eminance and the success of fifteen years of gruesome conquest. In place of siege weapons, columns from besieged buildings were carried as rams by soldier. Thrust bluntly at the doors a few well done attempts had snapped the rusted locks and the doors flew open with tremendous force, splintering and cracking to the floor. Magnus approached the waterfall in the palatial gardens, closely followed by a well formatted line of legionnaires, Destar, the boy ‘king’ appeared to have given up, his personal guard laying down arms at their foes feet. He approached the Eminance and paused. Magnus stared him intensely, with a gaze that could cut steel. Magnus calmly, sternly spoke “Have you any last free words?” to his surprise, Destar remarked aggressively “I am no slave, nor will i ever be” before lunging for the Eminances broadsword, affixed to the left of his belt. Two praetorians of Magnus’ honour bound Sixth Legion restrained him, breaking both arms in the process and forcing him to his knees. An attempt on the life of an Eminance was paramount to treason. Unsheathing a long sharpened spatha for the scabbard of one of the Praetorians, coldly uttering “By the mercy of Wotus, i take your life” Magnus swung the sword horizontally, decapitating the king, his body slumped to the ground gushing blood into crevices on the plaza cobbles. The city stood silent, the Legion stood silent, even the air ceased to move. Magnus was not a cruel man, infact regarded by most as the greatest leader of recent history, a natural conqueror, scholar and diplomat. A relief to the Wotonian populous considering his ancestors marred past. A raucous cheer darted across the plaza, followed swiftly by others in a stirringly harmonious chorus, the Eminance’s name chanted from every available space. Legionnaires took the kings body and several others from the ruins of the town to the ramparts, pinning them to rot as a warning to others who sought to prosper from the spoils of war. Others such as the likes of the newly founded ‘Righteous Human Empire’ just east of the capital. Their presence had been well noted by the Imperial army, and many a skirmish in the past has caused chasmic animosity between the two factions.

    any thoughts on my first page? does it flow well?

    Reply
  34. JoshHB

    The dirt of the barren scrublands flailed wildly into the air, as a thousand horsemen thundered towards the Human capital of Helipa, a mighty sandstone fortress with foreboding ramparts aged with crumbling walls from battles long forgotten. The Eastern campaign had been raging well into its fifteenth year by now, helmed by Magnus VII, Eminance of the Third Wotonian Empire, an ageing Wotonian of around 400, tall in stature with distinctive features and a crooked nose, and a neatly flowing silver beard, though he still retained much youth in his face. Ever since King Sargus the Mighty perished after a fever leaving the Western Human Empire to his twin sons, Destar and Malastar, a brutal civil war between the twins had fractured the Empire in twain. This had allowed Magnus to conquer swaths of land in the name of Wotonia with relative ease, picking at the carcass of the dying nation. He had reached the capital by the end of Quintae, pitting his Second Legion along a huge trench network built around the capital, surrounding Destar, the boy king of the Empire. Magnus was standing, shaded by the tents around him from the relentless sun, discussing tactics with his key generals when the order came to attack the fortress. The gates had been opened by guards to throw the starving out to die as food had become scarce. The roar of the horns flared through the sky as the charge began, men on horseback and foot soldiers in phalanx alike bolted directly on the capital gates to dispose of the limited resistance sent in a futile attempt to hold the city. City guards were cut down in their stride, jets of sanguine splayed in all directions, gargled bloody breaths frothing from the mouths of those mortally wounded and being lapped up by the parched mud. The gates had been breached and a torrent of warriors flooded into the streets and alleyways. One of the legions generals, Wotillus Sextus, a close personal friend of the Eminance and decorated war hero, turned to Magnus “your orders, Magnus?. The city will soon be ours but something interests you more, what is it?” he exclaimed, voicing himself over the ruckus. “Find the boy” he sharply declared. The general summoned a contingent of the legion to follow, as he rode down the central plaza to the palace courtyard. The majority of the city was captured within hours, most of the misfit garrison were low born peasants who had never handled blade in their lives, so lowered them at the sight of an armour clad sea flowing down the streets. A huge wooden door climbed to the sky, the only obstacle standing between the Eminance and the success of fifteen years of gruesome conquest. In place of siege weapons, columns from besieged buildings were carried as rams by soldier. Thrust bluntly at the doors a few well done attempts had snapped the rusted locks and the doors flew open with tremendous force, splintering and cracking to the floor. Magnus approached the waterfall in the palatial gardens, closely followed by a well formatted line of legionnaires, Destar, the boy ‘king’ appeared to have given up, his personal guard laying down arms at their foes feet. He approached the Eminance and paused. Magnus stared him intensely, with a gaze that could cut steel. Magnus calmly, sternly spoke “Have you any last free words?” to his surprise, Destar remarked aggressively “I am no slave, nor will i ever be” before lunging for the Eminances broadsword, affixed to the left of his belt. Two praetorians of Magnus’ honour bound Sixth Legion restrained him, breaking both arms in the process and forcing him to his knees. An attempt on the life of an Eminance was paramount to treason. Unsheathing a long sharpened spatha for the scabbard of one of the Praetorians, coldly uttering “By the mercy of Wotus, i take your life” Magnus swung the sword horizontally, decapitating the king, his body slumped to the ground gushing blood into crevices on the plaza cobbles. The city stood silent, the Legion stood silent, even the air ceased to move. Magnus was not a cruel man, infact regarded by most as the greatest leader of recent history, a natural conqueror, scholar and diplomat. A relief to the Wotonian populous considering his ancestors marred past. A raucous cheer darted across the plaza, followed swiftly by others in a stirringly harmonious chorus, the Eminance’s name chanted from every available space. Legionnaires took the kings body and several others from the ruins of the town to the ramparts, pinning them to rot as a warning to others who sought to prosper from the spoils of war. Others such as the likes of the newly founded ‘Righteous Human Empire’ just east of the capital. Their presence had been well noted by the Imperial army, and many a skirmish in the past has caused chasmic animosity between the two factions.

    any thoughts on my first page?

    Reply
  35. Ilkka

    Great story. Funny thing though: my browser showed me just a portion of Becky’s and Carl’s discussion. It ended with the paragraph that concludes “..you were trying to get enough money to finish school. Just go with that for now”.

    I thought this subtle hint was a perfect way to end the story. Could have been written by Raymond Carver. Then I realized there was more. And, having been attracted to that Carveresque room-for-your-own-imagination, that real ending was just baggage. The wonderful mystery diluted.

    Reply
  36. Angelisha-Lei Cheng

    Here is the draft essay what I recently wrote for my English class. Let’s hope I did a good job. I’ll be much appreciated to hear your feedback here. Thank you!

    I woke up in the day where I heard my mom cried with the
    joyfulness. I wondered what she was crying about. I looked at another side
    where I’m lying on the bed, I realized I was at the hospital. I had hard time
    to breathe, my mom got scared and looking at me with the hopeful looking like
    she was about to burst her tears. The doctors immediately rushed to me, looked
    and checked my eyes as if I’m okay and they gave me CPR. Next few days, I woke
    up after a coma, my mom looked at me like I just woke up from death. The doctors
    talked to my mom, I wished I knew what they were talking about. I realized that
    I could not hear them. My mom cried in tears, the doctor were sad and patting
    on my mom’s back. I became so worried that I may would not last for longer.

    I’m concerned that I may obviously show what happened. I need your feedback, thanks!

    Reply
    • joeschmoe

      needs more dragons and koala bear ninjas in my opinion. Heres my version:

      A light suddenly flashed into my eyes and blinded me. I tried to jolt up but couldn’t move. I could hear a woman crying in the room. Where was I and who was she? I could barely breath and as I opened my eyes I could see doctors rushing toward me. I could feel myself regaining energy as my left arm slowly rose up. I punched one of the doctors in the face, and he reeled backwards, blood spurting into the air. I saw the figure collapsed to the floor and break into two. A pair of koala ninjas emerged from the blood soaked lab coat and lunged towards me. I pulled my gun out and started firing at them. Suddenly, and I kid you not, a fucking dragon burst into the room and killed everyone.

      Tanya looked unimpressed. “James, you could’ve just said you didn’t want to see Cats”

      Reply
  37. Jordan Oldham

    Aidan shoved her face into her favorite fluffy scarf and
    gripped the handle of her roller board just a little bit tighter. She hadn’t
    been able to settle her nerves since she dropped her favorite mug a few hours
    earlier. The blame was on Calum for that. Did he honestly think she wouldn’t
    freak out after “surprising” her with going to meet his parents? That is NOT
    something you spring on someone. After they’d cleaned up the mess and Aidan
    felt she’d burned his ears sufficiently Cal had done his best to make up for
    it. Needless to say, that was one helluva shower. Aidan sharply exhaled and
    shook her curls loose from the confines of her scarf in time to hand Calum her
    bag. He shot her a toothy smile that sent her thoughts back to their morning
    encounter. It took all her resolve not to jump him while he lifted her bag onto
    the airport bus. Aidan settled on
    pinching his ass and cackled as he tried to play off his high pitched squeal as
    a cough to the bus driver.

    “Didn’t your mum ever teach you to keep your hands to
    yourself?” Calum roughly whispered as he chased Aidan to the back of the tiny bus.
    He squished the giggly girl into him as the bus jerked forward. Calum was happy
    to finally see Aidan’s carefree smile and he silently swore to do whatever it
    took to keep it there. They held on to each other tightly, both of them
    soaking in the certainty and happiness of that moment.

    Reply
  38. Selena

    Noah was nervous. Sweat beaded on his forehead and traveled down the nape of his neck, cooling his skin to the point where he pulled on his sweater. A hand intertwined with his, and he glanced to the left to see soft baby blue eyes watching him closely.

    “Don’t worry,” Ryan murmured gently in his ear. “It’ll be fine.” Noah took a breath, but the stuffy air filling his lungs failed to soothe the nervous coil in his gut. The steady hum under his feet grew louder. Noah turned his gaze to the city below, the lights sparkling like stars in the darkness.

    The plane began to descend and Noah’s grip tightened. “What if they don’t approve?” Ryan grinned, leaning in close to rest his head on his companion’s. “They will,” he soothed. Noah’s heart continued to drum loudly in his chest. “But…”

    “But nothing. Your parents love you, no matter what gender you prefer.” Ryan’s tone was light, nearly teasing. Noah felt a rush of gratitude when he realized his boyfriend was trying to cheer him up.

    He ducked his head and nuzzled into Ryan’s side, smiling to himself when the blue-haired man chuckled. A low chime sprung from the speaker overhead, followed by a gruff voice coming over the P.A.

