Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Show and Tell

Nearly every writer has heard the dictum--"Show, don't tell." (Do you want a $1 for every time you've heard it? I sure do!) The challenge is learning how to show. But there's a caveat with it--sometimes you need to tell. Narrative has its place for bridging and transition. In two recent exercises on the B&W Forum, we've worked on learning how to show and when to tell.

Here's an example from my March exercise. I needed to get from Friday night to Monday morning while conveying my MC's feelings, but not showing every move she made.

I had to wait until Monday to talk to Connie. It would be the first time the Samantha and Madison would be at school. And Terrence would be at the bank. I didn’t think I could stand to look at him. Not yet. Not with the image Samantha’s fears had put in my head.
It was all I could do to hold my breath and count to ten. Or somewhere in the vicinity of ten million.
            Connie’s flippant comment at church kept playing in my head accompanied by her smirking look—“The sleepover sure turned out to be more exciting than I had expected.”
            Exciting? How dare she allow children to see a sacred act made profane! I was ready to wipe her smug face clean after my daughter’s three crying jags and the monster of all nightmares last night.
            Samantha’s face had fallen when I sent her to school this morning. But I couldn’t pack her away in cotton batting—even if I wanted to. She had to deal with the real world. And I hated it to the core of my being.
Here's some links you might want to explore:
Diana Gabaldon  Just click on the link "DianaShowTell.rtf
Joanna Bourne Just click on the link "JoBourneShowTell.rtf
And a few links to Jo's blog: Here, Here, and Here
*What has helped you learn how to show?
*When do you use telling to advance the story?
The kitchen is about halfway done, and I'm still cooking in the dining room. What a peek? ; )