Friday, April 10, 2015

Go Teen Writers: SHOW ME Contest

Shannon Dittemore is the author of the Angel Eyes trilogy. She has an overactive imagination and a passion for truth. Her lifelong journey to combine the two is responsible for a stint at Portland Bible College, performances with local theater companies, and a focus on youth and young adult ministry. For more about Shan, check out her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Today, we're going to stretch our SHOWING skills. We've talked a little about the difference between showing and telling on Go Teen Writers, but here's a crash course.

In our stories, it is important to SHOW the reader what's going on. Sure, we do that by penning words, but those words are best used to paint a picture and not simply to list things that happen. The farther we get from painting pictures the closer we get to TELLING.

Showing is something we are always striving to get better at. It's part of the craft we never, ever have completely figured out. And there are all sorts of disclaimers because sometimes it's perfectly okay to simply get it out and tell the reader.

But what makes a story unputdownable is a writer's ability to climb inside a reader's brain and SHOW them something. Something beautiful maybe. Something terrifying. Something new. Something that matters.

Novels, as a whole, should show a story. And it's fairly easy to know when that's happened. It's a little harder to fine-tune your sentences and paragraphs. It's harder to SHOW a character is angry or hurt or happy without just flat out saying it. It takes effort and that's just what we're going to do today.

SO! Here it is. The contest.

Your character is EXHAUSTED.

SHOW ME. 

Do not TELL me. Do not say, Elias is exhausted. Do not say, Elias is super tired. 

Be creative in this. Your character can be exhausted for whatever reason your genius brain can come up with. 
Just show it to me.


Contest specifics:

1. Your contest entry must be no longer than 150 words. It can be 149 words, but it CANNOT be 151 words. No exceptions.

2. You must be 21 or younger to enter. One entry per person. Your entry must be in English but writers from all countries are invited to participate.

4. Your entry must be submitted by Monday, April 20th.

5. Finalists will be announced Friday, May 1st and winners will be announced Friday, May 22nd. The top three winners will have their entries posted on the blog (if they'd like).

6. Entries will be judged using this form.

After the entries are narrowed to the finalists, the top three winners will be selected by the teen writers in my mentoring class who are also working on their craft. This is a great opportunity to receive feedback and have your writing looked at by your peers.

You enter by using the form below. Important: Entries are anonymous. The judges will not see names on any of the entries they read. We only use your name and email address to return your feedback to you and, if you final, to list your name on the website. Yes, you may use a pen name.

If you make a mistake on your entry, it is possible to resubmit, but please type the words DUPLICATE ENTRY at the top of the form.

Did I cover everything? I hope so!

NOW, crack those knuckles and SHOW ME some exhaustion!
 

38 comments:

  1. Yay! A contest! Thank you so much, Mrs. Dittemore! I'm getting to work on this right away. Can I use an "exhausted" scene from my manuscript? There are a lot of them, LOL.

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  2. I can't wait to start writing my scene! Thank you, this is a wonderful opportunity to test my showing skills. :)

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  3. I can't wait to get started! Thanks for the contest, Mrs. Dittemore!

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  4. Thanks for the contest, Mrs. Dittermore! I needed a writing boost :)

    Is it suppose to be written as the beginning of a story?

    Good luck to all who enter!

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    1. Nope! I don't care where it is in the story. Just EXHAUSTED.

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  5. This is awesome. And surprisingly hard. I just got my word count to a rounded 150. I'll be submitting as soon as I let my sister give it a read over :)

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    1. Hooray! I love that you're getting feedback first!

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  6. I'm having trouble figuring out whether my scene shows without any telling. Do you have an example I could look at for reference? It's a cool challenge:)

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    1. Hi, Mallory! I couldn't find any blog posts on the subject (I'm sure there are some. I'm probably just missing them.) so I'll do my best to explain with an example, as you requested:

      Telling:

      Elias was exhausted. He was hot and sweaty and probably smelled. He wished basketball practice didn't have to last so long. He also wished he'd never signed up to play in the first place. Some cheerleaders came by, singing one of their team chants. Emily smiled at him. Being short had some advantages in normal life--none on the court.

