Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Storytelling Tips: Show don't Tell

Some writers have a bad habit of doing what we call "telling and not showing". They will do this in two different ways:

#1 Underdeveloped scenes aka as impatient writing -- to progress a story faster than an ice melting on 220-degree pavement, writers will in one sentence or less tell you a major plot point. I call this impatient writing. The writer is often much more excited to get to the action and climax then to develop important plot points. For example, telling us a character got summoned to the police station for questioning and then just skipping to the after scene and briefly saying what happened. A police questioning scene is ripe for drama. Why would you skip over it, especially if it's an essential plot point. Sometimes writers just aren't as fascinated or excited about the scene so it's easier to just jump over it. This leads to...

#2 Lack of story development -- when you skip really fast over important plot points, you are making your storytelling shallow. When you have a chance to play out important dramatic scenes, chew it up. Have you ever heard of "scenery chewers"? A dramatic scene gives you a chance to chew up the page in great drama. Play out those important scenes. SHOW the action, reactions and drama. Don't tell me, she was upset. SHOW me how she is upset. TELL me what she says. SHOW me her reactions.

If you are a new or emerging author, you may want someone to guide your work. My company 3L Publishing offers book coaching. We go through manuscripts and point out these issues by providing analysis and commentary to help guide a book to perfection. If you want to hire one of our experienced and skilled book coaches, please send an email to info@3LPublishing.com or call 916-300-8012. For more information about 3L, please visit the website at www.3LPublishing.com.

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