2017 · February

Show vs Tell

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

Hello, once again writers and readers!

I’m going to go over a few things I’ve learned once again while Malevolent Mind is with an editor and I’m still awaiting the cover design.  I’ve been reading another writing book The Emotional Craft of Fiction; How to write the story beneath the surface.

Let me say, wow. First off, the writing is drier than most of the writing books I’ve read lately, but the sheer amount of knowledge contained in it is worth the read.

I thought I had learned a better understanding of show vs tell, of getting the emotions into the novel without simply stating them. Man, I was so wrong. This novel goes through and shows you better techniques to bringing that out and getting your audience to feel what the characters do. It’s incredible how much you can learn from this book and if you’re willing to do the exercises along with it, you can grasp many techniques to serve your novels better in the future.

The understanding I had on show versus tell was adequate, but not quite where I want to be yet. There is so much I’m learning from this novel. How to use both show and tell to my advantage. When one should favor the other. So while we are told show don’t tell like it is the end of it all, my opinion on such a statement has changed. Like Anton’s quote up above it is a condensed version of the original.

There are ways to tell someone’s emotions in such a way as to show character depth. This book goes over it all and as I continue to read and go through the exercises my writing has improved drastically, and so will my future novels once I learn how to handle the techniques better.

You could show their actions to convey their emotions. You could tell about their emotions through inner dialog. There are so many ways to use both show and tell to your advantage.

The one rule that I will be following from this book is “When character emotions are highly painful, pull back”.

That seems like sound advice to me.

Back to work for me. Remember to L.O.L. (Live it, Own it, Love it) or it isn’t worth doing.


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