    “Welcome to Los Angeles. If I could ask you to buckle your seatbelts, we should be landing in about twenty minutes.”

    Noah swallowed hard.

    Reply
  39. Kat

    Rebecca’s fingers tapped against the seat of the plane. The ride was long and slow, and she was feeling more and more anxious as the seconds ticked by.
    James, her fiancé, sits beside her and laughs to himself. Watching his soon to be wife freak out about meeting his parents wasn’t only adorable–it was funny. Hilarious even.
    “Honey, you got to stop tapping your fingers,” he takes her hand and places it in his. “You’re agitating me and everyone else.” He nods at the lady sitting by the window and Rebecca turns a bright red. She hates being in between two people, she would much rather sit on the edge, but James already called that seat. Ever since he was hugged by some old man on their last flight, he didn’t want to sit in the middle anymore.

    “I’d rather be hugged by my fiancé, not by some old man,” he had told her when they got off and the old man had apologized.

    Rebecca smiles slightly. “I’m sorry, I can’t help it!” She grips his hand tight. “After all these years of being together, I finally get to meet your parents!” She lets out a sigh and shakes her head. “What if they don’t like me? What if they hate me and cancel the wedding?”
    James laughs loudly, earning a couple of dirty looks from the passengers. “Sorry,” he apologizes. He leans in to Rebecca’s ear and whispers, “They’re going to love you, but not as much as me.” He places a small, but sincere kiss on her cheek. “Don’t worry, babe, they’re great people.”
    She settles back in her chair and groan. “That’s not what I’m worried about! What if I’m not a great person?”
    “But you are,” he squeezes her hand. “Now rest, you have a long day ahead of you.”
    Rebecca nods and watches her future husband close his eyes. She wishes she could sleep peacefully like him. This trip to Los Angeles was going to be the death of her if she didn’t sleep, but she couldn’t help but stay up and think about everything that could go wrong. What if they don’t like her? What if his mom convinces James to leave her? As much as James loves her, he loves his mother more and whatever she says, he does it.
    “James,” Rebecca whispers to him, now feeling more worried than ever. “Don’t ever leave me please. No matter what.” She places a small kiss on the base of his jaw and smiles when he lets out a small sigh of relief. Almost as if he were having good and amazing dreams. Finally, Rebecca closes her eyes with the image of her being loved by James parents and eventually getting married to her wonderful man.

    Reply
  40. Jennifer Marshburn

    Historically, I’ve been a “teller” – to the point that I’m not even confident in my analysis. How does this play? (My piece is a little language heavy, but I didn’t want to lose anything. I hope no one will begrudge me the not-so-subtle censoring.)

    – A hundred words ran through Amanda’s mind. Words like *No bonuses this year* and *we may have to cut the interns* and *reallocate* and *layoffs* and *b~* and *NO! Go ahead; shoot the f~ing messenger!!!!*

    She sat down at her desk with her head in her hands. “D~mn it!!!” she yelled throwing the rest of her take-out across the room. It didn’t have the gumption of a tape dispenser, but she had a vague idea how much that window cost, and apparently, money was tight.

    Tears welled up, and she immediately wiped her eyes, breathed in the rest of the tears that were brimming, and looked up to see Melissa’s family smiling at her from her desktop. “F~ you!” she said to the image of her best friend, and felt sick. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean it. I… It’s just…”

    There was no way to excuse herself. What was she really crying about? A job. A stupid f~ing job, that had little, if any, impact on the relative state of the world. And here she was, so angry about that stupid f~ing job that she would curse her best friend and her family for not having to deal with it. No, they didn’t have to deal with this sh~. They were too busy living it up in the PICU with their infant daughter.

    “Hey,” Amanda said softly, as though she were the one surrounded by nurses and doctors and the infirm. “How’s she doing?”

    “They’re testing her off the vent.” Melissa was sucking air in, as though she were saving it for Gracie. “She’s doing okay so far. She’s not desatting.”

    There was a time when “desatting” was just a word that meant plot development on medical shows. Can’t it go back to plot development; way out there, in TV-land? –

    Reply
  41. Jean Maples

    Interesting! I certainly wasn’t expecting that ending. Surprise is half the battle. And, I’m thinking, could the child be Father’s baby?

    Reply
  42. Jean Maples

    Harriet and George were driving to Los Angeles from their home in Dallas. They planned to attend his parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary. They could have gone more easily by air, but George wanted to show off his new black Mercedes with all its modern gadgets.
    The couple hadn’t been getting along very well. harriet thought George spent money to please himself, which should have been saved for a rainy day.
    “Be nice to my parents. I know you don’t like them, never did”.
    She replied, “Of course, I have proper manners and would never embarrass you.”
    The car began to vibrate.
    “George, I think something’s wrong. Get out and look”.
    He stopped the car and discovered a flat tire. Looking crestfallen he had to admit it to Harriet.
    “Your new car! So fine, not so fine, I think.”
    “Shut up, Harriet!”.
    They sat on the side of the dusty road for forty-five minutes waiting for AAA to show up.
    “Better call your parents”, she said.
    They really didn’t have extra time for this emergency. They had planned to arrive in the afternoon of the scheduled celebration , and they’d gotten a late morning start, because George needed a big breakfast and to read the newspaper before leaving the motel.
    George, reluctantly made the call, and they continued to wait for the slow road service to arrive.

    Reply
    • joeschmoe

      The slow road service arrived. A man in a black suit emerged from the dusty vehicle with AAA written on the side door. George began to sweat. “Flat tire?” the man asked. “Y-y-yes” George managed to blurt out. He looked over to Harriet. She began to reach for the glove compartment when the man pulled out a gun and shot her in the head. George barely had time to react when the man put a bullet through him as well. The couple melted into a purple goo. “Goddamn alien scum” the man exclaimed as he hopped back into his truck. He put in a CD. Highway to the dangerzone blasted through the speakers as he sped away.

      Reply
  43. Kcrraja

    Ronnie Thomas and Tom Joseph decided to hire a car to go to Los Angeles. Tom had come to the U S as a child when his parents migrated from India twenty years ago. He spoke with a slight American accent, moved about in athletic shorts and still behaved like a school boy. Not much else could distinguish him from an Indian.

    Rinnie grew up in a traditional Indian family in a small village in Southern India, accompanied her parents to the Sunday morning service in the village church and had completed education in an Indian university. She studied nursing and worked as a nurse in St Joseh’s Hospital , Bangalore for two years. Ronnie was conscious of having to earn enough to pay back the debt her father had run into to educate her.

    Rinnie and Tom met in a hospital for the first time. She often showed up and chatted about life way back in India. The day before he left hospital, Tom asked Rinnie. for her cell no. She gave it with a coy smile and disappeared.

    Initially, Rinnie started receiving messages and then phone calls .Two days later. Tom rang up Rinnie and asked her to meet him for dinner at Dina, the Indian restaurant she had once recommended. They met, had a typical Indian buffet of tandoori chicken and biriyani , joked and laughed as they had never done in the hospital or on the phone.. And Tom asked,’ Rinnie, will you come with me to my home in Los Angeles? I would like you to meet my parents”
    Rinnie was new to Tom’s world. After all she was a plain, lower middle class Indian from India who could not even follow the American English spoken in Southern states in the
    U S. And she was manure and his father a highly accomplished doctor.
    She could not say no, either. She was lonely and lost in a big city. Besides she loved Tom!

    Reply
  44. Jack Strandburg

    Joe – I knew about specificity but not necessarily in this context. More like “he drove a Ford Taurus” v. He drove a car. This tip will really help me – thanks!

    Reply
  45. Catherine Warboys

    It had been five years since Adam had seen his parents. Five years since he had been home. Just thinking of Los Angeles as ‘home’ made him wince uncomfortably in his seat. Heck, he had no idea where home was anymore. He looked across at Anja as she dozed in the passenger seat. How did she do that? Looking so beautiful as her head fitfully rose before slowly dropping again, chin almost touching her chest; lost in a restless sleep. They had been on the road for over nine hours. Adam tried to kid himself that he hadn’t chosen to drive over flying to delay the arrival as much as possible. Introducing Anja was as good as an excuse as he would ever have to see them again. They passed a road sign. Twenty miles to Los Angeles. Breath.

    Reply
    • joeschmoe

      Suddenly the car in front of him seemed to leap in the air and flip over. Then another. Lasers began to pound the road as Adam swerved around them. He looked up and saw large ships emerge from the clouds. Highway to the Dangerzone began to play on the radio. The alien invasion had begun.

      Reply
  46. joeschmoe

    James found his seat. Row 6 seat 9. As he sat down, the captains voice came on the speakers. “Buckle up motherfuckers, its gonna be a bumpy ride. Wooooo!” Suddenly, Highway To The Dangerzone blasted through the speakers. James’ stupid can of ginger-ale rattled and spilled in his lap as the plane spun in the air. The passenger next to him passed out, as the woman beside him started puking into a bag. James tried to grab a magazine from his carry on but as the plane continued to spin, it flew out of his backpack and hit the passenger behind him. James barely had time to peel his copy of “Black INches” from the face of the man behind him when the plane lurched forward. The captains door swung open and a man emerged wearing a “Cancun 2012” tank top and a bottle of tequila. The plane plummeted down to earth and right before it crashed into the ground James had one final thought “Well at least I don’t have to see that stupid Cats play with Tanya”.

    Reply
    • Francesca Williams

      I like how it connected to the example story at the beginning, and how, since James had never flown on a plane before, it seemed really bad

      Reply
    • Kloe

      I thought that this was funny. I also really like that the ending was very simplistic and had strong humor.

      Reply
    • Marie Quinby

      I want to be the one who passes out on this plane ride. 😮

      Reply
    • JINA

      You copied from website

      Reply
  47. Leeanne

    We’re late,’ complained Becky, yet again.

    ‘Don’t stress it, babe. We’ll make it on time.’

    That’s Sam, nothing was ever a problem. Did it make her love him more? Perhaps, but not this morning. Her chest squeezed tightly. They really had to get going. Planes did not wait.

    She picked up her suitcase, gripping the handle so tightly her fingers tingled.

    Sam disappeared into the kitchen, before returning with a jug of water.

    Becky groaned. ‘Do you have to water the plants now?’ she asked, putting her case back on the ground. She’d been so hopeful, so close to turning the door knob.

    ‘What if we get delayed? What then?’ smiled Sam, taking her hands and twirling her around to face him. ‘Or maybe your parents will love me so much, we’ll drive home via Vegas.’ He raised his eyebrows, lent forward and kissed her forehead. Sam, the eternal optimistic.

