Friday, September 30, 2011

Show Me State of Being

by G.Parker

A couple of weeks ago I was able to participate in a writing retreat.  It was one night, up in a fabulous cabin away from pretty much any distraction you could have.  It was great.  I got loads of writing done.  I remember sitting there as we were typing away on our laptops that it would be a good place to use in a story some time. It's not every day you get to enjoy the peace and quiet of a log cabin that looks more like a ski lodge.  The logs were thick and the windows were large, allowing a great view of the fields and mountains.  The rustic feel was kind of off set by the hat on the moose, but you still got the impression it was a home away from home.  I loved the slate floor, and the large fireplaces.  It reminded me of my sister's cabin in Fish Lake, which is much of the same design and decor.

As I thought about it today, I realized it was part of the whole 'tell me' or 'show me' of writing.  Most writers will tell you all about something, description of a location, item or person.  A real good writer will show you with words in such a way as you feel you can easily see it in your mind, you can picture it and feel like you are there.  I think it's something all of us strive for.

That is something we try to encourage in my critique group.  Especially one writer who is very adamant about it.  He'll say "that wasn't in the book we read," meaning, despite what the author thought they were conveying, that was not what the reader picked up.  It's not easy to get it down, and we usually use too many words when a few will do.  The whole idea is to find descriptive words that aren't too flowery, or over blown, so to speak.  You want to be real, down to earth and have the words easy to read.

I know I don't quite have it down, sometimes it's easier than others.  There are some authors that are excellent, and reading their work will help yours.  Who is your favorite author with description?  I'd like to know.


Canda said...
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Canda said...

I love the way Shannon Hale uses simile and metaphor to show instead of tell--masterful.