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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Barbeque/Cookout (09/06/12)

By Ramona Cook


Natalie walked slowly around in her kitchen gathering all the tools and dishes that would be used for the cookout, “What a bore,” she thought. Natalie did not like cookouts, barbeques, picnics or potluck dinners.
However, her husband, “Where is he?”

Darrell had a different view of the experience. To cook outdoors was to him something of a mini vacation. But then he was not present for the great excavation of the kitchen to the outdoor station, which would be yet to pick up in only a few hours and be returned to the kitchen for the great greasy cleanup that would follow. “How is this any fun?”

Natalie continued her project until it was finished and decided to not complain about her dislike of the process; Darrell did after all get excited about these outdoors dinners.

The guests arrived and there was a rowdy playful spirit among them all. Those with children brought them of course, and there was a lot of gleeful noise that filled the air.

Natalie decided that she would be an observer, a mental note taker in her hope to discover why anyone would enjoy this type of getting together.

At the end of the outdoor affair and after the mess was cleaned up and everything was back in its place, she sat to write her mental notes onto a sheet of paper. These are her findings:

1. There is space and freedom in the out of doors that would never be enjoyed inside the house.

2. People feel comfortable to be picnic dressed, which would not be true if the food was consumed inside at the dinner table.

3. The parents do not find it necessary to guard the children’s drinks so carefully, or the food they may drop.

4. The fresh air is invigorating. People who spend so much time inside are warmed and liberated without the walls that make up so much of their lives.

5. Darrell, she noticed was the Host busily serving and cooking, not being merely the sidekick for her, but rather the main Honcho.

6. It is true, she noted, that while there is a cleanup of items used outside, she did not have to clean the floors, nor put away dishes, since plastic is, without self condemnation, disposable.

As she showered that night she decided that in all truth the minuses were minimal compared to pluses regarding cooking out or cooking in; “It’s a good trade off,” she concluded. “Maybe I can learn to enjoy these cookouts.”

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This article has been read 388 times
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/13/12
I enjoyed the way you tackled this piece. I could feel the MC's reluctance as she walked slowly around the kitchen.

You have a nice start of showing instead of telling but you could do even more. For example leave out taglines like she thought or he said. Instead use that spot to describe your character's emotions. Something like this may paint more of a picture. She trudged out to the backyard, shoulders slumping. "Why do people enjoy cookouts?" hopefully this shows you what I'm trying to say. You have a great start on it. I just want more. :)

I think the list idea is so creative. Not only does it make a great tool for moving the story along but it will also give the reader a way to change their attitude. The next time I'm dreading something I think I'll use your list idea. Another thing I liked is you didn't do a pro vs con list; instead you just focused on making a note of the positive! This is a great reminder for me. Well-done.
C D Swanson 09/13/12
Very interesting and ingenious take on the topic. The list was "different" and worked! I thought this unique and creative and a sheer delift to read.

Thanks. God Bless~
C D Swanson 09/13/12
Correction - LOL

That was supposed to read
"sheer delight" - the computer has a mind of its own at times!!!

God Bless~
Marie Hearty 09/13/12
You described the feelings of the character well so that the reader could identify with her. That is one of the main goals of writing fiction... good work.