Thursday, July 21, 2011

show and tell

I'm deep in the throes of revising my WIP. In fact I'm pretty bogged down getting mixed up about what I've changed already and what I have left to change. :( To take a break (I'm really not procrastinating. Really.), I've been reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King. Chapter one is "Show and Tell", a topic we've discussed here before, but it's worth revisiting.

Beginning writers often tell a story rather than show a story. I must admit I see this A LOT in ezine slush piles. :(
More advanced writers have been told "Show, don't tell." so they tend to do all showing.
However, some helpful words of wisdom I received were "Show the story, tell the backstory." Personally, I think this works well.

So, anyway, back to the book. I was reading all about how I should show rather than tell, except when I should tell rather than show. And I was feeling pretty smug, thinking I had a handle on all this. Enter my new critique partner with her Deep POV advice. What's this? New information? I even went back and looked at Browne and King's chapter one again and it was actually in there, too, but I hadn't even noticed amongst all my smugness. For example, they say, Keep an eye out for any places where you mention an emotion outside of dialogue. Chances are you're telling what you should show.

I guess no matter how long we write, there's always something new to learn.

How about you? Have you learned anything new lately?

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