Creating a Scene

Okay, here’s my latest assignment from my writing class.  This one had us craft a 400 word scene using the “Show, Don’t Tell” methodology.  We were to write a scene where someone wants a physical item more than anything.  We were to include an action, dialogue (not necessarily conversation) to deepen the character or advance the plot, specific intimate details, an inner point of view, and a definite starting and ending point.  To twist things around, we were to introduce a disease that would kill him in 24 hours.  To further twist things around, we would then give the character a choice between that physical object they crave so much or an antidote to the disease.  Enough rambling about the assignment.  Here’s my effort.


Ben was running down the hall to get to his office.  He knew that he left an important document in there that would make or break his career, depending on whether or not he could find it in time for the meeting that started in an hour.

He was subconsciously counting the doors of other offices as he passed by them, knowing that his was the 10th door on the right.  He was at seven, and could see that his office door was open just a crack.  He came to a halt right in front of his door and pushed it open.  He could see his desk against the far wall, with the flat screen monitor on the left side of it.  He reached for the middle drawer in the oak desk he called his work home.

Ben started to rifle through the papers to find this one document.  His grand idea for the company to send it into the future.  He thought he had found it when he was startled by his desk phone going off.

“Hello,” he answered.  He was silent for several moments before he slumped into his chair.

“I understand.  Thank you.”

He hung up feeling completely defeated.  He had just received word that he had a rare condition that would take his life within 24 hours.  He realized that the search for the document was pointless.  He wouldn’t be around to see the business reap the benefits of it.

He took several minutes to look back on his life and saw that it was defined solely by work.  He didn’t have a family, no kids, no interests outside of his job, nothing.  He was feeling sharp pangs of regret of a life wasted.  What good is the career he built if he had nothing to show for it, especially now that he was dying?

He thought about it, and decided that he would search for that document anyway.  Maybe he could be memorialized in some way by giving the company this future even if he wouldn’t be around to see it.

Ben had almost found it when the phone rang again.  He picked up the phone and listened.  It was the doctor again, and an antidote had be found, but it must be administered within the hour or it would be too late.

He thought about it briefly, but made his choice.  He walked out of his office, drawer still opened and headed for his car.  He wanted that second chance at life, and was determined to make the most of it.

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