Dreamer (revision)

The last post for Dreamer that I published I decided that I absolutely hated, so I worked on a little revision. I’m proud to say that I think I’m really starting to grasp the concept of showing rather than telling. I’ll let you be the judge. So what do you think of this revision?


The bus dropped her off just a few blocks from home; while on her walk home she mentally tried to prepare herself for every disaster possible. This was the only way she made it through this time in her life. It was like praying to God every night before you go to sleep; although she herself had stopped praying, hoping, and wishing long ago.

She walked into Mount Shadow subdivision and quickly moved out of the way, as she saw headlights making a turn into the subdivision. The car stopped just a ways passed the entrance, letting the passenger exit the vehicle before making an abrupt U Turn for the exit.

The former passenger looked to be twelve year-old girl, who had begun to walk down the road toward her street. It was dark and Rebecca knew how sketchy this place could be after dark. She walked over to the girl and offered to walk home with her.

“Please, you think that this is my first day? Girl I’ve lived here for years, I’m fine I can take care of myself.”

The young girl’s sassy attitude made her chuckle.

“And what’s so funny?”

“Nothing you’re just so full of pep, but still regardless of your peppiness I think that you would be much safer if you had someone walking home with you. You’re far too young to be walking around here at night by yourself.”

The girl rolled her eyes, “Okay fine if it makes you feel better.”

“Thank you.”

“Dang I can’t wait until I’m older so no one will look at me like I’m defenseless little baby.”

“Ha, ha, well you’re not too far off from that age and it’ll come up quick.”

“Yeah, yeah that’s what all y’all adults say.”

When they got to the girl’s home there were no lights on, nor cars in the driveway.

“Do you have a key to get inside?”

The girl nodded, as she pulled it out from her pocket.

“Okay, well make sure to lock the door after you get inside, and to not answer the door for anyone.”

“Oh shoot I know that, what you think I’mma do? Answer the door to let some pervert kidnap me.”

“Alright, I’m just saying.”

The girl laughed, “Thanks for walking me home, you know, you pretty cool.”

“Thanks and you’re the sassiest girl I think I’ve ever met.

“I get it from my mama, see ya.”


She watched to make sure that the girl got inside okay and then walked toward her own street. As she drew nearer to her street from the main road of the subdivision, she began to spot bits of littered trash in the gutters leading up to her street. She stopped in front of a street sign and looked up at it for a moment. Howlet St, yep she was home.

As she began to walk down Howlet she looked at the gutters on both sides of the road that were filled with paper, candy wrappers, soda cans, and gum. In some hedges that she passed she could just barely see a melted crack spoon; which reflected off of the light of a streetlight.

She stopped at house number 84 and took a deep breath before entering the house.

As she shut the door behind her, Jacob her step father was just sitting down on the couch and placing a sandwich bag on the coffee table.

“How was school?” he asked as he dug around in his sweatpants pocket for his pipe and lighter.

“I’m surprised that you would actually ask,” she said as she looked at him in disgust.

He was shirtless; smelling of a horrible mix of rotten eggs and the smelliest of alcohol, which wafted from his pores. His bare skin was riddled with dirt patches, all up and down his torso. His hairy chest and stomach didn’t help the look of his appearance either.

A lengthy sigh came from his mouth. “I try to be nice and you act like a bitch, forget that I even asked.”

As Jacob took a few lengthy hits from his math pipe, Rebecca’s nostrils flared and she fixed her face into scowl. She turned her back to him and went to her room.

After locking the door she dropped her backpack and took a long look at the window, how she wished that she could be permanently free from this place.

She drew her gaze from the window and collapsed onto her bed, starting to get sleepy and heavy droopy eyes she fell asleep.

The bedroom door swung open and Kay walked over to Rebecca’s bed. Her legs were unsteady as she walked, like Jell-O. She stood over Rebecca’s bedside, shaking her shoulder a few times; however she didn’t wake. Frustration washed over her and she smacked her shoulder, feeling a slight sting in her palm.

Rebecca awoke startled and had an immediate sense of panic, as she jumped upward to a sitting position in her bed. She looked to her right expecting to find an intruder by her bedside.

“Becky, Rebecky, you know where my cough medicine’s at?”

“OOH, MOM! You woke me up for that?” She yawned before answering her question. “No I don’t know where your bottle of cough syrup is.”

With the flip of a switch Kay angrily grabbed her arm and squeezed it tightly. “Where is it?” She shouted, “ You didn’t hide it on me did you?”

Rebecca tried to free her forearm from her mother’s grasp. The pain radiated from her forearm to her shoulder. “AHH!            LET GO! AHH, I DON’T KNOW WHERE IT IS, AND I DIDN’T HIDE IT.”

Rebecca looked at her mother’s face, her cheeks were a fierce shade of red and as she made eye contact with her mother, she felt her mother’s eyes burning through her own retinas. Kay dug her finger nails into Rebecca’s skin and she could feel them penetrating through each layer of skin.

