Why "Show don't tell" is not always good advice

Learning the difference between feeling and emotion: Why “Show don’t tell” is not always good advice

Why "Show don't tell" is not always good advice

When I was in school, my teachers wrote on my paper time and time again: “Your telling here. Show instead.” Or, “Show. Don’t tell.” Or, “How can you show this?”

Over time I adopted the words, and I wrote on many a paper to many a student, “Show. Don’t tell,” without really explaining why.

Here’s the problem. Not explaining the why leads to being on the lookout for any word or words that describe feeling or emotion and then seeking ways to elaborate or “show.” Unfortunately, there are plenty of times when you should simply tell.

Here is an example: Continue reading “Learning the difference between feeling and emotion: Why “Show don’t tell” is not always good advice”

Perfecting the synopsis: From tantalizing teasers to plot points and spoilers

Synopsis imageAt some point in your writing career, someone will ask you for a synopsis of your work. When this happens, you want to be ready!

To be quite honest, I was not. I had no idea what was being asked of me the first time I read the words, “Please send me the first fifty pages and a synopsis.” Not being ready made me look ill prepared. Ill prepared is never good when you are asking someone to have faith in your ability to produce and perform.

Let’s focus on the basics.

What is a synopsis?

A synopsis is a document that shows an agent or publisher what your novel is about from beginning to end. It must include enough information to show character motivation and structure.

How long should it be? Continue reading “Perfecting the synopsis: From tantalizing teasers to plot points and spoilers”

In the beginning, she wrote: 3 steps to a more productive writing session

she-wrote
Show that blinking cursor who is boss!

As a newbie to the world of novel creation, I read everything I can get my hands on about how to produce a work of stunning originality and beauty. Inevitably, in each of these pieces, I read some semblance of one of the following: Writing requires discipline. Writing happens in bits and pieces. Set a daily word count. To be a writer you have to start writing.

I agree with all of these perfectly correct tidbits, and I would guess that everyone who has chosen this path will also agree with these simple truths.

However.

Yes, however.

Writing also requires the writer to clear out the junk rolling around in his or her brain. Continue reading “In the beginning, she wrote: 3 steps to a more productive writing session”