Show, don’t tell

Gosh, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, hey? I’ve been SO busy. But now it’s time for Rachael’s third and final campaigner challenge! The rules for this one emphasize that we show, not tell. I like this challenge a lot, as it helps refine our writing to make it more active.

Here is the challenge:

Write a blog post in 300 words or less, excluding the title. The post can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should show:

  • that it’s morning, 
  • that a man or a woman (or both) is at the beach
  • that the MC (main character) is bored
  • that something stinks behind where he/she is sitting
  • that something surprising happens.

Just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: “synbatec,” “wastopaneer,” and “tacise.”   (NB. these words are completely made up and are not intended to have any meaning other than the one you give them).

And, as I have done for all of these campaigner challenges, I have experimented with a format outside my comfort zone. Just to see if it works. I fudged on the ages of the “man” and “woman” but they’re still male and female so I hope it still counts. And it’s 300 words, exactly. So now, without further ado, I present:



“Yes, Alex?”

“What’cha reading?”

Pride and Prejudice.”

“By Jane Austen?”

“Of course!”

“Is it good?”

“Yeah, so far.”



“Do you have any sunscreen?”

“It’s in my bag.”

“Where? Oh there it is. Eww, I touched your bra.”

“Oh grow up.”



“When are we gonna go swimming?”

“After breakfast.”

“When do you think we’ll eat?”

“In about an hour, I’d guess.”


“Quit picking sand out of your swim trunks, Alex!”

“But it hurts my —.”

“I did not need to know that. Lay on a beach towel.”



“Do you have something I could read?”

“Yeah, here.”

“Cool. Psychology Today. Whad’jya buy this for?”

“It had an interesting article.”

“Which one?”

“I dunno. Read it and you tell me.”

“‘The Adolescent Mind.’ Looks good.”

“Now be quiet!”



“What’s synbatec mean?”

“I don’t know, figure it out!”

“Okay, I’ll try. Sin-ba-tec. Sinn bah tek. Siiiin baaaa tekk…”

“Oh for heaven’s sake. How’s it used?”

“‘Studies have shown that an individual’s wastopaneer increases when tacise measurements of the synbatec are made.’”

“Oh. Gosh, I really don’t know. That’s a tough one.”

“I thought so. HA!”




“Please don’t yell at me again.”

“I won’t.”


“Yes Alex, I promise.”


“WHAT! I mean, what? See, I’m smiling. I’m not yelling.”

“You’ve got a spider crawling up your bikini top.”

“AAAHHH!!! Where?? Where??”

“Ha ha, just kidding!”



“WHAT, Alex?”

“You should really say ‘excuse me’ when you do that.”

“That’s not me. That’s the dead fish you’re laying on.”

“What dead fish, where??”

“Right there, under your head.”

“EWWW, GROSS! Get it away!! Ewwww!!”

“Ha ha ha! Oh, that is good! Ha!”

“Ugh! Man, that’s just gross! Ick! Gross! Ugh!”



“Let’s go see if breakfast is ready.”


If you liked this, I’m #115 on Rachael’s Campaigner Linky-link page; please pop over to that page and click “like” on my link, I’d really appreciate it. And then read everyone else’s and “like” the ones you like, too.  🙂

*EDIT -- I changed a clunky couple of words after a few of you read it. 
I don't think it changed anything substantially, and since it's before the midnight 
deadline, I thought I'd fix it before it's set in stone and I had to stare at it forever, lol. 
It was where Alex reacts to finding out he's laying on a dead fish. Just wanted to 
really emphasize how grossed out he was. :)

15 responses to “Show, don’t tell

  1. This is a fun entry! I love your take on the challenge.
    And Alex’s boredom really shines through!
    Mine is #25.

  2. Love the way you used the words! Reminds me of my grandchildren & their mothers! Lol! Good job! ; )

  3. I love the dialogue in it! This is good dialogue although I’m sure how she ended up laying on top of a dead fish but I liked how with the repetition of him calling her makes him both endearing and annoying! I’ve clicked on “Like”. Good luck with it.

  4. The “dialogue only” piece. I’ve done a few of those, and yours is quite effective! Enjoyed the conversation between your characters. 🙂

  5. Love how you created an entire scene through dialog alone!

  6. Loved this , wow! all dialogue…….cool.

  7. Hey! Guess what?! You’re moving on to the next round in the judging process. 🙂 Congrats!

    🙂 Margo

  8. I love the fact that you told the entire story through dialogue! I thought that was really awesome! Great job!

    I’m entry #5

  9. Enjoyed the story and congrats on moving to the next round! Saw your link on Ladies Who Critique. Mine is listed there as well.

  10. Great piece. I’ve moved you on to the second round of judging. 🙂 Woot! Woot!

  11. Hi Kelly, congratulations on making it to the final 12! I’ve now judged the entries, and you’ve come in First!!! WOOT! I was so impressed with how you’ve conveyed your story using dialogue alone AND managed to fulfill all the criteria for the Challenge (even the optional ones) too! And to top it off, your characterization was spot-on and funny – I can easily imagine two kids chatting to each other like that. Well done you!!!

    Don’t forget to pop by Rach Writes… to see what you’ve won, I hope you like it!



    • Thank you!!! It was a lot of fun to write, too. It was the kind of thing where, once the dialogue got into my head, I couldn’t imagine writing it any other way.

      Thanks so much for the prizes, too! Were you peeking over my shoulder when my husband and I were picking up all those brochures on travel in Ireland last year at Irish Fest? 🙂

  12. I didn’t see your entry before but very impressed. Well done and congratulations on winning. Really great dialogue.

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