Show Don't Tell Contest Message Forum
Welcome to the SHOW DON'T TELL Contest!
Show, don't tell! How many times have you heard that? We all know it's one of the toughest things to do. Some editors and agents will decide whether or not to read your submission based only on how well your first sentence does this. Our contest is all about showcasing and practicing this important skill.
The most basic rule for our contest is that you must show all the facets of your story as opposed to telling them. Each month, we'll give you four or five sentences that will serve as a story prompt. Your task will be to write a story that includes the information in the prompt. You will need to show that information--along with all the other aspects your story. This contest is all about showing and not telling.
November, 2019 prompt
It's the Friday after Thanksgiving, and Ruby is in a crowded shopping mall.
Ruby dislikes crowds.
A rude person pushes her against and then through a blank door, which opens into a featureless corridor between two mall stores.
She has an emotional reaction to what she sees at the end of the corridor.
Besides showing these mundane events, please remember to write a story, complete with tension, a beginning, a middle, and an end. If you prefer a male protagonist, use "Roscoe" instead of "Ruby." You can use the above sequence to set up your story, or as the entire story--it's your choice. Just be sure to show all of the above elements. Note that you can choose what kind of emotional reaction Ruby has--fear, awe, laughter, whatever. Be specific and be sure to show it through her words, deeds, and/or sensations.
Ruby should want something--perhaps she's shopping for a present for someone special, or she's looking for the person who accompanied her to the mall, or maybe she's having a panic attack and just wants out of the crowd of shoppers. What she wants has to matter--those are the stakes. Finally, there needs to be an obstacle to her achieving her goal. Goals, stakes, and obstacles are the basics of tension and hence plot.
In order to be sure all entries receive a fair reading, we will limit the number of entries in each round of the contest round to ten. Entries are first-come-first served, so enter early! You may enter only once in each round, but you may enter every contest round if you wish.
What are the rules? ▼
Will my entry be disqualified if I don't follow the rules? ▼
What are the prizes? ▼
Is there a limit to the number of entries in each contest round? ▼
How often and for how long does the contest run? ▼
What is the deadline for entries? ▼
What are the judging criteria? ▼
I'm really pumped! Can I enter more than one story? ▼
What are the other rules? I've got this awesome, unfinished erotic poem in non-rhyming choriambic foots. Can I enter it? I know you'll love it! ▼
May I edit my story after I enter? ▼
Contest Judges ▼
LInks to stuff ▼
Past Winners ▼
Our Generous Contest Sponsors ▼
How do I enter? ▼
The November, 2019 round of the contest is now open!
As of 7AM, November 13, there are 5 entries in the contest.
There are 5 remaining openings.
Contest closes for judging in
or when there are ten entries, whichever happens first.