    Becky shook her head slowly from side to side. ‘I’ve told you what they’re like, right?’

    ‘Oh Beck, I’m sure you’re exaggerating.’ He ushered her out the door.

    Beck fumbled with the keys to their New Jersey apartment, thinking about that. Was she exaggerating? She’d moved away for college and never went back. There was a good reason for that.

    ‘Yeah, whatever Sam.’ She pushed the key into the lock, cursing the stupid thing for not working.

    Sam reached over her shoulder, took the keys, flicked out the correct one and inserted it into the lock. ‘Beck. How could they not love me?’

    How could they not love me, thought Beck.

    Reply
  48. John Crafton

    I was just a boy then, well, I reckon I still am a boy. I just don’t think kids need to go through that sort of mess. They’re not supposed to see those sorts of things, say and hear those sorts of words. Sometimes I still have to say ‘em.
    You see, the devil wears tap shoes, you can hear him on his way. Keeping in time. Lightnin’ fast. A real critter. He’s also got this fiddle he scratches out notes on.
    The first time I saw him, he perched up on a stump, twitching like a wild animal. His tongue flickered as he tapped his shoe and drug that fiddle across his horn, and a strange smell surrounded him, like a wet dog. Churns my stomach thinkin’ about him.
    I couldn’t move, I just stood there watching.

    ***

    Ellison reclined the seat back in his bronco, stretched and yawned, as he passed the sign for Twin Towers Correctional Facility. It had been years since he had seen his father. His mind wandered back to that night. Wet dog smell of blood filled the house, streaks of hand prints down the hall. In the living room discarded cigarette butts scattered throughout the dark green carpet, lamps broken and tossed. The pool of blood he left my mother in in the kitchen.

    ***

    “don’t look at me that way, boy”

    “you’d be in here with me if I’da told the truth.”

    Reply
  49. Emily Jones

    I was driving the car down the highway, the only sounds coming from the occasional bump in the cracked roads of Iowa. Nick is staring out his window, watching the corn fields race by, seemingly too slow for the eagar one ready too finally meet his parents that missed out on his childhood. I honestly don’t understand why he is giving them a chance, they abandoned him as a young child, saying ‘they couldn’t take care of him’.

    Nick, pointing out my nervousness said “calm down. You seem as if you are going to run into something at any moment. You have been driving since sunrise. Let me drive.”

    “No, I’ll be fine.” I say hostilelike.

    “Come on Jessica. I don’t even see why you are stressed. You are just taking me to meet my biological parents for the first time. If anything I should be the one worried. Plus we aren’t even a couple or anything. You are just being a good friend and not letting me face this alone.”

    His words struck me like a blade in my heart. Just friends, that is all he sees me as? A regular friend wouldn’t put up with some of the things we have been through.

    “You are more than a friend to me.” I reply in a serious note.

    “And why would you say that Jess?”

    “Because I-” the words got stuck in my throat. It’s too hard for me to tell him what I actually think. I don’t want to ruin the friendship we have on the off chance that someone like him could like someone like me.

    “You?”

    “Nevermind. It’s not important. Oh hey there’s our exit.” I say changing the topic from that slippery slope on a double edged sword.

    “Finally I get to meet my parents.” He says, practically jumping out of his seat.

    It’s so adorable the way he is so excited about this, and about anything he does. It’s as of he sees the world like a child. I turn left and pull over near a red bricked house and Nick rushes out of the car. He drags me along, tugging on my arm. But it doesn’t hurt. He knocks on the door and pulls me into a hug.

    “Thank you for taking me here. You know I love you right.”

    This makes my heart beat out of my chest. It’s beating a million beats a second.

    “You love me?”

    “Why wouldn’t I Jess? You have done so much for me and you aren’t going anywhere right?”

    “No Nick, I’m not going anywhere. I love you too.” I say in all honesty, hugging him even tighter.

    And that is when his mother and father open the door.

    Reply
  50. Loriane

    I write fanfiction. It’s still writing. In this fanfiction I’m writing, the main character experiences a lot of emotions and scene changes. I only give what’s necessary to make sure the reader has everything he needs to imagine the scene. I feel too much detail doesn’t allow the reader to imagine the scene on his own. I add internal questioning so that the reader knows exactly what my characters are worried, scared or angry about. See an example. It’s about a woman who’s in an unhealthy relationship with her fiancé. At this point in her character development, she’s afraid of how he might react, but feels she doesn’t deserve his mistreatment. :

    Each and every time he raised a hand or his voice, a feeling of weakness overcame me as if my body couldn’t hold its own weight. Breath short and eyes wide, blood would begin to flow quickly through my veins as I watched him close the distance between us. My mind would begin to imagine all sorts of things that could have set Jonathan’s anger off, having no idea of what I had supposedly did wrong. Did he hate how I cut my hair? Was, perhaps, my gown too low cut, or did he see me smile at our chauffeur?

    Reply
  51. K. Irina

    They were going to meet his parents, something that no one in the car was exactly excited about.

    Abby sat in the passenger seat of the car, her husband’s dark brown eyes focused intently on the asphalt ahead of their small blue car. Their son Henry sat in the back, the young boy strapped into his car seat as his attention was drawn onto the light shade of turquoise fur that covered his favorite teddy bear. The young boy laughed softly from the back row, a small smile playing on his lips.

    The tensions were high and rising in the front half of the car, the two adults wanting nothing more than to turn the car around and go straight home. Not only was the situation they were trapped in not ideal, but they had been driving for almost eighteen hours. The drive from Seattle to Los Angeles was long and the view could only be seen as beautiful for so long.

    Henry giggled at the plush toy in his small hands, blissfully ignorant to the anxiety that were consuming the air around his guardians.

    “I can’t believe we are doing this,” Abby mumbled, her usually soft voice now filled with irritation and annoyance.

    “They deserve to meet him,” Scott told his wife, his coffee colored eyes not leaving the road.

    “He’s our son! Not theirs!” Abby suddenly yelled, not only startling her husband in the driver’s seat, but also startling the child in the backseat that was previously oblivious to the situation up front. Abby’s almost black eyes were wide and filled with desperation.

    From the middle of the backseat, Henry’s small eyes watched the adults movements closely. His light blue crystal iris whipped back and forth between the grown-ups with rigid backs.

    They were going to meet his parents, something that neither Abby or Scott were at all happy about.

    Reply
    • Francesca Williams

      So good

      Reply
  52. Francesca Williams

    They Went to Los Angeles to see His parents

    I had a golden retriever named Sam growing up. That dog was the love of my life, and best friend until a few years ago when he died the summer after I graduated. The saddest part was that he had run away that night and gotten hit by an intoxicated driver. He was 14 years old, his once pure honey hair was turning greyish I remember. That was the summer my twin sister Eloise and I moved out, and she left me for med school. I was sad for about a month, and I still think about that dog sometimes. Right now he was the only thing on my mind, which was funny considering the circumstances, slightly ironic even.

    My sister dropped out of school last semester, went backpacking around Europe, and moved to LA I haven’t talked to her in awhile, the only details about her whereabouts were squeezed out of my obviously mortified mother. Unlike my mom I knew that this was just a phase, and that yes, she would get sick of going to coachella and crashing on mysterious couches. Maybe this time she would learn her lesson, though.

    My boyfriend Eric’s hand on the wheel, the other one grabbing my thigh. Our Subaru Outback stuffed with enough clothes for who knows how long, my mom hadn’t told me. I lit a cigarette and let the slow rhythm of Indie music move the smoke. Most people would be sad right now, but the only thing I could think about was Sam. Sam and Eloise, the same tragic fate. Is that why parents discipline kids who sneak out? You can’t keep people like Eloise, or dogs like Sam from being free. Being a rebel, however, has an unfortunate cost.

    We turned onto a highway on the outskirts of Los Angeles, google maps guiding us to a huge, industrial looking hospital. For one second I was completely still, holding the last breath of smoke in my lungs. I have no compassion for the drunks with bad judgment who decide to drive, I had compassion for Eloise, though, because no one runs away during the light of day.

    Reply
    • Kloe

      I really like the style you wrote this in and how you used really strong diction and imagery.

      Reply
  53. Trinity Potter

    It would take me and this blue eyed boy 12 hours and 33 minutes to get to Los Angeles to see his folks. We are driving the whole way in a light blue 2003 Subaru Outback. Along the way we passed dusty dry deserts and cold snowcapped mountains. We went through 80 degree weather and blue skies to thunderstorms so dark and rain-filled we had to pull over. We let the breeze from the windows tie our hair into knots. But we didn’t care none because we were going to see his folks in Los Angeles. This brown haired boy who had been mapping and planning this trip since he was 5 was doing it, and that’s not even the best part. The best part was he decided to take me. We talked and laughed together. So many semis that we passed and so many “scores” were made. Just me and this blue-eyed, brown-haired boy that I decided was safe to call mine. We were welcomed into Los Angeles with a big sign saying such. We didn’t stop. We were so close you could almost feel the excitement in the air. I wasn’t the only eager one in the car. You know why? Because he was going to go meet his folks in Los Angeles and we finally made it and all we had to do was pull up to their house. Twenty minutes passed by and we found ourselves parked in the driveway to a house neither of us could ever afford. It was gorgeous, the lawn was so well maintained.

    “Are you ready to meet them?”, I asked puzzled as to why we were just sitting here.

    “One more minute.”, He replied.

    So there we waited in a driveway of this beautiful house in our 2003 Subaru Outback while he smoked his Marlboro Menthol. In that moment I now knew that I was the only one with excitement he was feeling nervous. Before I could say another we were driving back to Colorado. We didn’t speak most of the time, we stopped once in awhile but only to buy cigarettes and cheap liquor bottles. Then we parked and we camped in the car with a small fire while we sipped out of bottles and puffed cigarettes but still no words came out. We just sat and watched the stars and enjoyed each other’s company.

    Reply
  54. Uche

    Imma and Greg drove for two hours in his black 2015 Mercedes Mayback and behold they got to their destination. The excited one, Greg blew his horn, Imma took a deep breath, “Are you nervous?” He asked, “No” she refuted. But deep down her she is sheer nervous being that it’s her first time visiting Greg’s parents. “My parents are simple people” He whispered into her ears and pecked her. She returned the gesture with a faint smile.

    The whole seating room echoed with laughter as Greg keeps releasing series of jokes in his usual manner, all faces grinned except for Mrs Coker who kept on wearing a mean face and only smiled at intervals as if she is not comfortable with Imma’s presence in the house.

