The Look Challenge (in which I share an excerpt from my novel)

Renee at a quick red fox (a lovely lovely blog if you haven't read it), tagged me in a writing challenge called the "LOOK Challenge."  I went back and forth about whether to do.  I've never shared my fiction writing on my blog, but in the interest of being more courageous and personal on my blog, I will do it.

So, here is the 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.

There was a lot of looking and such, but this was the first plain old "look." Here goes:

“Hey Ana, are you awake?”  She shook her shoulder, and Ana grunted.  “We need to go to the store.”  Kaya pulled on her sister's thin, jelly arm until she was on her feet.  Ana was like a little zombie.  She never talked to Kaya anymore.  When they first were in the closet- when the girls’ mother was still alive- they would all talk to each other and play a game they called “Favorite Moments.” 

“Christmas,” mother would say.  Then they would go around and recall their favorite Christmas memories.
            “I remember the year it when it barely snowed at all, all winter.  Then, on Christmas morning, we woke up and it was silent outside, with the snow falling.  And you girls ran out into the snow, and started making snow angels in your pajamas, and I yelled at you to come inside out of the cold and open your presents. You were laughing and your wet flannels stuck to your legs…That was my favorite.”  Kaya’s mother’s voice was soft, and she brushed the dark hair off of Ana’s cheek.
            “My favorite was the year that I got the dream house for Barbie.” Ana smiled, her front two teeth missing.
            “Every Christmas was my favorite.”
            “Kaya, you have to choose one.”  Ana’s voice was desperate and whining, as if choosing a single Christmas memory was the most important thing, like it would restore order to the chaos.
“I don’t think…” Kaya began, but her mother gave her a look, like she knew what she was going to say, and there was no way she was going to let her say it.  Kaya understood, drumming up some enthusiasm in her voice.  “I don’t think, I could choose just one.  I mean, remember when mom used to make chocolate chip smiley pancakes every Christmas?  And then after we opened all the presents, we would be allowed to watch television all day?”
Ana laughed and said, “Yeah.  And remember how the bows were always so shiny?” Her eyes lit up, remembering what it was like to shine.  And Kaya remembered too.   During those times, playing the memory game, the little closet almost felt warm.

Not anymore.  Kaya strapped the flimsy paper  mask onto Ana’s face and then her own, and dragged her little sister out into the hallway.  As soon as the door was open and they took the first step out, Ana began to pull back fiercely on Kaya’s hand, making a high-pitched, yipping cry.
“You know we have to eat Ana.”  Kaya paused, looking at her sister’s weepy eyes.  Then under her breath, “and I’m not going alone.”
  They peeked two heads around the corner of the brown plywood door and jumped in their skin when they heard a creaking board under Kaya’s foot.  On the day their mother left to look for food and never came back, they could hear her creaking feet all the way down the hall and then they heard the whoosh and the heat came under the door.
I would tag people in this post, but I don't know lots of writer/bloggers.  So, if you write, and you want to  play, post on your blog and then link in my comments.  I'd love to check out all of your writing.


  1. I'm so glad you decided to take the challenge! And what an intriguing excerpt. You've got me very curious about these sisters and their mother. Happy writing! And thanks for the lovely compliment!


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