How to Write Like a Professional

How to Write Like a Professional
6 Common Writing Mistakes That Make You Look Like an Amateur Author... and How to Avoid Them

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bootcamp Wisdom SKILL (# LAST)

SHOW, DON'T TELL

This will be my last offering unto thee for the awesome Bootcamp Wisdom.  (But I'll still be writing about writing, of course.)

Showing often takes more words to write than telling does.  But showing also gives more info about the character.  For example, "Tom was mad" is telling.  But showing?  Tom stomped his feet and screamed, "Give it back!"  He ran from the room to find his mom.

Here are some sentences that tell.  Use them as an exercise to practice showing.

  1. Samantha was happy.
  2. The puppy was scared.
  3. They were bored.
  4. My garage is tiny.
  5. The movie is terrible.
  6. It was a beautiful day.
  7. The cat is mad.
  8. I was upset because Carlos didn't invite me to his house.
Notice how all of these sentences have to do with emotions, or adjectives.  That's a great time to expand.  Show it.  Don't even tell us what the emotion or adjective is, unless it's unique.  And even if you have to state the emotion, still show it!  Also, just because you have a reason WHY, doesn't mean you're showing, as seen in number 8.  Give your characters actions.  That's showable.  Simple?  Yes.  But sometimes very hard to remember.  Good thing for revisions!  We can always show later, if we can't seem to make it a subconscious habit through practice.  

So practice away, and happy showing!  By the way, I hope you're fireworks SHOW was beautiful last night, with lots of greens, blues, red sparkles, white halos, and purple fountains spraying through the dark night sky. Mine was!

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