    Everyone had left for upstairs except Imma who seated alone in the parlor, face bent down to her phone as if she was busy with something important. “What are you doing there, come on” those were the courteous words of Greg’s elder sister who cheerfully smiled at Imma and took her upstairs to meet with the rest of the family members.

    “Don’t mind my mum, that’s how she is naturally. she actually likes you” they both smiled and went upstairs.

    Reply
  55. kristen jones

    “Are they going to like me,” Joanna said as she grabbed her suitcase from the bag pickup.

    “Yeah, of course,” Brian said trying to reassure Joanna. “My parents would love you and they are thrilled to finally met you.”

    Dealing with the excitement of being in LA for the first time, is not enough compared to the anxiety of meeting Brian’s parents for the first time. Joanna can only wonder what his parents will be like. She wants them to like her of course but not only that for them to enjoy her staying with him. Joanna’s mom told her you can always tell a lot about a person by staying with them.

    She glances down at the big engagement ring of her left ring finger. She hopes that his parents take the news well.

    “Brian, are we taking a rental car or a taxi to your parent’s house,” she asked wanting to worry less about the ride there.

    “Actually, my parents are going to pick us up,” Brian responds while picking his luggage from the bag pickup.

    “What, I didn’t know that,” she says taken back.

    “Yeah, they’ll be out in front of LAX in a black SUV. They’ll waiting on us so we should get a move on it,” He said as he carries his luggage with him and proceed through the crowd of people to the front of LAX.

    Joanna is hot on his trial with her luggage but is still surprised that she will be picked up by his parents. She at least thought that she will meet them later at dinner or at least an hour after their arrival to Los Angeles. She doesn’t even have time to change clothes.

    Wearing sweatpants and a v-neck t shirt with her hair pulled and pinned in a bun she feels a bit underdressed for the occasion. But there is nothing she can do for right now except deal with it.

    As they head to the front of LAX they see a black SUV pull up and the front passenger door swing open.

    Joanna watches thinking to herself here goes nothing.

    Reply
  56. Axis Sheppard

    Kaylia asked the waitress a hot chocolate, but when she asked Grayson about what he would like to drink, he just closed his eyes and shaked his head. Then, Grayson looked the other way, gratifying the airplane window with his empty gaze. It was like this since the accident. A unfortunate mistake of choosing a partner.

    It was getting colder. That meant that they were getting closer to L.A. Kaylia glanced at Grayson who was shaking, probably because of the sudden cold air. He didn’t even complained about it like he used to in Florida. Kaylia unpacked her bag for taking her blanket out of it. She put it on both Grayson and herself. Grayson turned at her, surprised. Tears were crawling down of his cheeks. Kaylia gasps, making incomfortable Grayson who hiden immediately his face by looking again at the airplain window.

    Kaylia grabbed his hand. “Hope you’re ready to put your coat on. We will be soon there,” she said to him.

    The plan flew again for an hour before landing. Grayson and Kaylia got out of the airport and were waiting for the taxi that Kaylia called. It was a dark and cloudy night.
    Grayson ended up to broke the silence: “Thanks.” Kaylia gave him a confused look: “For having called a taxi? You’re welcome. It’s so freezing outside!” Grayson shaked his head: “Not just for that… For going with me even if we are in Christmas break.” Kaylia grinned. He knew that she hated snow. That is a main reason why she never went back to Boston, where she was born. “Look what you’re making me doing!” she gave him a slap in his back, faking annoyance. Even if Grayson wasn’t smiling, Kaylia could see that he was relaxing a bit.

    “Are ya the ones who called for a taxi?” Asked them a taxi driver while chewing a toothpick. They both nodded and entered into the taxi. Once arrived in the front of the good house, Grayson ended up paying the driver despite all Kaylia’s protestations. Kaylia was smiling, but it wasn’t because she didn’t paid; it was because started slowly regaining his old self. A stubborn and hot temper guy.

    Kaylia press the ring bell close to the door: “Ok then, if it’s like this, let me at least ringing at the door!” Grayson tossed her hand. Too late. Kaylia observed him, lost. Grayson shivered: “I… I don’t think I am ready for this…” Kaylia gave him a warm smile: “It would be okay. It’s nothing you need to stress about. -You don’t understand,” he said nervously, “My parents are-” he was cut by the door opening.

    A woman in her fifty answered at the door. She sight of relief and gave kisses to her son: “I miss you so much my dear! You must be Kaylia,” she said while looking at the girl. Kaylia froze. “Come in my poor children, come in! It is cold outside.” Kaylia forced herself to smile at Grayson’s mom. For an instant, she swear had seen irritation in her eyes.

    “Just leave your coat here, my dears,” she said while helping her son to remove his. “If you excuse us.” she said to Kaylia. Grayson glanced at his friend and Kaylia nodded at him, letting him know that she was okay. While Kaylia was in a corner, coat on her back, Grayson’s mother started to cry in the living room. Kaylia could heard them whispering, but nothing more. Grayson’s father came to Kaylia, curious about the guest: “Hi, sorry about that rude welcome. It is been a while since we didn’t saw our son. Specially at a time like this… -Don’t worry about me, I am fine.” answered Kaylia. “His mother will probably him to stay with her a bit. You can sit down on the couch if you want” he pointed the furniture in the entrance. “I will bring you something hot.” He said after disappearing from the girl’s sight. Grayson mother appeared a few second after: “You know about it, right? About his sister. -Yes, I know. -Then why are you here with my son? What is it between you too?” She asked. Kaylia was eye-opener. “What do you mean? I care about your son. I am his friend since his first year in our university… -No you are not! Drop the act, will you?! Grayson is in the washroom anyway. All people that came see us were fake! All fake! -I swear that I have no idea of what you’re talking about. -Liar! You two seems exactly alike!” she shouted. Grayson’s father and Grayson himself ran into the entrance where the two girls were. Grayson’s father hold his wife that was still yelling: “You are guilty! A guilty culprit! -Mom! Cut it out!” Grayson yelled while his father were trying to calm down his wife: “Calm down dear, calm down. -No I am not! She is her girl, I am certain! -That’s it! I had enough! We’re out of here!” Said Grayson while dragging Kaylia with him. “Thanks for the invitation!” He grabbed his coat and closed the door behind them. “Wait, what was she talking about?! You know who are my parents?!” She asked stopping herself.

    Kaylia was an orphan since she was born. Unlike other child, her mother gave birth to her, and as soon she dropped her, she left her. Nobody knew who she really was… Well, at least, that was she thought. “Please! I thought you said you forgot about who your parents was! -That was because I was thinking nobody knew them! Look at me Grayson! Who are my parents?! Do you know something about them?!” Kaylia said while grabbing Grayson’s face for him looking at her.

    “I may know something…” He finally said to her after a silence, “But you won’t like this…”

    Reply
    • Kat

      i wanna know what happens next!!!!

      Reply
    • Phillipe Ledoux

      That’s more than 15 minutes. Great job though.

      Reply
  57. Regan

    She sat quietly in the black chair while the hustle and bustle of DIA picked up around her. “Would you like a Starbuck’s?” Brian was always so thoughtful, always trying to take care of Lola. “No thank you, my stomach is a little weird–I tend to get a little nervous before I fly.” She watched him walk toward a long line, and remembered why she fell in love with him. He was kind, and smart, but he was also handsome–boyishly so.
    She fidgeted a bit and caught the eye of a young mother nestling her newborn on her shoulder and kissing her head. It never took much to make her remember.
    She had a fantastic job, and was easy to like, and yet she wore grief as if it were a thick fog that wouldn’t lift. She stood up to find Brian, hoping he might be heading back, she spotted him immediately. “The line was too long.” He sighed.

    He reached down toward the seat to reach for the suitcase that had leaned against her chair. His eyes spotted the young mother and newborn, he stood up and placed his arm around her waist–pulling her into his safety. “Let’s see if our plane is here yet.” She allowed him to guide her to the window, and away from her thoughts.

    Lola, my family will love you–my mother and sisters are going to want to spend every minute with you–just be ready for mom’s cooking! Lola felt so safe with Brian, and she believed that he would always love her. She couldn’t help but wonder if they would love her if they knew–but the truth was she couldn’t wait to meet them. I can’t wait to meet them either, and I have starved myself for days hoping that your mother would cook that amazing pot roast that you rave so much about!” His smile reached his eyes–he truly loved her, and her pain seemed to fade for the moment.

    Reply
  58. MN

    To be honest, I am not much of a writer. It’s just a hobby, and I don’t plan to become a writer in the future, mainly because I am such an amateur and I really need to improve. I’m going to give this my best shot and I don’t know how this will turn out.
    ——————-
    He crossed his legs over one another and tried to get as comfortable as he could in the car seat. It didn’t help. Switching so many positions, he really couldn’t get comfortable, and it was because of his insides being all in a bundle. He wouldn’t deny it, he was guilty. And the guilt was eating his alive. He knew he shouldn’t have done that to Georgia, especially after all she’d been through. But he couldn’t help it. There was only so much a sixteen year old boy could take.

    The driver turned the wheel and the car swerved right, the squealing sound of the tires echoing through the deserted street. There weren’t any cars about, his taxi was the only vehicle on the road. He couldn’t help but notice that the small area was a slum, with houses with nailed windows and broken fences. They were all squashed up against each other, and were of different shapes and sizes. It was overcrowded and didn’t smell very good. Mom had told him that the gutter overflowed every once in a while.
    He glanced around, looking for the house that fit his Mother’s description, but couldn’t see a green house with vines crisscrossing over the windows and a mailbox with ‘an unflattering word’ on it. Her words, not his.

    He checked his phone, and felt a pang of sadness after seeing Georgia’s messages and the 17 missed calls.

    “I’m sorry.”

    “Please come back.”

    “Where are you?”

    “I’m sorry.”

    It wasn’t her fault. In fact, she had warned him. She had warned him that she had problems. She wanted him to know what he was getting into. He just wished she had told him what problems she had.

    He looked up and told the drive to turn into the next lane. They were on the outskirts of town, and the driver warned him that he might get mugged and so he should keep a watchful eye out. This was where most of the less fortunate people lived. The most desperate, less fortunate people.

    He didn’t find out until she had an Attack. Until she had an Attack on the day of his birthday. A relapse.

    He found out a lot of thing then, and not in the best way. His girlfriend of six months collapsing next to him at his birthday while they were dancing. He seeing her cold and pale in a hospital bed. He seeing the Doctors take off the wig she wore, the wig with the long brown tresses that he spent hours running his fingers through when she leaned her head on his shoulder while they were sitting on the park bench. They uncovered her bald head and carefully laid her down on her pillow.
    He hadn’t known about it. She hasn’t told him that she was diagnosed, but he couldn’t help but feel the slightest bit suspicious when she took about three to four bright orange pills a day.

