Show don’t tell.
There are things in life that need to be chewed on for some time before the light bulb comes on and we enter the realm of understanding. Showing and not telling is one of the things that took a while for me to understand. Since the light bulb has come on, my writing has not been the same.
But what does this mean? Let me give you an example.
“Charlie was furious”.
This is a line you might come across in your own writing, or at least phrases like this. These phrases describe a scene, but fall unequivocally short of painting what is happening inside the character. This tells what has happened – Charlie was furious. This does not allow us to get to know the character to advance the story. Albeit, it might be a justifiable fury, but in the end if falls short to enrapture the reader in the tale you are in the process of spinning.
So, how do you show something without telling it? Glad you asked. Let’s revisit Charlie in the “furious” scene.
Charlie ran as fast as he could after Harry, but the older boy was much faster and was soon out of sight, cackling as he sprinted over the hill. Charlie punched his fist. He roared and raged kicking the dirt and screamed obscenities which echoed across the green glen.
Here, we are not sure what happened to evoke such anger, but the action is what pulls us in. The action of punching, screaming, kicking, and the echoing obscenities. Whatever it was, it made Charlie furious. But I didn’t say that now did I?
I hope you found this brief tip and example helpful.
I also hope you have time to enter your writer’s world this weekend.
Keep writing my friends.
3 thoughts on “Show Me the Story! – Writing Tips”
Pingback: Use Dialogue to Advance Your Plot « Part-Time Novel
Your revision definitely pulls me into the story.
What do you think about “show AND tell”? Often in novels I’ve noticed how the author tells a bit in order to save pages of a less-than-important plot–telling that time passed and where the next action is headed.
But like always–keep the telling short.
Daniel, sorry for the delay in getting back with you.
You know, I have heard it both ways. Authors often have a paragraph about recap or what happen in the past chapter but I have reviewed a few books and the modern novel gets right to the showing for sure. But I tend to see what is trending in books currenrly and write that way. It sounds like selling out but I am trying to tell a story and I want people to want to read it. Thus I have to succumb to the modern form: Abbreviated and Show-y.