The Look Challenge

Today I’m taking up the Look Challenge, sent to me by one of my favourite authors, Sylvia Morice.  Here are the basic instructions for this challenge:

  1. Scan your book and find a place where you used the word “look”. Not “looked”, or “looking” mind you – just “look”.
  2. Copy the surrounding paragraphs to your blog to share a snippet of your writing with your blog’s readers.
  3. Task 5 other bloggers/authors with the challenge to do the same.
  4. Link back to the person who assigned you the Look Challenge.

It’s a great way to share a sample of your book so that people can get an idea if they’d like to read the whole thing.  Please take a moment (after you read this post, of course :-)) to check out Sylvia’s Look Challenge post – I guarantee it will make you laugh out loud.

I must admit I was a bit intimidated to get tagged for the Look Challenge myself.  First of all – what if I didn’t even have the word “look” in my manuscript?  How embarrassing would that be?  Well, I needn’t have worried, of the ~90,000 words in my novel, Defining Moments“look” appears to account for about 10,000 of them.  See? You’ve just read more than 10% of my book already simply by reading that one word!   My bigger problem turned out to be that I don’t actually know very many blogger/authors – so if you are an author/blogger, please consider yourself tagged with the Look Challenge assignment.

For my Look Challenge excerpt, I chose a few paragraphs that are near the start of my novel – here our heroine, Ellie, (“on the wrong side of 50 and 150 pounds”)  and her grad student, Brenda, are stuck in a little plane over the wilds of northern Canada, and they’re not enjoying it…


Tony heard Ellie talking but didn’t catch the gist of it – he didn’t even try.  Between the steady drone of the plane’s engine and the background static on the old headset he wore, he couldn’t pick up anything these two were saying.  He’d given up on trying to make sense of their chatter about five minutes into the flight.  He could guess what it was about though – she probably wanted to turn back to Hay River.  No stick-to-it-ness, these bloody southerners, he thought.  There was no way he was going to come all the way the hell up here and then turn back before finishing.  How stupid would that be?

Ellie sighed again, resigned to waiting it out for as long as it took.  Tony was cantankerous at the best of times, but she was still fond of him.  He’d been watching this river breakup for more than 30 years now and she appreciated how generous he’d been with his time and knowledge.  So, even though she was paying for this flight, she wasn’t prepared to upset him by insisting that they should turn back.  Still, it drove her crazy not knowing what was going on back in town.  She checked her cell phone for the thousandth time – hoping to see a text message from one of her other grad students, but there was no coverage this far out into the bush.  Damn, she thought, anything could be happening back in town by n…

The plane lurched wildly, cutting short the thought and she was thrown forward for a second, then slammed back against her seat. The engine clanked once, coughed twice, then cut out completely.  Black smoke belched from the nose as the prop shuddered to a stop.  Mark, jolted out of the daze induced by the hot, stuffy cabin, began pushing and pulling knobs all over the control panel, his feet working the rudder pedals as the plane started to pitch and yaw.

“What’s going on?” Brenda cried, jolting upright.  “Mark! What’s happening?”

Mark ignored her as he hit the radio button.  “Mayday, mayday, mayday.  This is Tango, Golf, Echo, Bravo.  Tango, Golf, Echo, Bravo.  Tango, Golf, Echo, Bravo.  Forty kilometers southeast of Meander River, four souls on board.  Engine failure – forced landing…  Tango, Golf, Echo, Bravo.”  Then, remembering that the others in the plane could hear him, he flicked the switch to cut the cabin intercom off from the radio communications.  Tony watched as Mark’s lips continued moving, relaying the mayday message several times.

Ellie turned to look at Brenda, now sitting bolt upright in her seat, tightening her seatbelt. Brenda’s eyes were wide and her mouth was puckered into a tight ‘o’.  Ellie figured that more than one of her own orifices was doing the exact same thing.


If you like to find out a bit more about Defining Moments – please click here.  Thanks for reading!

About Faye Hicks

Writer, animal lover, retired engineer, and professor emeritus.
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