    And on his birthday, of all days, he gets this birthday present from her? His girlfriend of six months laying lifeless in his arms while they were dancing.

    The driver honked the horn and startled, he jolted out of his reverie to see a house with a mailbox with an unflattering word on it. Brown and green vines with yellow flowers practically enveloped the house, and the green paint was faded and cracked in some places. The door wasn’t standing still and it was clear that the hinges had once been broken. There was no doorknob.

    He dragged his two suitcases up to the front step and knocked on the door, only for the door to creak open by itself. He let himself in and closed the door as best as he could. He could smell something burning, and left his luggage next to the wooden staircase. He followed the smell to the parlour with broken windows, and saw a lady knitting in a rocking chair. She wore a black dress, as if she just came back from a funeral. She didn’t look up.

    “Well, well, who do we have here?” She turned around to peer at him with plain white eyes.
    “Is it the Son who left his poor Mother to survive all alone, while he stayed with his well to-do Father and his new Wife, half his age? I think so. A Mother recognises her own child’a scent. It’s unmistakeable, no matter how Long you’ve been away from it.”

    He had nothing to say, and he just stared at her as she walked to the counter, and swallowed two bright orange pills.

    “What are you here for now?”
    ——————
    I know it’s not good, it was a really bad try, but I would love it if someone corrected me where I went wrong. English is not my native tongue, but I am pretty good at it because I’ve been taking classes since I was four. I am an amateur writer, like I previously mentioned, and if the people on here who are experienced in story writing could help me with this and tell me where I went wrong and what to change, it’d be a huge help. Thank you.

    Reply
    • MN

      Excuse me, but I had written this piece on this site for a review about my writing, and you’ve copy-pasted it, word-to-word. I’d like it if you could please take it down and come up with your own story piece. Thank you.

      Reply
  59. MN

    To be honest, I am not much of a writer. It’s just a hobby, and I don’t plan to become a writer in the future, mainly because I am such an amateur and I really need to improve. I’m going to give this my best shot and I don’t know how this will turn out.
    ——————-
    He crossed his legs over one another and tried to get as comfortable as he could in the car seat. It didn’t help. Switching so many positions, he really couldn’t get comfortable, and it was because of his insides being all in a bundle. He wouldn’t deny it, he was guilty. And the guilt was eating his alive. He knew he shouldn’t have done that to Georgia, especially after all she’d been through. But he couldn’t help it. There was only so much a sixteen year old boy could take.

    The driver turned the wheel and the car swerved right, the squealing sound of the tires echoing through the deserted street. There weren’t any cars about, his taxi was the only vehicle on the road. He couldn’t help but notice that the small area was a slum, with houses with nailed windows and broken fences. They were all squashed up against each other, and were of different shapes and sizes. It was overcrowded and didn’t smell very good. Mom had told him that the gutter overflowed every once in a while.
    He glanced around, looking for the house that fit his Mother’s description, but couldn’t see a green house with vines crisscrossing over the windows and a mailbox with ‘an unflattering word’ on it. Her words, not his.

    He checked his phone, and felt a pang of sadness after seeing Georgia’s messages and the 17 missed calls.

    “I’m sorry.”

    “Please come back.”

    “Where are you?”

    “I’m sorry.”

    It wasn’t her fault. In fact, she had warned him. She had warned him that she had problems. She wanted him to know what he was getting into. He just wished she had told him what problems she had.

    He looked up and told the drive to turn into the next lane. They were on the outskirts of town, and the driver warned him that he might get mugged and so he should keep a watchful eye out. This was where most of the less fortunate people lived. The most desperate, less fortunate people.

    He didn’t find out until she had an Attack. Until she had an Attack on the day of his birthday. A relapse.

    He found out a lot of thing then, and not in the best way. His girlfriend of six months collapsing next to him at his birthday while they were dancing. He seeing her cold and pale in a hospital bed. He seeing the Doctors take off the wig she wore, the wig with the long brown tresses that he spent hours running his fingers through when she leaned her head on his shoulder while they were sitting on the park bench. They uncovered her bald head and carefully laid her down on her pillow.
    He hadn’t known about it. She hasn’t told him that she was diagnosed, but he couldn’t help but feel the slightest bit suspicious when she took about three to four bright orange pills a day.

    And on his birthday, of all days, he gets this birthday present from her? His girlfriend of six months laying lifeless in his arms while they were dancing.

    The driver honked the horn and startled, he jolted out of his reverie to see a house with a mailbox with an unflattering word on it. Brown and green vines with yellow flowers practically enveloped the house, and the green paint was faded and cracked in some places. The door wasn’t standing still and it was clear that the hinges had once been broken. There was no doorknob.

    He dragged his two suitcases up to the front step and knocked on the door, only for the door to creak open by itself. He let himself in and closed the door as best as he could. He could smell something burning, and left his luggage next to the wooden staircase. He followed the smell to the parlour with broken windows, and saw a lady knitting in a rocking chair. She wore a black dress, as if she just came back from a funeral. She didn’t look up.

    “Well, well, who do we have here?” She turned around to peer at him with plain white eyes.
    “Is it the Son who left his poor Mother to survive all alone, while he stayed with his well to-do Father and his new Wife, half his age? I think so. A Mother recognises her own child’a scent. It’s unmistakeable, no matter how Long you’ve been away from it.”

    He had nothing to say, and he just stared at her as she walked to the counter, and swallowed two bright orange pills.

    “What are you here for now?”
    ——————
    I know it’s not good, it was a really bad try, but I would love it if someone corrected me where I went wrong. English is not my native tongue, but I am pretty good at it because I’ve been taking classes since I was four. I am an amateur writer, like I previously mentioned, and if the people on here who are experienced in story writing could help me with this and tell me where I went wrong and what to change, it’d be a huge help. Thank you.

    Reply
  60. MN

    To be honest, I am not much of a writer. It’s just a hobby, and I don’t plan to become a writer in the future, mainly because I am such an amateur and I really need to improve. I’m going to give this my best shot and I don’t know how this will turn out.
    ——————-
    He crossed his legs over one another and tried to get as comfortable as he could in the car seat. It didn’t help. Switching so many positions, he really couldn’t get comfortable, and it was because of his insides being all in a bundle. He wouldn’t deny it, he was guilty. And the guilt was eating his alive. He knew he shouldn’t have done that to Georgia, especially after all she’d been through. But he couldn’t help it. There was only so much a sixteen year old boy could take.

    The driver turned the wheel and the car swerved right, the squealing sound of the tires echoing through the deserted street. There weren’t any cars about, his taxi was the only vehicle on the road. He couldn’t help but notice that the small area was a slum, with houses with nailed windows and broken fences. They were all squashed up against each other, and were of different shapes and sizes. It was overcrowded and didn’t smell very good. Mom had told him that the gutter overflowed every once in a while.
    He glanced around, looking for the house that fit his Mother’s description, but couldn’t see a green house with vines crisscrossing over the windows and a mailbox with ‘an unflattering word’ on it. Her words, not his.

    He checked his phone, and felt a pang of sadness after seeing Georgia’s messages and the 17 missed calls.

    “I’m sorry.”

    “Please come back.”

    “Where are you?”

    “I’m sorry.”

    It wasn’t her fault. In fact, she had warned him. She had warned him that she had problems. She wanted him to know what he was getting into. He just wished she had told him what problems she had.

    He looked up and told the drive to turn into the next lane. They were on the outskirts of town, and the driver warned him that he might get mugged and so he should keep a watchful eye out. This was where most of the less fortunate people lived. The most desperate, less fortunate people.

    He didn’t find out until she had an Attack. Until she had an Attack on the day of his birthday. A relapse.

    He found out a lot of thing then, and not in the best way. His girlfriend of six months collapsing next to him at his birthday while they were dancing. He seeing her cold and pale in a hospital bed. He seeing the Doctors take off the wig she wore, the wig with the long brown tresses that he spent hours running his fingers through when she leaned her head on his shoulder while they were sitting on the park bench. They uncovered her bald head and carefully laid her down on her pillow.
    He hadn’t known about it. She hasn’t told him that she was diagnosed, but he couldn’t help but feel the slightest bit suspicious when she took about three to four bright orange pills a day.

    And on his birthday, of all days, he gets this birthday present from her? His girlfriend of six months laying lifeless in his arms while they were dancing.

    The driver honked the horn and startled, he jolted out of his reverie to see a house with a mailbox with an unflattering word on it. Brown and green vines with yellow flowers practically enveloped the house, and the green paint was faded and cracked in some places. The door wasn’t standing still and it was clear that the hinges had once been broken. There was no doorknob.

    He dragged his two suitcases up to the front step and knocked on the door, only for the door to creak open by itself. He let himself in and closed the door as best as he could. He could smell something burning, and left his luggage next to the wooden staircase. He followed the smell to the parlour with broken windows, and saw a lady knitting in a rocking chair. She wore a black dress, as if she just came back from a funeral. She didn’t look up.

    “Well, well, who do we have here?” She turned around to peer at him with plain white eyes.
    “Is it the Son who left his poor Mother to survive all alone, while he stayed with his well to-do Father and his new Wife, half his age? I think so. A Mother recognises her own child’a scent. It’s unmistakeable, no matter how Long you’ve been away from it.”

    He had nothing to say, and he just stared at her as she walked to the counter, and swallowed two bright orange pills.

    “What are you here for now?”
    ——————
    I know it’s not good, it was a really bad try, but I would love it if someone corrected me where I went wrong. English is not my native tongue, but I am pretty good at it because I’ve been taking classes since I was four. I am an amateur writer, like I previously mentioned, and if the people on here who are experienced in story writing could help me with this and tell me where I went wrong and what to change, it’d be a huge help. Thank you.

    Reply
  61. MN

    To be honest, I am not much of a writer. It’s just a hobby, and I don’t plan to become a writer in the future, mainly because I am such an amateur and I really need to improve. I’m going to give this my best shot and I don’t know how this will turn out.
    ——————-
    He crossed his legs over one another and tried to get as comfortable as he could in the car seat. It didn’t help. Switching so many positions, he really couldn’t get comfortable, and it was because of his insides being all in a bundle. He wouldn’t deny it, he was guilty. And the guilt was eating his alive. He knew he shouldn’t have done that to Georgia, especially after all she’d been through. But he couldn’t help it. There was only so much a sixteen year old boy could take.

