So…every writer faces the difficulties of showing action through their writing versus telling. I venture to say that most blogs about writing have a post or two or twenty about this topic. That in itself is comforting, because you know you’re not alone and even the best writers probably have to go back and fix these types of errors. Right?
Well..that may very well be….but that still doesn’t make it acceptable, so stop whining right now.
I have flogged myself over this more than a few times because it is the lazy writer in me coming out and I hate her. And you should hate your lazy writer too.
So what do you do about it? Well…first…you have to be able to recognize it. Second, you need to study examples of how to fix it.
This fact really made my brain work overtime last night, and this is what I came up with. I think it would be fun to post a random picture on this blog once a week and get some of my writer friends from different genres to caption it with a Tell example and a Show example. When we write, we are basically describing events as we see them being played out in our warped minds anyway, so captioning a picture should be easy. Not only would it be informative and helpful for writers who follow us, but I imagine at times it could be quite hilarious because we will all interpret it differently. There might be a sea monster or another planet, or a love story or a murder. Who knows?? Now…I’m not sure if I can get people to commit, but I’m gonna ask and we’ll see how it turns out.
This is kind of how it would work:
Tell: I sat on the dock looking at the lake. I could feel his presence, a feeling I knew well.
Show: The sun was warm on my back as I stared out across the silent lake, but nothing compared to the feel of his eyes as they gazed upon me. My skin quivered and ached as I absorbed the familiarity of the moment.
See? I know I’m not the best at this, I struggle with it every time I sit down to write. That’s why I intend on asking for professional help…you know what I mean….the writer kind of professional help. Leave a comment if this would be helpful or something you’d like to see every week……
Oh yeah…and remember…SHOW through: