Writers are always told to quit telling and to start showing. I wonder what a group of writers trying to build a house would look or sound like. "Don't tell me how to hold the hammer. Just show me!" It's easy when you're five and Show and Tell is coming up. You take in your newest toy, show it to the class, and tell them all about how you got it, where it came from and why it's so cool and special. You don't have to describe what the toy looks like, but you jump right into the emotion of it all.
Cocoa ran off again. I had to get the leash and chase her down the street. We called her name and yelled a bunch. After we got to the 5th house, we finally found her behind the neighbor's garden.
Cocoa ran off again. Having only three legs didn't slow her down any, either. I grabbed the leash and sprinted toward the street. "Cocoa!" I yelled. "Cocoa! Come here, girl!" I slowed down at the 5th house. There she was. Right beside the neighbors squash and tomato plants. I squatted down and patted my legs. She ran toward me. "Good girl!"
You have "planners" and you have "pansters." The planners like to outline and map out a plot. (That would be me.) The pansters like to just write and go with the flow and see where they end up. I like to think of planners as telling first, then going back and filling in the details, including dialogue. The pansters don't want to tell what happened, ever. Not even to themselves. They have a natural knack for showing the first time around. The thing is, sometimes the story ends up getting completely rewritten because they didn't know where they were going first. (Of course that happens to planners, too.)
Might I suggest telling yourself a brief summary of what happens, then what, then this, then that, and finally this. On paper. Then go back and show to your heart's content. For a novel, the telling might only be two pages. Or twenty. It's just a simple map. A guideline. A sketch. The route can always be changed. The scenery can always be added. It's a lot easier to tell twenty pages and show 50,000 words than it is to show 50,000 words without it ever telling much of a story.
So the next time you hear "show, don't tell," think about "tell, then show." It will certainly make writing a query a whole lot easier. And that's a lot shorter than twenty pages, too!
So, are you a "show-er" or a "tell-er"? Panster or planner?
Keep on keepin' on...