Tuesday, October 16, 2012

the "look" challenge

Last week, Shannon from Isle of Books tagged me in The "Look" Challenge
The "Look" Challenge is for bloggers who are also writers. It is a way to let others sneak a peek at your work. Here’s how it works. You search your manuscript for the word “look” and copy the surrounding paragraphs into a post to let other bloggers read. Then you tag five blogger/writers to invite them to the challenge.
Sounds like fun, right? It gives you a quick glimpse into a manuscript without asking the author to reveal the entire plot. 
It was also interesting to see how many times the word "look" already appears in my story. A lot more than I thought! So I cut the number in half and then cut that in half again, and here's what I was left with. I limited how many paragraphs to reveal because I didn't want to give away important plot points. 
But without further ado, here are my (rough draft!) excerpts. They are all from my WIP, a novel.
- 1 -

In the alley, in the dark, in rubber shoes and knitted socks, in the back, in the shadows. Under the overhang, under an umbrella, under the morning’s first probing light. With his eternally cold hands, with her sweater falling off her shoulders, with whispers, with guilt, with only a quick look between their kitchen windows. They meet there a few nights a week, usually not for long, and occasionally their eyes meet as they wash dishes in the morning, and they risk a scolding as they meet in the damp, dirty, useless strip of land between their buildings.

- 2 -

“I’ve made a mess of it, haven’t I?”
He looks down and she’s staring at him, worrying. He doesn’t remember what she was doing or when he stopped paying attention. “Of course not,” he says. “What are you talking about?”
“Oh never mind.”
“Don’t do that. C’mon. C’mon now, Ellen.” He strokes her hair. It feels unnatural, like petting a dog. “What is it?”

- 3 -

She went downstairs, to the sitting room outside the ladies’ restroom, and sank into one of the plush velvet chaises. Closing her eyes, she tried to imagine how the play might at all improve over the next half of the show. She hoped one brother would die at least. Or even better, perhaps one of the brothers would kill the other. While she was deciding which brother ought to die in order to save the show (she was leaning in favor of the fair-headed one), she heard the sound of footsteps above her. 
Thinking it must surely be intermission, she sprung up from her chair and went upstairs only to find the little corridor empty but for a lone figure. She didn’t look at him closely and was about to walk past, thinking she might circle the main lobby a few times while waiting for everyone else, when he turned and saw her and smiled—his teeth just a flash of lightness in the dark theater. 
“Miss Dandridge,” he said, nodding, and she knew him instantly by his voice.
“Mr. Reinhardt.” She stepped closer, still playing with the hem of her sleeve.
“Enjoying the show?” he asked.
“Not exactly.”
Wesley nodded. “I think they ought to do off with the blond brother.”

- 4 -

“Do you hear that?”
“Hear what?”
Nicholas was looking toward the fireplace. His eyes met Aurelia’s. “You don’t hear it?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. The wind?”
“It’s not windy today. Listen.”
“Isn’t it? I suppose I haven’t been out yet today. Perhaps I’ll go for a walk later in the park with Lara. Have you—”
“Just listen,” he murmured.
As Aurelia worked on her embroidery—she was stitching Wesley’s initials onto a handkerchief—she listened closely. She heard a bird’s wings as it flew past the window. She heard the soft thud of Nicholas’s hand as he gripped the arm of his chair. She heard an intake of breath. When she looked up again after finishing a stitch, Nicholas was staring at her.
“I’ve heard it all afternoon,” he said.
“Heard what?”
He shook his head like he was trying to shake water out of ears, and it was then that Wesley arrived.

- - - - -

I don't know many writer-bloggers, so if there are any others reading, please let me know and feel free to complete the challenge as well! I would like to tag:
1. Aubrey of Write, Aubrey, Write.
2. Laura of The Scarlet Letter.
3. Julie of The Read Room.


  1. See? Now you have to publish it, because I already like it! :) So intriguing.

    1. Thank you, really! It means a lot. This is the first time I've had anyone read it outside my writing classes (and you, B, and Railee a couple of times).

  2. So good Renee! I really want to read more now!

  3. I love the details in this first part. Thanks for tagging me. I've never put any of my fiction writing on the blog, and I kept compulsively editing the section. I finally had to just hit "Publish."

    Here is my post: http://hawthornescarlet.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-look-challenge-in-which-i-share.html

    1. I'd never posted any fiction on my blog either, so I understand your hesitation. But I'm so glad you're going for it. I can't wait to read it!

  4. Thanks! I'm flattered! I just did my post tonight. You can read it here: http://writeaubreywrite.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/a-look-at-my-book-through-the-look-challenge/

    1. You're welcome! Can't wait to check yours out :)


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