Friday, December 16, 2011

Deja Vu Blogfest: Show vs. Tell Example

Today I'm taking part in the Deja Vu blogfest hosted by DL Hammond. Click the link to see the other entrants. The idea is simple. Post a previous blog post that you think you might have been "missed" by the blogosphere. This was originally posted January 19th, 2011. As you will see, I missed a blogfest I wanted to participate in. So, what better post to repost for another blogfest?

I will say that the showing part has been revised. I'm trying to get it ready to submit somewhere, so please feel free to point out any areas that need work. (My updated notes in purple.)


January 19, 2011
I missed Misty's Show vs. Tell blogfest, but I really wanted to do it. So, I did it just for fun. She had several photos we could pick to use as inspiration. I placed the photo between the telling and the showing versions. Here you go.

Note 1: Um, sorry, I really got into the scene in my head and it came out a bit long. I'm not in the running for her awesome prizes, but would love to hear your comments. (There's also a tribute to one of my favorite authors, David Gerrold. Did you catch it?)

Note 2: I wrote this straight into blogger so it's a first draft, but I'm really excited about it. I'm thinking of expanding the idea to a three part short story. Kind of a past, present and future three segment thing. This would be the present. (You're not getting the first draft of showing section from January. I'm including the first 450 words of the most recent revision. The story is finished at 2,588 and needs to be fine tuned.)

Telling:
The alien ships landed Tuesday morning.

By the afternoon, the Allied forces were dumping everything we had on top of them. They sent me to the front line to make sure nothing walked out alive, because I'm the best. Conflicted, I prepared to do my job. Then the distress signal came in.

Someone on those ships knew my name. They called to me for help. And I went.

The angel waiting for me asked for my help, and I plead for her forgiveness as I scooped her into my arms. One look at my squad and I knew they had my back. Our lives became hers, and we would sacrifice everything to protect her.

But first we had to reach safety.

Showing:
Eight hours of freedom. That’s all I had left when the call came in.

“Briggs, turn on the T.V.” It was my weapons specialist, Dingilliad.

“What channel?” I picked up the remote.

“Doesn’t matter.”

The screen snapped on. An alien space ship had entered earth’s orbit three hours ago.

“Holy crap.”

A petite blond sat at the desk and read the report.
“The ship has been circling the globe, pausing at seemingly random places. Those who have observed the object report a low melancholy music emanating from within. These people have their own idea as to what the ship is doing here.”

The screen split to show a pastoral countryside in Scotland. An old man spoke in a heavy accent.

“The music was heartbreaking.” His shoulders slumped and his lip quivered. “It reminded me of when my Sarah passed away. They’ve lost something and now they’re looking for it.”

The newswoman frowned. “Similar stories are being reported all over the world. Could they be searching for something? Wait one moment,” She touched her ear and cocked her head to the side. Her brow furrowed and then she lowered a shaking hand. “The ship is now passing over the United States. It is currently moving down the coast from Maine. The Department of Defense is calling all off duty and inactive military staff to action. We encourage all civilians to remain in their homes until further notice.”

Dingilliad’s voice reminded me there was a phone in my hand.

“Chigger is here already. Come get us so we can get back to base. We don’t want to miss this one.”

“Yeah, on my way.”

****

I stood, binoculars in hand, at the edge of the desert in New Mexico. Dirt, yucca, and creosote bushes as far as the eye could see. The only difference today was the ship slowing to a stop five kilometers to the north of us. Ten miles from Roswell. The irony wasn’t lost on any of us.

The ship hovered over the desert. There was no shiny silver metal. No smooth surfaces or blinking lights. It looked like a floating hunk of scrap metal. Lumpy, brown, rusted, and pitted from micro-impacts it was a fifty foot oblong asteroid. No one would have thought it pretty, and yet it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

I shook my head and turned to Chigger. “Can you believe this?”

“Every sci fi movie I’ve ever seen is running through my head.” He pointed back at the ship. “Look.”

A long dagger like antenna grew from the top of the ship. Then a shorter one from the bottom, and two fin like protuberances from the sides.

Q4U: What do you think? Is there enough to pull you in or am I taking too long to get to it?

13 comments:

  1. that was a great show! and a good example of a bad tell =)
    nice replay!

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  2. I think this story is amazing. It's exciting, pacing is perfect, characters are interesting, setting is great, and the story is compelling. You should totally send it in to Analog.

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  3. It's really good! What a great example of show vs tell.

    Thanks so much for joining the Blogfest!

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  4. Love the showing vs telling post. Definitely something writers need to nail. I'm a follower now!

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  5. Great example of showing vs telling. I think you did fantastic!

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  6. Showing usually involves dialogue and that made a huge difference in the second!

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  7. That was both an excellent example of show vs tell, as well as a compelling little story. I was hooked!

    Thank you for re-re-posting this today! :)

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  8. I love show vs. tell posts! So glad you re-posted this! I agree with Alex--the dialogue makes all the difference.

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  9. Thank you everyone! I've got this with my crit group and I'll keep you posted if I actually manage to sell it. Might have word by, what? March or April. LOL, trying to love the waiting game.

    Tara and Nisa, I'm really good at bad telling. ;)

    You've inspired me Michael. I'm going to go for it.

    Lydia, and DL thanks for co-hosting the blogfest.

    Heather, welcome to my blog.

    LynNerdKelley, Yay! Thanks.

    Alex and Sarah, I think you nailed it. Dialogue really made the story come to life. Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Show versus tell ... so important! Great post. :)

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  11. Awesome awesome awesome. As you know, I don't read much sci fi but this sucked me in. Great job! :-)

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  12. I like how you made the spaceship different than what is usually displayed by media.

    The only suggestion I have is to slightly reword the sentence that starts The only different today was in the second half. It doesn't exactly go right with the previous sentence in MHO.

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