    The driver turned the wheel and the car swerved right, the squealing sound of the tires echoing through the deserted street. There weren’t any cars about, his taxi was the only vehicle on the road. He couldn’t help but notice that the small area was a slum, with houses with nailed windows and broken fences. They were all squashed up against each other, and were of different shapes and sizes. It was overcrowded and didn’t smell very good. Mom had told him that the gutter overflowed every once in a while.
    He glanced around, looking for the house that fit his Mother’s description, but couldn’t see a green house with vines crisscrossing over the windows and a mailbox with ‘an unflattering word’ on it. Her words, not his.

    He checked his phone, and felt a pang of sadness after seeing Georgia’s messages and the 17 missed calls.

    “I’m sorry.”

    “Please come back.”

    “Where are you?”

    “I’m sorry.”

    It wasn’t her fault. In fact, she had warned him. She had warned him that she had problems. She wanted him to know what he was getting into. He just wished she had told him what problems she had.

    He looked up and told the drive to turn into the next lane. They were on the outskirts of town, and the driver warned him that he might get mugged and so he should keep a watchful eye out. This was where most of the less fortunate people lived. The most desperate, less fortunate people.

    He didn’t find out until she had an Attack. Until she had an Attack on the day of his birthday. A relapse.

    He found out a lot of thing then, and not in the best way. His girlfriend of six months collapsing next to him at his birthday while they were dancing. He seeing her cold and pale in a hospital bed. He seeing the Doctors take off the wig she wore, the wig with the long brown tresses that he spent hours running his fingers through when she leaned her head on his shoulder while they were sitting on the park bench. They uncovered her bald head and carefully laid her down on her pillow.
    He hadn’t known about it. She hasn’t told him that she was diagnosed, but he couldn’t help but feel the slightest bit suspicious when she took about three to four bright orange pills a day.

    And on his birthday, of all days, he gets this birthday present from her? His girlfriend of six months laying lifeless in his arms while they were dancing.

    The driver honked the horn and startled, he jolted out of his reverie to see a house with a mailbox with an unflattering word on it. Brown and green vines with yellow flowers practically enveloped the house, and the green paint was faded and cracked in some places. The door wasn’t standing still and it was clear that the hinges had once been broken. There was no doorknob.

    He dragged his two suitcases up to the front step and knocked on the door, only for the door to creak open by itself. He let himself in and closed the door as best as he could. He could smell something burning, and left his luggage next to the wooden staircase. He followed the smell to the parlour with broken windows, and saw a lady knitting in a rocking chair. She wore a black dress, as if she just came back from a funeral. She didn’t look up.

    “Well, well, who do we have here?” She turned around to peer at him with plain white eyes.
    “Is it the Son who left his poor Mother to survive all alone, while he stayed with his well to-do Father and his new Wife, half his age? I think so. A Mother recognises her own child’a scent. It’s unmistakeable, no matter how Long you’ve been away from it.”

    He had nothing to say, and he just stared at her as she walked to the counter, and swallowed two bright orange pills.

    “What are you here for now?”
    ——————
    I know it’s not good, it was a really bad try, but I would love it if someone corrected me where I went wrong. English is not my native tongue, but I am pretty good at it because I’ve been taking classes since I was four. I am an amateur writer, like I previously mentioned, and if the people on here who are experienced in story writing could help me with this and tell me where I went wrong and what to change, it’d be a huge help. Thank you.

    Reply
  62. Lyndee McGLoin

    Let you know that I am still learn how to write novel.
    please be honest and correct me…

    Ianna’s body was breath and sign to walked to the bench and read a book. She breathed slowly and sign. Her eyes move up at the cloud. The cloud was move forward to cover the sun. She closed the book then she was looking at the waves raging.

    Reply
  63. Johnny Cottrell

    Jerry and Liz went to Los Angeles to see his parents. On the way, they found a junkyard littered with old Mopars. And since Jerry was a Mopar fan, he pulled over to look at the cars, and as he did so, he lit a Lucky Strike. The smoke made Liz cough since cigarette smoke always bothered her.
    “I wish you wouldn’t do that,” Liz said.
    “What!” Jerry said.
    “Don’t snap at me. You’ve been known to snap.”
    ‘I’m not snapping. I just pulled over for a smoke. And if you wish, I’ll get out of the car and walk through the junkyard to finish my smoke.”
    “Fine.”
    Jerry stepped out of the car, smoke brewing from the Lucky as the cool breeze of November cleared his sinuses. He had never seen so many cars as he walked through the huge scrapyard and left Liz drawing and cowering afraid to step out due to ominous appearance of the place.
    When Jerry snuffed his Lucky Strike and threw it on the ground beside a 1972 Dodge Challenger, the headlights glared and flickered as if trying to say something but the message was unclear. Jerry did a double take and couldn’t believe what he had seen. But just as quickly as the headlights had flashed, they went out and on the hood of the orange Challenger was a pack of Lucky Strikes. He knew they weren’t his they were still in his pocket. Upon further inspection of the car, he saw a figure behind the wheel smoking, and just so happened to be smoking a Lucky Strike. The figure, which appeared to be a man, threw the cigarette out the window then asked, “Can I have that pack of Lucky’s on the hood?”
    Jerry grabbed the pack and moved to the window to hand them to the man, but only a puff of smoke wafted out the window. Then a voice deep, and wispy said, “That’s the brand I was smoking when I hit that eighteen wheeler.”
    When Jerry got back to the car he said, “You’ll never believe what just happened.”
    “I probably won’t,” Liz said. “But we need to move on if we’re gonna make your parents’ house by dark.”
    “Wait till I tell mom and dad. They’re not gonna believe this.”
    Back at that old Challenger, puffs of smoke weaved out the broken window. “i was smoking when that truck crashed and . . .”

    Reply
  64. Phillipe Ledoux

    Bert squeezed into the clown car from a garage sale with Fitz, he bounced around like a contortionist attempting to fold himself into the world’s smallest space. They had to fight over the seats. In the end, Bert won shotgun and his friend had to sulk in the cargo. Matthews was driving. All three of the college roommates were embarking on a field trip with different intentions. Matt insisted on seeing his old folks, nothing more and nothing less, Bert wanted to participate in the LA basketball tournament, and Fitz decided he needed to see his girlfriend.

    Matthews was meditating as he strapped himself in, the car guru they called him.
    He hit the ignition, and just as a precaution brought along extra air fresheners. The road was one long river of pressed asphalt that dragged on forever, an endless mirage that sucked up their enthusiasm. It didn’t help that they didn’t bring any entertainment, just dead weight.

    “How’s the weather back there Fitz?” scoffed Bert.
    “Shove off and stop gloating.” Fitz fired back.
    “You mad bro?” he remarked.
    “Bite me.”
    Matthews had enough, “Keep it cute or get out of my car.”
    Los Angeles was a long wait indeed.

    Reply
  65. Sunni Hancock

    Nick had our luggage packed, and I still paced the floor to my room. We hadn’t even moved in together yet, but already flying out to LA to meet his parents. The thought alone sends chills up my arms. I look down to the packed cases aside me, and cringe. I am not a big people person, but he has assured me about a hundred times that they will love me. I don’t agree. Nick comes from money, and I come from a shit-hole town with hilbily parents.
    I feel a tickle on my ear, and know he’s there. He grabs me by my hips and presses me into him.
    “You’ll be fine baby, I promise.” he whispers in my ear, sending the tingling sensation all the way to my toes.
    “I know you say that, but when you come from where I do it’s not that easy to just go meet your boyfriends wealthy parents. What if I use the wrong fork for salad or something?” I say wary at the thought of that actually happening.
    “For god sakes Angela we don’t have a butler or anything. Having money doesn’t always mean being spoiled,and bathed in riches. I grew up learning to play pianos and attended elite schools, but my parents always made sure to keep me humble. They are good people, and I swear they will love you, you’ll see.” He picks up our bags, planting a sweet kiss to my forehead and heads out to the cab waiting in the driveway. I sigh and walk out behind him, locking the door to my room. We get in the cab, and the nervous energy continues to pulse through me at a rapid speed. Nick places his hand on my leg to settle me a bit. It works, and I am now more sure than ever that he is my other half, and I love him. I will do this for him, and hope like hell it goes as smoothly as he promises.

    Reply
  66. School idiot

    Boring

    Reply
    • School idiot

      Joking this is really interesting

      Reply
    • Ching Chong ding dong

      Yes you are an idiot

      Reply
  67. Bob saggyballs

    Hello people this is my story

    Reply
  68. Ice Girl

    Gabriel shifted his feet uncomfortably in the plush leather seat. Black lined windows, wooden linings on the seats, and a nostalgic feel of his old father’s chair stuck to him like he stuck to the leather seat.

    It was… rather unnerving to be visiting your step-parents like this, especially when they practically booted you out of their old home back in Kansas. Imagine they used to be out-on-the-road kind of poor, but now they were rolling in dough.

    The front privacy glass slid open, and a large burly german guy, spoke harshly to him. “We will be arriving shortly. Gather your items.”

    Gabriel nodded quickly, and galnced at his un-touched luggage. It was probably strange to even get anything out, since he had no need to. The tinted window rolled down with a squeak, revealing gorgeous green lawns and bright yellow sandstone arches the size of a two story building, engravings of myths and mythical beings apparent.

    A large, porcelain white fountain bubbled marvelously in front of the large, modern-victorian mansion, lined with foliage that was trimmed to make peculiar shapes. The dark limo pulled up to the large main steps, with little angel statues on the end of each.

    Oh boy. Gabriel could already see the impending doom lurking behind that dungeon-like door.
    ————–

    mmmmmmmm hope this is alright- Also sorry for the weird uh.. name I have

    Reply
  69. Marie Quinby

    Something must be wrong with me. I actually liked the “tell” one better. )

    Reply
  70. Emma Jackson

    They went to Los Angeles to see his parents.

