Always quirky, sometimes sweet speculative fiction

The ‘Look’ Challenge

I’ve been challenged by fellow writer/blogger Elizabeth Barone, to do the ‘Look’ challenge. To complete the look challenge you take the work you’re currently toiling on, go to the first time the word ‘look’ appears therein and post the surrounding passage on your blog. I went with my manuscript for Storybook Perfect since I’m working on it for the Harper Voyager open submissions for spec-fic rather than the short story I’m currently doing (which is not going quite so well, but as I’ve said before, I sometimes struggle with short stories).

So here you go, a little sneak peak of early on in chapter 1 of Storybook Perfect:


Brione blinked.

Where am I? The thought wafted out of the shock. She hadn’t blacked out, at least she didn’t think so. Aside from a slight ache where her seatbelt had held her in place she couldn’t feel any injuries so the impact must not have been severe. Despite her pose Yui had not been speeding, though perhaps she had been driving faster than she should have on the shale. Yui was already unbelted and clambering out her door to inspect the damage. Brione took a long deep breath and closed her eyes, letting the relief swell.

Madison breathed hard behind her. The breaths started off rapid and terrified, but Brione could hear them turning into angry pants. This was not the first time Madison had been in a crash when Yui drove. While none of the accidents were any more severe than this one, Madison did not appear to be taking that into account.

Yui knelt beside the front driver’s side tire to inspect it.

“Ugh! The mudguard’s up against the tire. Give us a sec.” She told her friends without looking away from the damage. The half-Japanese girl drew herself up high and aimed two solid low kicks against the mudguard, expanding the gap. She leaned down to consider it again. “I don’t think the frame underneath is damaged. Just a little body work needed.” She peered back inside the car, dropping herself back into the driver’s seat. “I’m turning off the radio though, gonna keep an ear on the engine just in case.”

“Well you are the expert.” Teased Brione, teeth flashing in a cheeky grin.

Madison wordlessly screamed and jumped out of the car, slamming the door as she got out. “I’m walking the rest of the way.” She told them with a fury that could burn your ears.

Yui shrugged and started to reverse. Madison was prone to furious outbursts, if she wanted to explode, let her do it some where far away.

Madison shrieked as the car reversed past her and when Yui stopped to change back into first gear Madison tore open the door and flung herself back inside. Evidently the thought of walking a kilometer along a deserted country road by herself was a scarier prospect than getting back into the car with the crumpled front.

Madison’s muttering was louder than the engine and Yui tried her best to focus on how that was a good thing because that meant the engine was fine. Brione barely heard the grumbling because she was pondering a statistic she had heard of which claimed most drivers automatically drove to defend themselves. Yui had not and it prickled Brione’s interest.

I use omniscient third person POV, which is a different to usual so I’d love to hear what anyone thinks. Also if you’d like to take the challenge let me know and I’ll post your link here.


  1. Elizabeth Barone

    Squee, another willing participant! 😀

    I want to see whether Madison kills Yui, hahaha. I liked the way you used third-person, using almost a fourth wall technique in the line “with a fury that could burn your ears.” It pulled me further in, made me feel more a part of things.

    I was going to submit to Harper Voyager but decided to finish another second draft before I start on the manuscript I was going to submit. I’ll probably change my mind again, though. Sigh.

    • Kirstie

      I’ve always loved the dynamic that Yui and Madison have. They are so competitive but Yui is oblivious to it (which really doesn’t calm Madison down at all).
      I’m glad you liked the ‘your ears’ line because every time I’ve revised I’ve spent ages pondering whether to leave it that way. I’ve always ended up deciding the impact is more powerful and stuck to my first instinct from when I wrote it.
      I’m glad you gave me the challenge, it was fun and a good chance to put up a sample of my normal writing style as opposed to my (parenthesis=filled) blog writing style. Thank-you.

      • Liz

        The impact definitely works! I’d even take it a bit further and see if you could do it more throughout the MS. It might be worth pursuing.

        You’re welcome! We should do these things more often.

  2. 20bet

    Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you.

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