A writing exercise: show-not-tell

This short piece was an exercise in show-not-tell.  The idea was to evoke a character through actions only.  It was one of those short, sharp 10 minute exercises where you have to write freely, without pause, without dwelling on individual words. It made me think I should put myself under this sort of pressure more often…

A man ran up to the door and pushed at it.  It did not yield. He bent down, lifted the letter box cover and stared in.  ‘I know you’re in there!’ he growled.  He stepped back from the door then turned and heaved his right shoulder against it.  Nothing.  He lunged at the door a second time and again the door did not yield.  He lifted his foot and drove his boot hard against the lock.  There was a crack as the frame began to surrender.  A second heavy kick with his heel and the door burst open.  He grabbed his bag and powered into the narrow hallway.  Ahead of him, the door from the kitchen into the back yard was ajar.  ‘Bitch,’ he muttered, before turning on his heels.

Back on the pavement, he scanned the street from end to end.  A red Mini caught his attention.  He strode towards it, shoulders tight; dropping his bag, he stooped to pick up a brick from the gutter. He fell upon the car, thumping a dent into the bonnet with his free hand before bringing the brick down hard against the windscreen.  It shattered, scattering shards of glass across the front seats.  He paced back and forth for a few moments, breathing heavily, fists clenched tight, the veins bursting on his neck.  He tugged at his pocket, freeing a mobile phone.  As he assaulted the keypad, the whoop-whoop of a police siren commanded his attention.  ‘She’s taken off, dumped the car; I gotta get clear,’ he grizzled into the mouthpiece.  As the police car rounded the corner and blue flashes strobed the terrace, he pulled his collar up, threw his bag into one of the tiny front gardens then dodged into an alleyway and vanished into the dusk.


Author: Jools

Abundant, Bold, Confident, Determined, Empathetic, Forthright, Grumpy, Healthier, Individual, Just me, Kind, Loving, Mellifluous, Natural, Optimistic, imPatient, Quirky, Real-world, Single-minded, unTreatable, Unwound, Verbal, Wilful, eXtraordinary, Young and old, Zero-tolerance.

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