Madeleine at Scribble and Edit has organised the Now Showing Blogfest ending on 14th Jan 2011. It is a good exercise in Show Don’t Tell, and I thought it perfect for the Writing Wednesday post.
My “show” entry for the “tell”, She’s elated:
Sara’s large blue eyes widened, teared up and smiled at the same time, and in that moment before her face burst into a laugh, time stopped for David, letting him capture the quick intake of her breath, the raise of her eyebrows, the way her hair swung on her forehead; and then she laughed and bent to kiss him and said “Yes, my love, I will.”
Show, don’t tell is repeated ad nauseam, by writing teachers and students alike, but I have met many writers whose drafts are full of re-countings of scenes, not the scenes themselves.
In the age of videos, television, films, it is all the more important for us as writers to show action, characters, settings like a running movie in the reader’s head.
For me, I take down what I see in my head, which makes it difficult to write without “writing in scenes”.
However, when I’m writing my way into a story, the backstory becomes an info-dump– but that is why it is the first draft. I scribble down the draft with a note that it needs to go in as small juicy bites throughout the story, or become a flashback scene (I try to avoid flashbacks, though, as they affect the immediacy of the reader’s experience).
What tricks do you use to Show, not Tell? Does it occur naturally in your writing?