Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Slick foam rubber smacks against the soles of Maia's feet to the tune of the aging grandfather clock in the living room.  Tick flop.  Flip tock.

She hurries past a black window where two luminescent eyes flicker unevenly at her from the other side.  In the dead of August days, Maia's hair burns just as brightly as those flickering bugs.  Now it's just knotted on top of her head to keep from smothering her neck.  What was once flowing and smooth was now a nest of uncontrollable frizz.

Stark white shorts hidden behind smears of summer fwap against the wall as she grabs a pair of jeans.  The dead duds on the floor came home in a bag from Mom's hand, not hers.  But the spaghetti straps are a must.  She would have preferred a tube top but Mom didn't allow those.  Yet.
Just one more night until 'teen' officially enters Maia's life.  The kids at school won't be able to call her a baby anymore.

The porch's screen door slams and Maia jumps at the call.  She frowns and walks to the window where an empty, velvet driveway waves back up at her.  The screen slams again and she looks to the trees just out of reach.  Their leaves hang heavy in the thick, humid air.  A stair creaks and Maia's heart starts racing the tocking of the grandfather clock.

First one to morning wins.


  1. I think you've done a great job here of showing and not telling; spaghetti straps to show the tank top, her hair the color of the bugs and the fact that it's up signifies it's long. I like the showing of her age as well along with the clever use of the clock with the flip flops!

    The only thing I don't get clearly from this is that she's necessarily home alone. Otherwise, great job and I love the final line as well!

  2. Good story layout, it carries us into
    her thoughts and sets up the scene.

    There is no mention of other humans around,
    so one could assume she is alone.

  3. I liked the first sentence a lot! I also thought the description of her hair was clever.

    I think "Countdown" would benefit from Maia speaking or thinking to herself. For example, "Oh! To think I only have to survive one more night and then I'll be an official teen. I'll never have to hear the kids at school calling me a baby anymore. Fantastic!"

    Nice job with this exercise. I enjoyed it!

  4. Super job! I love the tick flop flip tock. Very clever. I think you covered everything very well with showing, so you understand it better than I do.

    One place stopped me dead, however. When she tossed her shorts. I wondered what in the world "summer fwap" is. Ha!

  5. I agree. The tick tock flip tock thing was great, although I think the age reference was good as is. Part of showing is not telling, right? This is a lot harder than it seems, but I think this was awesome. Be careful about your verb tenses though. They switched on and off once or twice. :)

  6. Very nicely done. There's a lot of showing, and enough telling to break it up and give it a good rhythm. I love the attack on the senses: The ticking of the clock, the sounds of the flip flops on her feet, the stair creaking. Good visual with some tactile sense with the leaves hanging heavy in the humid air.

    Yes. Nicely done.

  7. This has a nice array of senses. Some of the descriptions were a bit overdone, though. The luminescent eyes and burning hair are a bit misleading, and don't paint a clear, unambiguous picture.

    Maia doesn't sound like a 12 year old girl. Showing is all about action (not decription), so Maia's actions show us who she as a person. There isn't much of that. There is some with the clothing, but the rest is subdued with very little action.

    Showing is all about how things happen, not that things happen. And I think if you applied your great use of senses to more action, you would have a scene that sings.


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