    Harry’s hand was trembling ever so slightly as he slipped the gear stick into reverse. Warily, he looked over his shoulder, willing the flow of cars to stop long enough for him to back out of the park. Five minutes later, there was a lull in the traffic, so he took her chance. Afterwards, exiting the car park was easy. Soon enough, they were rocketing down the freeway. Despite barely touching the speed limit, the speed of 40kph was fast enough for Harry. Finally, James caught his attention, tenderly placing his hand on Harry’s knee as he continued to drive. “Are you okay?” The question was simple enough, but Harry words caught as he tried to answer it. “And don’t lie. We’ve been going out for like what, three years? I know better that to fall for your lies.” There was a playful smile on his face, his eyes shining brightly with joy and affection at his lover. It was true, they had been dating for three years and five months, but James had still never met Harry’s parents. Harry had met his, and for Harry’s timid nature, he warmed to them surprisingly quickly.
    “I don’t know?” Both knew that Harry’s response was a question.
    “You’re nervous. Why? You’re just seeing your parents.” Confusion etched lines into James’s forehead and rolled his eyebrows.
    “I know. But the thing is, I don’t know haw to tell you this, but, they are not very…” Harry broke off for a minute, thinking of how to work his point, “They are very religious. They have never met one of my boyfriends and not scared him away or tried to exorcise him.”
    “Right, pull off at this services. Me and you need a good long talk.” James turned to face Harry.
    “We have a seven hour journey ahead of us, why can’t we just talk then?” Harry’s face blushed slightly, another nervous quirk of his.
    “Okay, but you can’t put this off.” James smiled again making eye contact with Harry for the briefest second, seeing the glassy glaze over his eyes. He couldn’t hide the fact that he was worried, so he turned the radio on to Twenty One Pilots to pass the time until Harry was ready to talk.

    (I wrote for about twenty minutes, but I am quite a slow writer.)

    Reply
  71. Nadia Shireen Siddiqi

    Cool blog, looks good.

    Reply
  72. Coraline Grace

    How would you best show someone in deep thought? Like a character is trying to figure something out in their mind if you will. I’m in need of writers help? Oh message me if you’d like a free copy of Pixie And The Green Book Mystery. – It’s an early chapter reader and I’m on to the second in the series.

    Thanks for the insight,

    Coraline Grace

    https://www.amazon.com/Pixie-Green-Book-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01N01ZY7J/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509731965&sr=8-1&keywords=pixie+and+the+green+book+mystery

    Reply
  73. Linda Herman-Robinson

    “L.A. Sounds dreamy enough,” pondered Charlotte as her mind wandered off to wide streets lined with palm trees and sun-soaked joggers cruising by. She’d always wanted to see it. To smell it. Friends had described highways that lined the coast where all you see is ocean and sunset for miles. Fresh air. What a change this would be after living in North Philadelphia with bars on thick, filmy windows and nimble cockroaches scattering whenever she flipped on the light switch. Yes, L.A. was always a dream, but this was no pleasure trip. This seemed more like a nightmare.

    “Charlie, where are you, Girl? We’re getting ready to take off. Buckle up.”

    Charlotte looked over to see Anna smiling, putting in her ear buds and getting her playlist started for the 6 hour flight west. Charlotte admired her friend’s cool demeanor. No matter how many years they’d been friends, Charlotte just couldn’t relax like Anna. It wasn’t in her DNA apparently, which she figured might explain why it wasn’t in her brother’s.

    “Oh sorry. I was dazing off. I was thinking about Tim and how I’m going to tell them.” Tim was the kind of brother that you hate to love. When they were little, life was good ,and he was a tiny charmer with a twinkle and a grin that could melt Charlotte and her mom and dad every time, no matter what he’d done. But this? No twinkle could brighten this news. Their parents needed to be told that Tim was not the same guy his parents used to know.

    Anna reached out and held Charlotte’s balled up hands, which were clasped and white-knuckled. “C’mon, Charlie. You know you’re not really telling them anything they don’t already know. Why do you think they moved so far away from here? It’ll be okay. You’ll all figure this out. You always do.”

    Charlotte knew she was right. Her parents knew Tim was an addict. They’d been through hell and back trying to help him, but he just was not interested. Every since his football injury, he spiraled after that week on painkillers. He just couldn’t relax and give the therapy a chance. She remembered how angry he’d get raging about how he can’t be injured. Football was life. The pills gave him the out to forget, she figured. They all thought he’d come back. He’d have to! But things only got worse and their parents had enough and moved to L.A., never looking back. That day was one Charlotte would never forget. How could they turn their back on flesh and blood?

    Anna jarred her back to reality. “Char, you were young. You tried. Hell, he almost dragged you in, too. Maybe your parents were right in leaving and you maybe should have gone, too. He’s put you through a lot.”

    “Yeah. I guess I finally reached my limit, huh? I’m cleaned out. No money left, no energy, no anything. I get it. They need to hear.”

    Charlotte closed her eyes and remembered the frantic missing weeks spent searching for him, the calls from jail, the stolen cash and jewelry after he’d come home. Every. Single. Time. The promises yelled through anger and grief. The always-broken promises. She knew they did what they had to do.

    One dewey tear slowly squeezed out from between her lashes and walked itself down that familiar track on her cheek. She tried to shut off her mind to that image of Tim lying lifeless on a sofa with no cushions. There wasn’t even glass in the windows of that house! No one was there for him; not even Charlotte. His only company was his needles, his pipes, his lighters. Who was this guy? Certainly, it wasn’t her brother in there. It hadn’t been Tim in many years.

    Charlotte buckled up to get ready to face them. She wondered which words she’d use to tell them that she gets it now. She gets why they had to stop caring. It’s survival. And she was ready to concentrate on Charlotte now.

    Reply
  74. Ekaekto

    Ania had been living in the US now for quite some time, but she had never visited the City of Stars. To be frank, she had never left the state she now called home. And though it had been extremely difficult at the beginning to get used to the slurred drawn-out slang of the locals, she was getting better at it. John’s parents had moved to LA after they were sure that he was capable of running the farm by himself. He didn’t really understand why they felt the need to leave their home, and why they were going so drastically against the grain. What was wrong with home? Or why not make your life easier and move to one of those strange retirement villages in Florida?
    There wasn’t such a big difference between Florida and California, both were warm and sunny. The only difference, according to John was the ocean which had a different name on either side of the country.

    But John’s parents had always been adventurous, so much so that he didn’t understand why they disapproved so strongly that he had gone to Russia to find himself a wife. The modern
    American girl got on his nerves, blonde, loud, obnoxious and of absolutely no use to him on his farm. No, that wasn’t what he needed, he had told himself. Convincing himself of this was easier than admitting he really only loved the idea of a woman, someone who could be there for him, without having her own thoughts and ideas, without voicing her opinions.

    Theirs had been half a marriage of love, and half a marriage of convenience. John loved Ania,
    in his own way, from the minute they met. Language barrier and all. Ania knew
    he was the ticket to America, so she played the game. They were married within
    months of meeting each other, and she had moved to the middle of nowhere somewhere
    in the country of dreams. A few months had passed, Ania’s English was improving,
    and she had gotten used to John, she even had to admit to herself that she enjoyed
    his company.

    And now she had the chance to see the big American city of her dreams. She had been nervous
    for the last two weeks, and sitting in the car on the way to the airport, her
    legs were shaky. She grabbed a hold of John’s hand and squeezed it to calm her
    down. He smiled at her slightly. He was as nervous as she was, but she wasn’t
    to know this. She wasn’t even aware that his parents disapproved of their marriage,
    and he really didn’t want to tell her.

    ‘It’ll be fine, you’ll see,’ he declared with a confidence in his voice, that he hoped
    could calm them both down.

    ‘Ok,’ she answered, and smiled at him.

    They drove on in silence, the road winding itself around the mountains.

    Reply
  75. Gariel Wilkerson

    Noah and his girlfriend Mia, flew from New York to Los Angeles on Delta Airlines Saturday morning to see his parent, after three years of dating he felt it was time. He finally felt like he’d found the one and he was ready to settle down. Noah turned to Mia and looked into her beautiful green eye and made him catch his breath and asked: “Do you still have the plane tickets?” He just had them in his hand but now they were nowhere in sight. Mia looked at him with a smile on her face and said, “Noah of course I do. You know you’d lose your head if it wasn’t attached to your body.” Noah knew she was right, this was one of the reasons he fell in love with her in the first place. She was just so perfect to him, as he was thinking to himself a voice came over the loudspeaker, “Now boarding flight DL0428 to Los Angeles .” He bent down to pick up their matching Louis Vuitton Keepall bags he had gotten them for their anniversary and headed to board the plane. He was one step closer to being with the girl of his dreams.

    Reply
  76. Lara

    After multiple hours of waiting for our eight hour flight to board, of course it would be Cristian and I’s luck to get seated right next to a crying newborn. On top of being nervous about meeting my boyfriend’s parents for the first time, I knew once the crying began that it was going to be a very long flight. Once the crying finally came to a stop I began to go over in my head how I would present myself to Cristian’s parents, and the impression I wanted to give them. I knew the peace and quite was too good to be true when the plane hit a patch of turbulence, awaking the baby, only to start up the screaming cries all over again.

