Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Telling Tuesdays 1/10/12

Welcome to Telling Tuesday, a day reminiscent of those in school when I looked forward to seeing what everyone brought for show and tell. This weekly feature was inspired by an article on WriteToDone.com, called "How to Show (Not Tell): A Writing Lesson from John LeCarre."

It is one of the best articles I've seen on the rule all writers know--show, don't tell--because it doesn't just tell us how not to tell, it shows us some of LeCarre's very own examples.

" . . . descriptions can set the scene, convey the inexpressible, and turn the reader into a witness, instead of remaining a mere bystander." -- Mary Jaksch, author of the article

Each week, I'll give a "telling" prompt, and invite you to show us, to make us a witness, not a mere bystander.


Hmmm . . . let's see. I must admit, I had a tough time coming up with a prompt this week. Imagine. I, as a writer, had a hard time coming up with one, measly sentence. That should tell you how lazy my muse has been lately. No, this morning she didn't want to get out of bed. Hey! There it is . . . my telling prompt! Now, wake your muse up and show me.

She didn't want to get out of bed.

Brave New World     

     She opened one eye and tried to focus on the clock. No luck. She'd have to open the other eye, too. The numbers across the room still a blob of red, she blinked until they became clear. 6:09. How could three little numbers be the harbinger of such dread? The day had begun.
     "Oh, just five more minutes," she mumbled, as if anyone would hear her plea. In denial, she pulled the covers over her head. The warmth was a magnet that held her tightly from the cold world outside her cocoon.
     But like the call of the wild, she forced herself--drew on every ounce of willpower--and peeked her head from under the covers to check the clock again.
     6:17. Ugh.
     The scent of coffee drifted in the air. She'd barely inhaled the aroma when her monster-lab, Bear, poked her exposed face with his ice-cold nose. His wagging tail pounded on the bed, like a demanding visitor knocking on the door.
     The day had begun. There'd be no ignoring it now. She threw off her covers and took in a deep breath. What adventures would the new day bring?


  1. Here’s my take on the photo -
    Welcome to the World Piggy Wrestling Championship, sponsored by Piggly Wiggly, Gold Bond foot powder, and Dr. Scholls insoles.

    In the blue corner, The Challenger, from a small shoe shop outside of Topeka, Kansas, let’s hear it for Little Miss Left Foot.

    In the red corner, the reigning World Champion, fresh from defending her crown against four competitors last week at the Shoe Palace in the Mall of America, give it up for Y-O-U-R . . . W-O-R-L-D . . . C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N . . . Angry Right Foot Fury.
    LMLF has kicked and scratched her way through several qualifying rounds and comes into the championship match with an overall record of twenty-four, two, and two.
    ARFF is undefeated in thirty-six matches. She known for her conservative style and tends to employ dirty tactics such as foot odor and toe-jam to overpower her opponents.

    This could go on for a while, so I’m going to let you guys come with the ending 

  2. Those damn stripes. Why did her husband, the self-appointed interior decorator, think stripes--and orange ones at that--would be a good idea?

    No wonder Marney awakened each morning with droopy, road-map eyes. Why she married a night owl who only needed four hours' sleep was beyond her. Of course, Jeff was good in bed. Maybe that had something to do with it.

    "Put A Ring On It" blared from the clock radio. Marney groaned and pounded the snooze button with her fist. If she could block out those glaring stripes, she just might get beyond REM sleep. She wrestled the heavy down comforter and sneezed. Damn down feathers, too.

    She just wanted one more hour of non-stripey, non-orange, dark blissful sleep. As she pulled the lead-heavy blanket over her head, a wet tongue explored her ear and a firmness pressed against her leg. She was never getting out of bed now.

  3. Jan, your post is soooo the way I feel nearly every morning. Who wants to get up, anyway?

    If I were going to show "she did not want to get out of bed," I think I'd write: "Morning weighed heavily, pressing her into the comfortable nest of warm blankets and soft pillows. Ah, to stay there until noon. That would be heaven."

  4. I'm on my iPhone now, on my way to Tulsa, so can't type much now, but these are WONDERFUL!!

    Russell, how creative. I wouldn't dare try to finish--I want to hear YOUR ending. :)

    Whoa, Beth! That's the beginning to a longer story I want to read. Are you sure you write children's stories? :)

    Ah, K.D.! Now, YOU know the desire to stay in bed!

  5. LOL. Thanks, Jan. I love to surprise people! And I hope that isn't your bedroom with those stripes. If it is, I LOVE them. :)

    I also write novels for adults and have a romantic suspense with quite a few sex scenes (not erotica but a little steamy). I may need to get a pen name since I also write for kiddos. What do you think?

  6. Beth, no worries--no striped sheets here. :) And as far as a pen name? You're do good at this genre, you might need one. :)

  7. Here's my quick tequlia memory from college:

    Last night’s tequila pinned her to the bed. Though sunlight filtered through slates in the shutters, she refused to open her eyes as the rocking of the room continued. She tried to maintain a chanting, ‘ohmmm’ as if that might somehow miraculously sober her up. If she could blink her eyes and turn to rubber, slide her way to the floor, then maybe slither to the bathroom, she stood a chance . . . she snorted at that irony. There would be no standing until well past noon, unless the boat that looked like her bedroom stopped dancing on top of the waves.

  8. Ooh, Linda! I'm afraid that brings back some memories--a long time ago! Especially like the last sentence. :)

  9. Gulp. Where's the Alka Seltzer? Brings back not-so-good memories for me, too, especially in Paris. Groan and well done.

    Russell, I loved your creative entry!!!

  10. This prompt hit home. I feel this way every week day when the alarm goes off and I have to go to work. Ok, here's mine. Short, not so sweet, but to the point.

    "Fuck it! I'm calling in sick!