Stay tuned for the 200+ followers celebration coming shortly!
The fabulous Elizabeth Mueller is hosting the Breaking the Rules blogfest today, in which we get to show off our early attempts at writing when we didn't know, or didn't care about the rules. Here's an excerpt from one of my early short stories in which I ignore the show-don't-tell rule,and it's a flashback no less:
The day had been one of those perfect spring afternoons, sunny and warm and bright. Carly could remember how the grass and the sky had gleamed with vibrant color as she watched Jakey run around on the lawn chasing rainbow colored soap bubbles and laughing. Laughing and running.
And running and screaming when the aliens' android soldiers had come crashing around the corner and ransacked the street, searching the houses for children. Then it seemed that everyone was screaming. Mothers and fathers chasing after their children. The teachers from the school across the street. But worst of all, the screams of the children themselves, as they watched the soldiers shoot down their parents and teachers with their deadly rifles that turned the adults into twisted masses of melting, burning flesh before the children's innocent eyes...
They didn't know why the Invaders' soldiers had taken all the children, but it was rumored that the Invaders (who apparently couldn't stand earth's atmosphere themselves) intended to make brainwashed slaves of the children, who would willingly and gladly mine all the earth's resources for the murdering Invaders, once the aliens had rid the world of their parents. Carly thought she would rather see Jakey dead, than think of him as a slave for those monsters.
Yikes, huh? Would you rather see it in scene instead of summary? I took this story back out a while back and rewrote it entirely. It went from a 2300 word telling-fest to a 23,000 word novella. Here's the redo of this scene, not shown in flashback. (Jakey got his name changed to Caleb):
Carly Emerson sat cross-legged on the grass on a bright Indian summer day in Provo, and blew a long stream of soap bubbles into the air. Two-year-old Caleb laughed with delight. He stretched his pudgy hands over his head and skipped across the front lawn, under the shade of the cottonwood tree, chasing the bubbles as the sweet September breeze lifted them up and out of his reach. Carly laughed, too, watching him. The bubbles glimmered with iridescent rainbows.
Carly sent another lazy stream floating in Caleb's direction. A rumbling arose like distant thunder. It couldn't be thunder, though. Not from a sky as endless blue as this one. The rumbling went on. Carly swiveled to look over her shoulder, but could see nothing.
"More bubbles, Mommy!" Caleb shouted. Carly obliged, but uneasiness marred her enjoyment. Caleb's giggles clashed against the growing thrum of . . . something. Carly stood up. It sounded like an army of heavy machinery approaching. Something wasn't right. She started toward Caleb.
Screams and cries and the sharp crack of gunfire arose in the distance.
He was at the far edge of the yard. Carly dropped the bottle of bubbles and ran toward him. Her only thought was to get him inside.
"Mommy!" He ran with his arms outstretched, his face twisted with fear.
Giant metallic men, pitch black and faceless, came pounding around the corner onto their little street. There were a dozen or more of them. They carried weapons Carly didn't recognize. Some of them carried children; shrieking, frightened children. She saw little Ethan Parker among them, from the next street over. Her gut twisted with primal fear. They had nearly reached Caleb.
She almost had him. Her fingertips brushed against his waist as a cold, dark hand closed around his arm and snatched him away from her. "Caleb!" She couldn't think, couldn't breathe. His terrified cries shattered her heart.
She started to run after him, but the great black soldier was already beyond her. Another of the soldiers swung its weapon in her direction. She dropped just as it fired. A tree limb cracked and fell, smoldering, beside her. The leaves and branches came down on top of her. She threw her arms over her head, waiting for another shot, but it didn't come. The tumult quieted as the unnatural soldiers moved on. She couldn't hear Caleb crying anymore. He was too far away. She'd never get to him now. A crushing weight of pain held her in its grip. She curled into a ball against the tree limb, pressed her face into the grass and prayed to die.
A little better, I hope! Be sure to check out Elizabeth's site to read the other participants' broken rules moments.