Show, Don’t Tell Challenge Share Day


How did you go with the challenge this month?

As a reminder of what this month’s challenge entailed, or for those who are coming in late and still want to have a go, this was the challenge:

Show, Don’t Tell Challenge

1. Below I will list three ‘telling’ sentences and a photo.

2. Your challenge is to pick one of the sentences or the photo and write a descriptive paragraph or flash fiction (no more than 300 words).

3. You must not use the ‘banned’ word in your piece.

4. You must use each of the five senses.

5. You have two weeks to complete the challenge. In two weeks I will share my challenge piece and invite you to share yours in the comments.

Here are the sentences (and you are more than welcome to do more than one if you want!):

1. I was scared. (banned word = SCARED)

2. The boy ate an apple. (banned word = APPLE)

3. It’s a great party. (banned word = PARTY)

And here’s the photo:


(banned word = KITTEN or CAT)

Please share your piece in the comments below!

I picked the kitten picture for my piece. Here it is:

An orange ball of fur curled up among long tendrils of grass. Small and scared, it huddles, making tiny mews. I stroke its soft fur–like stroking a cloud–and pick it up with a gentle touch. His whiskers tickle my cheek. His breath is milky and sweet, reminding me of milkshakes at the little cafe by the lake. Blue eyes blink up at me. He searches my face, “Are you my mummy?”

The next challenge will go up in the first week of February.

2 thoughts on “Show, Don’t Tell Challenge Share Day”

  1. I just came across this challenge today, so this is a rough draft. But I am trying to improve my “show, don’t tell” skills, so I thought I’d participate.
    Thanks for hosting the challenge
    I did “I am scared”:
    I scuffed my feet all the way up to the front of the class to give my speech. I clutched the podium, but my sweaty hands slipped off. I was one big ball of sweat, and I hoped the rest of the class couldn’t smell it rolling off of me. I looked up and blinked my eyes, as the class members seemed out of focus. I looked back down at my sheets of paper and swallowed. Or I tried to swallow, but my mouth was too dry. It had a metallic taste to it too. I wish I had a glass of water. I rubbed my left arm with my right. I took a deep breath and stammered out a few words. “Louder,” yelled someone from the back.


    1. Don’t worry about it being a first draft, I have kids on school holidays at the moment, so mine was a bit last minute, too.

      You’ve done a great job incorporating all five senses and bringing across the image of fear/anxiety. ‘The metallic taste’ was my favourite description–taste is usually the hardest sense to incorporate. In your redraft play around with changing some of your sentence starters for variation. The dialogue in the last sentence added an extra element of realism to the scene. Great job!


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