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Writing exercise: The Escape in the Woods (Thriller)

A woman running through a dark, dense forest at night. The moonlight filters through the trees, casting eerie shadows. The woman looks panicked and her movements are frantic, with branches and leaves rustling around her.


Introduction to the exercise and its purpose:

This exercise is part of a series using the “Show, Don't Tell” technique for different literary genres. The goal is to train writers to create suspense and tension in the thriller genre without making the characters' thoughts or emotions explicit, but by showing their actions and reactions.


A woman is fleeing from an unknown pursuer through a dense forest at night. Moonlight filters through the leaves, creating ominous shadows. Her movements are quick and nervous as darkness and eerie sounds surround her. The woman hears the branches breaking under her feet and the rustling of leaves as she makes her way through the trees.

Writing exercise:

Describe the woman's escape through the woods, focusing on her movements, the noises she hears and her physical reactions. Show her fear and urgency without explicitly saying that she is scared or worried. Use detailed descriptions to create an atmosphere of tension.

Suggestions and exercise development:

Begin with a detailed description of the forest at night, emphasizing the darkness and sounds of nature. Show how the woman's breathing becomes labored, her body trembles and sweat beads on her forehead. Describe her nervous looking back, the tension in her muscles as she tries to move forward without making too much noise. Illustrate how she stumbles over protruding roots and struggles to stay on her feet. End the scene with a sudden jolting sound, leaving the reader hanging.


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