    Reply

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  10. 4 Copywriting Techniques Every Good Storyteller Already Knows | Goins, Writer - […] The tiny details are the ones that bring the story to life. They are what allow you to show…
  11. Ten Secrets To Write Better Stories - […] the saying “show, don’t tell” is overused. However, when placed next to the step above, it becomes very […]
  12. Story-1:Ten Secrets To Write Better Stories | Rahapara - […] the saying “show, don’t tell” is overused. However, when placed next to the step above, it becomes very […]
  13. Why Memoir Writers Need to Use Fiction Writing Techniques. - […] *“Show vs Tell“ your story (here’s a secret via Joe Bunting) […]
  14. What Stieg Larsson Got Wrong, A Writer Talks - […] a specific character is a bad guy or a good guy. However, this is where the old adage of…
  15. Use This Tip to Test if You’re Showing or Telling - […] In other words, don’t tell us what happened, show us.  In fact, you’ve even heard “Show, Don’t Tell” on…
  16. Here’s a Writing Prompt to Help With “Show, Don’t Tell” - […] we talked about in our post, The Secret to Show, Don’t Tell, the more you show, the longer your…
  17. 3 Essential Questions for Better Backstory - […] with backstory, the rule “show, don’t tell” still […]
  18. Technical Thursday-Showing not Telling; Work on Essays | Mr. Funk's Web Site - […] nice thoughts on Showing Not Telling: here, here, and […]
  19. WWA Due October 23 | Mrs. Read's Website - […] The Write Practice […]
  20. How to Become a Better Writer in One, Simple Step - […] “Show, don’t tell” is one of the most common—and most overused—writing cliches out there. The reality is there are…
  21. NaNoWriMo Day #6 | FLVS Scribbles - […] NaNoWriMo Advice: “Show, don’t tell.” Everyone has heard this billions of times, but the hard part is applying it…
  22. How Do You Show, Not Tell? - West Lothian Writers - […] Bunting in his article The Secret to Show, Don’t Tell for The Write Practice sums up the WikiHow exercise with…
  23. Show don’t tell? | Writings of Us - […] It’s hinted at in every writing article on the whole gosh dang interwebs. In fact, over at thewritepractice.com Joe Bunting…
  24. Why You Should Write With All the Senses… Except Sight - […] Showing not telling is a common tip amongst writers, but what does that even mean? […]
  25. Practices in Public Relations | eliseksanchez - […] Show don’t tell […]
  26. Show, Don’t Tell | the writer who did not know how - […] Want to find out more, or get a second opinion to prove I’m not crazy? Click here. […]
  27. The Art of “Show, Don’t Tell.” | Stephanie Baumgartner - […] The Write Practice: The Secret to Show, Don’t Tell […]
  28. Tortoise and the Hare: A Tale of Rewriting | - […] of killing adverbs (yes, it’s that important) because it encourages you to do better. In “The Secret to Show,…
  29. This Simple Principle Will Solve Your Show, Don’t Tell Problems - […] doubt you’ve heard the old writing advice, “Show, don’t tell.” But how do you do it, and how do…
  30. Bookish links I enjoyed this past week #34 (SHOW DON’T TELL) | This Adventure called Writing - […] 5) https://thewritepractice.com/show-dont-tell/ 6) https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/show-don-t-tell […]
  31. 100 Writing Practice Lessons & Exercises - […] 10. The Secret to Show, Don’t Tell. You’ve heard the classic writing rule, “Show. Don’t Tell.” Every writing blog ever has…
  32. Point of View in Writing - […] “Show, don’t tell,” we’re told. Sharing all the emotions of all your characters can become distraction. It can even destroy…
  33. Vocabulary; Skill- Showing not Telling | Mr. Funk's Web Site - […] in depth discussion Here, here, here, and […]
  34. Show & Tell | Priyanka Maharaj - […] thewritepractice.com : This site has helped me a lot during my treatment writing process. If you, like myself, are struggling with…
  35. Fiction Writing Rule #2: Show, Don’t Tell | Anita Lovett & Associates - […] to The Write Practice, “The simplest rule to remember if you’re trying to show is just to be specific.”…
  36. Show, Don't Tell (In Moderation) | The Art of Stories - […] https://thewritepractice.com/show-dont-tell/ […]
  37. How To Drive Traffic To Your Website When You’re Broke - Sean Ondes - […] “Show, don’t tell.” […]
  38. How To Get More Website Traffic When You’re Broke - […] “Show, don’t tell.” […]
  39. Show Me, Don’t Tell Me – Book Chit Chat - […] https://thewritepractice.com/show-dont-tell/ […]
  40. What "Show, Don't Tell" Really Means | Literative - […] it means. Luckily, you don’t have to be an experienced writer, if you have someone thoroughly explain it to…
  41. Ten Secrets To Write Better Stories. | charmansite - […] the saying “show, don’t tell” is overused. However, when placed next to the step above, it becomes very […]
  42. 11 Awesome & Inspiring Facebook Campaigns - DreamGrow - […] Takeaway: Create a campaign that makes people arrive at insights rather than saying what you have to say outright.…
  43. The Scribe #3 – Blogaholic - […] Also, shockingly, you need to make sure that you mention a bit about each of the main characters. Don’t…
  44. 44 Unique Ways To Tell Your Partner “I Love You” | Workout at Home - […] the world of writing, there’s a saying that goes ‘show, don’t tell.’ It’s much more compelling to have your…
  45. Show, Don’t Tell – Zistory - […] The Write Practice explains this as the use of details. The first example used describes a plot. The second example…
  46. Week 6: Craft, Show & Don’t Tell, Syntax & Metaphor and Word Choice (Greg) – Toni Butcher Journalism - […] to Show, Don’t Tell – The Write Practice. [online] The Write Practice. Available at: https://thewritepractice.com/show-dont-tell/ (Accessed 9 Nov. […]
  47. Week Six: Crafting: show and don’t tell, word choice, metaphor and syntax. – Emilia Kettle Journalism - […] J. (2016). The Secret to Show, Don’t Tell – The Write Practice. Available at: https://thewritepractice.com/show-dont-tell/,Accessed 9 Nov. […]
  48. Stand Up: A Guide to Bystander Intervention – Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review - […] time to apply some classic writing advice: show, don’t […]
  49. HOW TO BECOME A GOOD WRITER – Sports - […] “Show, don’t tell” is one of the most common—and most overused—writing cliches out there. The reality is there are…
  50. Hello! My partner and I love this blog. We were wondering if you had any exercises from someone who ‘tells not show’ and and someone who is stuck on the passive voice? Thank you! – Fix Your Writing Habits - […] The Secret to Show Don’t Tell […]
  51. Show and (don’t) Tell | Mexican Silver - […] https://thewritepractice.com/show-dont-tell/ […]
  52. Show, Don't Tell: How to Inject Drama Into Your Writing - The Write Practice - […] probably heard the age-old adage of “show, don’t tell” at least a thousand times in your writing career so…
  53. Review of Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee – No Wasted Time - […] you to listen to the context in a way that most writing never attempts. You’ve heard of the “show-don’t-tell” policy…
  54. Building Your Brand’s Digital Presence – 4 Strategic Steps to Follow | Digital Marketing Philippines - […] To learn more about this technique, check out this post. […]
  55. The Ultimate Point of View Guide: Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited vs. First Person | Creative Writing - […] “Show, don’t tell,” we’re told. Sharing all the emotions of all your characters can become distraction. It can even destroy…
  56. Show Don't Tell: How to “Tell” When You Can’t “Show” - The Write Practice - […] standard rule is this: “show, don’t tell.” Instead of telling your reader that Jane is “sad,” show the reader…
  57. Show Don’t Tell: How to “Tell” When You Can’t “Show” | Creative Writing - […] standard rule is this: “show, don’t tell.” Instead of telling your reader that Jane is “sad,” show the reader…
  58. Wacky Word Wednesday #8: Show-don't tell-your character's emotions - Jennifer Olson - […] writers, more than those that write non-fiction, have to show what is happening within a scene. This allows the…
  59. Ten Secrets To Write Better Stories | Creative Writing - […] the saying “show, don’t tell” is overused. However, when placed next to the step above, it becomes very […]
  60. Show don’t tell! Or Tell don’t show? – A new storyteller - […] The Writer Practice: Secrets to Show. Don’t tell. -> https://thewritepractice.com/show-dont-tell/ […]
  61. 2 Good Reasons to Break Writing Rules – user's Blog! - […] clichés; never split infinitives; use only “said”; avoid adverbs; show, don’t tell; don’t use the passive voice; show us who your character…
  62. Writing…No Rules, but Guidelines – Jasmyne Emmerick - […] Show. Don’t tell mantra […]
  63. Is “Show, Don’t Tell” Good Advice? | Writing Rambles - […] https://thewritepractice.com/show-dont-tell/ […]
  64. Don’t tell . . . SHOW! – Mark Cheverton - […] The Secret to Show, Don’t Tell […]
  65. Don't tell . . . SHOW! | Mark Cheverton - […] The Secret to Show, Don’t Tell […]
  66. Show, don’t tell – Shan Hays – under construction - […] It’s the knife plunging into the victim’s heart versus the assassin killing the victim. Joe Bunting calls this being…
  67. Techniques on Tuesday: Show me, show me, show me how you do that trick – FordWrit - […] that trick” said the cure – if you need more info then take a look a Standoutbooks or Thewritepractice for…
  68. How to Show Don't Tell in Your Narrative Essay – Kibin Blog - […] However, if I were going to use that story in a narrative essay, I would want to do so…
  69. How to Use a Little Hurt for Deeper Characterization - […] minor injury can help you show those characteristics instead of […]
  70. Guide for Aspiring Writers – Scrittrice - […] the saying “show, don’t tell” is overused. However, when placed next to the step above, it becomes very […]
  71. Character Development: Create Characters that Readers Love - […] This is where your character shows who he or she is, which also means this is the best example…
  72. How to Use Scrivener to Write Scenes That Work - […] very word “scene” implies a visual medium, and as writers we are often admonished to “show, don’t tell.” Good…
  73. How to Use Scrivener to Write Scenes That Work – Books, Literature & Writing - […] word “scene” implies a visual medium, and as writers we are often admonished to “show, don’t tell.” Good advice…
  74. The Ultimate Point of View Guide: Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited vs. First Person - - […] “Show, don’t tell,” we’re told. Sharing all the emotions of all your characters can become distraction. It can even destroy…
  75. The Ultimate Point of View Guide: Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited vs. First Person – Top News Rocket - […] “Show, don’t tell,” we’re told. Sharing all the emotions of all your characters can become distraction. It can even destroy…
  76. The Ultimate Point of View Guide: Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited vs. First Person – Charlotte’s Blog - […] “Show, don’t tell,” we’re told. Sharing all the emotions of all your characters can become distraction. It can even destroy…
  77. The Ultimate Point of View Guide: Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited vs. First Person – GaleForceNews.com - […] “Show, don’t tell,” we’re told. Sharing all the emotions of all your characters can become distraction. It can even destroy…
  78. The Ultimate Point of View Guide: Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited vs. First Person - News For the Informed! - […] “Show, don’t tell,” we’re told. Sharing all the emotions of all your characters can become distraction. It can even destroy…
  79. The Ultimate Point of View Guide: Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited vs. First Person – The News Stories - […] “Show, don’t tell,” we’re told. Sharing all the emotions of all your characters can become distraction. It can even destroy…
  80. The Ultimate Point of View Guide: Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited vs. First Person :;|- Cooking Tips and Reviews - […] Show, don’t tell ,” we’re told. Sharing all the spirits of all your people can become distraction. It […]
  81. Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited vs. First Person – Lederto.com Blog - […] “Show, don’t tell,” we’re told. Sharing all the emotions of all your characters can become distraction. It can even destroy…
  82. The Ultimate Point of View Guide: Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited vs. First Person – My WordPress - […] “Show, don’t tell,” we’re told. Sharing all the emotions of all your characters can become distraction. It can even destroy…
  83. How to Develop Story Ideas Into Amazing Stories | Danny Gesmundo - […] you aren’t writing about a character’s life, you are writing about his or her problem. Specific, vivid items will…
  84. How to Develop Story Ideas Into Amazing Stories – Gadget Searcher - […] you aren ’ t discussing a character ’ s life, you are blogging about his/her issue. Specific, vibrant information…
  85. Deep POV: 6 Key Details to Use in the Beginning of a Book (and Beyond!) - […] Focus on describing what it feels like to the character to be angry or hurt or deliriously happy, rather…
  86. How to Write a Story: The 10 Best Secrets - […] the saying “show, don’t tell” is overused. However, when placed next to the step above, it becomes very […]
  87. Top 8 How To Show Not Tell Pain - Mobitool - […] Quote from the source: … […]

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