Tuesday Tips #1

Tuesday Tips #1

  • Show don’t tell
  • Outline your plot
  • Don’t outline your plot
  • Be descriptive
  • Don’t be too descriptive
  • Know what your characters had for breakfast
  • Leave something to the readers imagination
  • Grammar and the Oxford comma
  • Break all the Grammer rules
  • Write what you know
  • Don’t use adverbs
  • Vary sentence length

There are so many tips for writers available online. Some of it is helpful, some of it is constraining. Let’s sift through them every week and discuss what works and what doesn’t.

I will recommend Stephen King’s On Writing: Memoir of the Craft. His top tips- READ! Write every day. Don’t use adverbs. I highly recommend that anyone that wants to write, get your hands on this book.

Today, let’s discuss “show don’t tell.” This is an important lesson to learn and then tear apart. I find this is true with most rules.

So why is it important? Showing is an art. You can feel the character’s emotions when it is shown. For example:

Tell: She was angry, furious in fact.

Show: Her jaw clenched and her eyes narrowed. Her hands balled into fists. Her throat ached with the scream she swallowed.

Which example did you, the reader, feel? The first line is blah. The second was better, right?

So when would you want to tell? 

  • A short backstory, instead of writing an entire prequel
  • To reference events in an earlier book in the series. (Be careful not to be too vague for new readers to your series)
  • To give the reader a brain break. If you just closed an action packed chapter, a short “tell” segue will give the reader a break.

Can you think of other examples of when to “tell?”

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