Sunday, March 2, 2008

*Sigh* But Telling's Easier!

I spend a lot of tmie on writer's forums. Too much time, really, but I digress. When I'm wandering through the various threads, I see a lot of people saying, "Show, don't tell!" I think they sometimes take it overboard--too much detailed description in a book gets tedious. While I do want some idea of what people and scenes look like, I also like to have room to let my imagination fill in the blanks while the book gets on with the story.

This is where I get to today's lesson that I'm learning from Michy's commentary on Bubba Goes National. "Showing" doesn't necessarily mean pages of boring description. Quite the opposite! Just choosing your words differently can make a huge difference. For example, "Leslie was happy" is telling. It isn't bad, per se, it does get the point across. However, "Leslie's eyes sparkled and she felt like her heart would burst from her chest" is just a little longer but "shows" the emotion so much better. Instead of describing a scene, I can explore it through my characters: what they see, what they say, and what they think. The whole story is much more enriching. Of course, showing requires a little more thought, effort, and keystrokes! Writing was much easier when I could just say "Leslie was happy" and get on with it.

Can you find a "telling" passage in your story and rewrite it as "showing"?

1 comment:

Michelle L. Devon said...

(chuckle) good lesson. For me, I have the opposite problem. I 'show' too much, and often repeat myself by saying the same thing slightly differently, insulting my reader's intelligence by assuming they are not getting it the first time (of course, it's really a self esteem issue on my part, afraid I am not explaining it properly).

You're doing fantastic!