Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Showing v Telling: an aha moment!

We've all heard it before, 'show don't tell.' And if you're like me, this is how you respond:

'Duh, I totally do that.' And you might be right - but I wasn't. I kept getting feedback form CP's time and time again about showing. Needless to say, I was as frustrated as this little guy:

It wasn't until I received a crit during a recent LitReactor class that I realized what I believed to be showing was, in reality, telling (with lots and lots of pretty adjectives). Luckily, the comment I received in class clicked.

*Cue beams of light* It was my aha moment. *cue angelic singing* More like a punch to the gut. The impact of this new understanding left me spinning. Will I need to toss my current draft and start over? Yes. Will I be a stronger, better writer because of it? Yes. Am I happy about it?

I guess so.

This article is very similar to the advice I received. The point If you haven't had you're Showing v Telling aha moment I encourage you to check it out. Here is the highlight:

To transform our 'telling' into 'showing' we need to become adjective detectives. We must pounce on them like this awesome fox:

Attack the adjectives currently telling the story and create action or dialogue to illustrate their meaning.

Is your MC boy crazy? Don't call her boy crazy - show me. Show the MC moving from one hottie to the next. (Hello!)

Is your setting isolated? Don't tell me - show me. Maybe they don't have modern services like internet, trash pick up, etc.. Maybe they get no cell signal. Maybe the characters get no house guests.

You say you're MC is tough? Show me through her reactions to the obstacles in her path.

What was you're 'aha' moment?

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