Saturday, May 10, 2014

Show, not Tell

Borrowed a book from the library last night on 'how to write better' and one of the major take aways from the book was the skill of showing not telling the readers whatever it is that's on your character's mind.

Believe me, it was a difficult exercise because I started looking at my drafts and re-writing everything. A few things that I noted:

1) Whenever you use the words 'were/was' it is likely that it's a telling sentence. For example:

He was angry at her for not telling him about her affair.

To re-write this in a showing manner requires trusting the audience to fill in the gaps and induce that the character was angry for themselves. Therefore, an attempt to show his anger would look something like this:

"Where have you been? I've waited all night for you." He could feel his blood pressure slowly rising; the strange perfume a hot slap across his face.

2) Avoid using words that end with -ly to describe emotions. Eg: He told her angrily.
Again, show and not tell.

So, voila! Let's hope this small training will help me improve my writing and make it more captivating. It will take time but with practice, hopefully this will make me a better writer :)

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