11 February 2015

Wednesday Writing Prompt #10

This week it's the Show & Tell Technique - and there's no gold stars for guessing which is which.

It was a stormy night. Tessa checked the windows, trying to find the one she could hear banging, when the electricity failed and the lights went out. And then the banging stopped and she felt very alone.

Tessa pulled back the curtain to thump the heel of her hand against the casement. It held firm. Where was the one she could hear banging? A squall hit the glass with the force of thrown gravel and she stepped back, the billowing curtain impeding her escape. In the garden opposite, the fir trees were bending further than they should have been able; the streetlight stanchion rocking wildly. It looked too thin not to snap under the stress. Someone in the house over the road was checking their windows, too, and seeing an arm silhouetted against the light from the room behind made her fight her way free of the curtain and cross the lounge. She had a torch somewhere.... where? The power was sure to go. Candles? When did she last use candles?
The window in the study was secure, the two in the dining room. Perhaps it wasn’t a window she could hear. Perhaps it was a door? She stood to listen, the wind shrieking through the tiny gaps in the house, slapping gritty rain against the windows. She’d checked the doors.
But not the one to the garage.
Tessa pushed into the kitchen as the lights flickered, took a step towards the passage as the power died. One moment there was the comforting hum of the fridge, the rattle of the dishwasher going through its cycle – the next there was nothing but a blackness she knew was full of discarded shoes to turn her ankle and stools to catch her knee.
Wait until your eyes adjust.
Except they didn’t. The darkness was total. There was just the smashing of the rain against the window, the shrieking of the wind, the rhythmic bang, bang, banging--
And then there was no banging. Just the rain against the unseen window, the shrieking of the wind which sounded far, far too human.

Okay, so the Tell is bare-bones statement telling, but my point here is that the Show is one aspect of the Show technique. It isn’t truly showing from Tessa’s viewpoint, but giving the impression of doing so by the use of pacing and atmosphere.

In truth, this follows on very much from the Writing Prompt #8 where character traits were shown rather than stated. Have fun!

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