Rebecca didn’t think that the pain could be any worse until she felt her mother’s nails scrape at the bone like a scalpel. Kay made a swift sideways movement from her forearm up to her elbow. It felt like she had razor blades for nails and Rebecca let out a thunderous yelp of pain. “Did you flush them? Huh? ANSWER ME YOU LITTLE BITCH!”

Tears began to roll down her cheeks as she answered, “AHH! NO, NO I WOULDN’T DO THAT, PLEASE LET GO.”

Kay slowly began to come out of her violent rage when she saw the tears running down her daughter’s face, she looked down at her daughter’s arm which was oozing with blood, she quickly released her nails and the grip she had on her forearm.

“Baby-” she clapped her hand to her mouth. “Baby girl, I’m, I’m so sorry.” She tried to put her hand on her daughter’s shoulder.

Rebecca looked at her mother terrified, she slapped her mother’s hand away and jumped out of bed, and she grabbed her backpack and tried to run out of the room. She felt her mother’s hand latch onto her ankle and she fell to the floor with a thud.

Her mother was now on top of her with tears in her eyes. “Baby girl please, I didn’t mean it.” Kay felt a fist hit her cheek and she was knocked to the side of her daughter onto the floor. Rebecca scrambled to her feet and was about to run out the door.

Swish, swish, thud, thud, she heard the sound of Jacob’s footsteps making their way down the hallway to her room. She looked at the floor; her mother was now rolled into a ball sobbing loudly. She made a break for the window, but just as she’d opened the window.

“Hey where the fuck do you think you’re going?”

From behind her she could hear thud, thud, thud, thud, thud; and vibrations. She jumped out the window and rolled down the lawn. She got to her feet and listened for a moment.

From the outside of the window Rebecca heard BANG!


She curiously looked through the corner of the window and saw that; blood was gushing down Jacob’s nose and dripping down from his chin onto his torso.

“Eww.” She took her eyes from the window and began to run out of the subdivision, and didn’t stop running until she made it to the bus stop, where a bus was just about to stop to let out a few passengers.


20 thoughts on “Dreamer (revision)

    1. I did compare the last comment, and I looked back at your last comment several time while revising this piece
      Did I tell and not show throughout the entire piece? Because I really thought that I was getting the concept down.


    2. Hi, yes, hello. I know you’ve agreed with me several times about constructive comments I’ve made to Chelsea to help with her writing, so . . . I’m gonna lay something on you.

      I debated for a few days whether to say anything, but this is the second or third time I’ve seen you recommend that Chelsea read your writing in order to improve hers, and while I do agree you’re a more practiced writer, you’re not there yet, either, and you could do with some craft practice, too. I’m not trying to step on your toes, but I find recommending that someone read your writing to better theirs pretty egotistical, especially if your writing isn’t up to stellar par.

      You told Chelsea to read your most recent piece, which I’m assuming is “A Babysitting Solution to Ennui.” Your advice to Chelsea is always “show, don’t tell,” but you do a fair amount of telling yourself. Let’s look at a couple paragraphs.

      “Mickey is gone for less than a minute. It takes that long to gather some jeans and a white top, underwear and socks.

      The bathroom smells. Jane is on the ground, twitching. She is next to a receptacle. Her hair is soaking wet.

      As Mickey watches, Jane stops twitching. ‘Hun? Hun? Jane?’ He kneels next to her. Gets his knee wet. ‘Darling? Jane?’ He pulls the hood aside, puts his hand under her nose. When it’s clear that she’s not breathing, he checks her pulse.

      ‘Get off the computer!’ yells Mickey, pushing Arnie’s chair aside. It rolls over the hardwood. He gets the search string wrong four times in a row.”

      This is ALL telling.

      First: knock off the two spaces after a period. That was in style primarily because of typewriter-made manuscripts. Authors used it to make things clearer for editors. Nowadays it’s considered poor form, and it’s more work for your editors and formatters when they have to go through and manually remove all those spaces before publication.

      Second: your sentences are all of the same style, of about the same length, and the same structure. Subject, verb, descriptor. Subject, verb descriptor. Jane is on the ground. Mickey is gone. Jane’s hair is wet. The chair rolls. They’re simple sentences with no emotion behind them, and there SHOULD be emotion, especially during the third graph, where Jane is having a seizure. Why is there no emotion there? There’s just description of physical movements with little explanation as to why things are happening and what the emotional rationale is.

      What’s the connection between the third and fourth graphs? He’s watching a seizing woman and then checking her pulse and then . . . we’re talking about search strings? What’s the flow? That also takes away from Mickey’s POV. I realize you’re trying a different style here, but a different style doesn’t mean you should sacrifice the life from your writing.

      Here’s somewhere that’s great when it comes to emotional content: “Mickey stays until he is sure she is sleeping. He checks her breathing. He feels her pulse. He does this again and again, until he is sure that those little puffs of air are real. That those tremors are made by a heart like his.” You use the same-structure same-style thing again here, but this time it serves the story with a nice repetitive beat to the close.

      So . . . yes, you’re more practiced, but you still need some work. If you really want to help Chelsea with her material, don’t just tell her to read your stuff.


