Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Eight Sure-Fire Ways to Show, Not Tell

By C. LaRene Hall

This workshop was taught by Annette Lyon. As usual, her workshop was very informative and one I was glad I attended.

Annette started off telling us that showing is so many things, and the word was can be a red flag of not showing.

What is telling? The writer interprets events, feelings and more for the reader. They assume the reader isn’t smart by telling them – Here’s the way it is.

What is showing? Planting clues for the reader. Give them evidence. Trust the reader to figure it out.

Result: The reader experiences everything with the character.

Telling: The most boring climax ever. You need details or you are cheating the reader.

Micro showing can help you create the macro event.
#1 The 5 senses = Sight + at least one per page that is not sight. Touch, Taste, Sound, or Smell.
#2 – The movie camera – Facial expressions, small actions and gestures, setting, other details such as clothing, weather, walls, furniture, etc. If we can’t see where we are, we can’t experience it. Movie camera tip – cause & effect. Show the event before the reaction.
#3 – Thoughts & Emotions.
#4 – Specificty – where you are not saying what it is, you are describing what it is. Avoid words that could mean lots of things.

Macro showing is a much bigger picture.
#5 – Put us in the scene. Show the action or place, without saying what it is.
#6 – Character – Exact same place but experiencing different things. Reveal what they consistently do, say, react to (and how) and value.
#7 – Dialogue in scene. Do not do info dump. Watch out for – as you know.
#8 – Cause & Effect – Point of View – every character has their own way of seeing things. Whose lens are we showing the story through? How would the story be different from another lens? Pick the right lens. (Who has the most to lose?) Stick with that lens in a scene.

Head hopping is hard for a reader to follow. Don’t let the POV intrude! POV Intrusion is not your friend. Waters-down showing and turns showing into telling.
Watch for ed words and saw.

Next week I am going to tell you about the class I attended that was taught by Tristi Pinkston.


Donna K. Weaver said...

I love this class! She did such a great job with this hard technique.

Anonymous said...

i love this blog such a great job
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