      Showing:

      Sweat ran down Elias's face in little rivulets that dripped in his eyes and stung. His uniform clung to his back. Elias leaned against his gym locker and slid down to the floor with a sigh, his muscles twinging in protest. Why did practice have go on for a whole hour?

      He snorted. Why did he sign up in the first place?

      A gaggle of cheerleaders skipped down the hallway, giggling and half-singing one of their team chants. He managed to summon enough energy to smile at Emily, the cute one with the curly brown hair. She smiled back.

      Well. Being short did have its advantages after all.
      ____

      It's not a perfect example, of course. Does that help, though?

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    2. Check out this blog post, Mallory. Steph's included a ton of great material on showing vs telling. There are examples as well. http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com/2014/04/how-to-show-your-story-instead-of.html

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    3. Hey, Mallory!
      I actually wrote a blog post about showing vs. telling recently if you'd like to check it out. http://dreaminghobbit.com/2015/03/how-to-tell-when-youre-showing/

      I hope you find it helpful. (:

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  7. Oh, I'm so excited about this! I'll definitely be submitting. :)
    I'm also amused, because I have a character named Elias and that was the first thing I ended up seeing when I clicked on this post. "What about him??"

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  8. Thanks, that does help! I do have one more question though. In the example you give, the character sounds both exhausted and exasperated. Does it matter if the focus is directly exhaustion? It seems like exhaustion is usually accompanied by another emotion. Just want to make sure. My character is both exhausted and defeated, but defeated is probably the stronger feeling.

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    1. I don't think I gave an example, Mallory. Linea may have and perhaps that's what you're talking about. The main thrust of your SHOW should be exhaustion. If you're able to accomplish more than that in 150 words, you have my blessing but know that the judges will be specifically looking for exhaustion.

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    2. Sorry, I meant to reply to Linea, but I accidentally commented instead. Thanks for answering my question!

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  9. Yay!!! This is going to be fun. :D Thank you for the contest!

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  11. OOOO!!! Excited for this one!! I think i am going to write a brand new part for this!

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  12. I saw the contest this Saturday and started thinking. Unfortunately, I am the kind of writer who sees pictures before she writes and the picture came to right in the middle of church. It is really hard to concentrate on a sermon when you have an idea trying to grab your attention. Thank you for hosting the contest though.

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  13. As a preacher's daughter, I absolutely get this. And I wish you luck.

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  14. Thanks for hosting this contest! Should my entry advance the plot, or will the judges be more focused on wordplay?

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    1. Doesn't matter. We'll only be looking at 150 words.

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  15. I have a question! I use . . . instead of ... and I know that some word count programs count . . . as 3 whole words. O_O Should I condense them in my entry? Will you guys count them as 3 words?

    Thanks! :)

    -Koko :)

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    1. It's best to go by the word count in your word processing program (MS Word or whatever).

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  16. I have a question. How would I denote paragraph breaks if the form is plain text? Could I use this: ¶ symbol?

    Getting all ready to submit :)

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    1. Not entirely sure, Amanda. If you want to use that symbol, go ahead. Others who've submitted using this form before may be able to tell you.

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  17. Seeing as though I felt true exhaustion this entire month with AACS competitions for our school, I can totally relate. :)

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    1. AACS! Cool! I was just at Nationals with my church's umbrella school group for the Bible Quiz tournament. :)

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  18. Can we still submit entries, or did we have to do it before today? Thanks!

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    1. So long as the form is still accepting entries, you can enter! We'll turn it off around midnight tonight.

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    2. Thanks! I entered! (With an entire 5 minutes to spare!) Here's to all the last minute contestants, "Good job!"

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