      1. You’re correct, I will stop with the feedback. I don’t really agree with your comments on my writing, to be honest, and I didn’t ask for the feedback, so I find your remarks to be fairly pretentious. I don’t know who you are and why you think you are qualified to give me unasked-for advice; Chelsea asked for my advice, I did not ask for yours. Thanks and goodbye.


      2. Trent if you would like to give me feedback on my writing you’re welcome to do so; however I would appreciate more feedback than “Look at my blog,” or “Read a post that I wrote to give you a grasp on how to show and not tell.” You do have a better grasp with the craft of writing than I currently do, so tips on how I can better improve my own craft would be appreciated.


      3. Chelsea, just read and you will learn. You don’t need to read my stuff or anyone else’s in partciular, but you should read and learn. I’ve given you specific points before, but I hardly have time to write myself let alone give you pointers. There’s only so much time, and frankly I can’t spend the time with you that you need. That silly poster who jumps up and gives you “advice” about grammar and the like is missing the point. Writing is about voice first and foremost. When you find yours, you’ll be okay, but I’m not going to be able to help you with this, you need more help than I can give. I’m sorry, but that’s the reality as I see it.


      4. Sorry Chelsea. I didn’t particulary like your comment, I have in the past given you specific feedback, but you don’t seem to much appreciate it or remember that. I don’t know what to do with you other than tell you to read things that are well-written. I’m really sorry, I do wish you well and that you continue with your writing and make it everything you want it to be.


      5. I do listen to your comments and try to incorporate your tips when I’m writing. However on many of my posts that you’ve commented on you’ll say read my blog. I don’t mind doing so, but when tell me to do that as often as you have in the past it gets to be the same repetition.If I didn’t want to hear your thoughts on my writing I would’ve told you so, I’m just trying to figure everything out and I’m also trying to remember what you and others are trying to give me feedback on.


      6. I said that like twice, I’ve given you specific feedback in the past. I don’t think “as often as you have” is a very accurate statement. Best wishes Chelsea, I hope you get what you’re going for, but you don’t need me around on that journey.


      7. If that’s how you perceive me to be, that I don’t listen to you or your comments then fine. But perhaps you should look back at the comments you’ve made because you’ve said that stuff about your blog more than twice.
        Thank you for the kind wishes with my writing journey and I hope for the same for yours


  1. Getting better! I do see a lot of comma/period/run-on sentence issues, e.g. “Nothing you’re just so full of pep, but still regardless of your peppiness I think that you would be much safer if you had someone walking home with you.” It should be, “Nothing, you’re just so full of pep. But still, regardless of your peppiness, I think that you would be much safer if you had someone walking home with you.”

    I’m seeing some POV issues, too. Your story is in Rebecca’s POV, but then you switch to Kay when she’s waking Rebecca up. That doesn’t make any sense–stick with Rebecca.

    Don’t use all caps . . . ever. Even in dialogue.

    I think your sentences could sound a little more organic. See this one: “As she shut the door behind her, Jacob her step father was just sitting down on the couch and placing a sandwich bag on the coffee table.”

    By “more organic,” I mean something like . . . “Rebecca shut the door behind her, toed her shoes off, and headed into the living room. Her stepfather looked up as he sat down on the couch, then dropped the sandwich bag he was holding onto the coffee table.”

    “Placing” is a stiff word. “As [name] began” is a stiff phrase. Try to soften your writing. Think about how people talk.

    I can definitely see improvements here. 🙂 Whatever you’ve been doing, keep doing it.


    1. Thanks I’m still shaky in the run-on sentences but I’m working on it. Thanks for the tips on the all caps and thinking of how people talk and using it when working on the dialogue. Out of curiosity did you think that I was doing more telling rather than showing in this piece of writing?


      1. I definitely think so! Your descriptions of the area leading up to the protagonist’s house are very good examples of showing, not telling. We can tell it’s not a great area because of the way you describe it–that’s the essence of showing. You’re improving. 🙂

        I do think another thing about your writing you should pay attention to, which I noticed you’re using more in this revision–probably because you’re working so hard on showing–is passive voice. Like this: “Kay felt a fist hit her cheek and she was knocked to the side of her daughter onto the floor.”

        That sentence is super, super passive. Something like, “Rebecca’s fist connected with Kay’s cheek, knocking her off balance. Rebecca squirmed out from under her . . . ” Instead of saying Kay felt a fist hit her cheek, show what happened. Instead of using “was,” find a way to keep readers in the moment. One of the tricks I was always taught is that if you can take a phrase and add “by zombies” at the end of it, it’s too passive. “She was knocked to the side of her daughter onto the floor . . . by zombies” makes sense, so it’s too passive.


    2. Btw I forgot to mention the POV. When I first started working on this story I was thinking about going with the head hopping POV, but as the story has progressed I thought that I would go for the more traditional route; the one person POV.
      Thanks for bringing that to my attention I wasn’t aware of that.


      1. If you want to do head-hopping POV, that’s fine, but you still can’t head-hop in the same scene. It needs to be one POV character per scene, so when you want to switch heads, you have to switch scenes. Switching in-scene, from paragraph to paragraph, will confuse readers.


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