background preloader

5 situations where it's better to tell than show in your fiction

5 situations where it's better to tell than show in your fiction
Good stuff; thanks for the article, and I agree with most of it. I think I disagree, though, at least partly, with your point near the end about the emotional/psychological stuff; I think that a lot of the time that's exactly what "show, don't tell" is meant to be all about. For example, if your character is tired, you can say "She was tired." Or you can indicate indirectly, through her actions and her dialogue and other people's reactions to her, that she's tired. The latter is often a lot more effective in conveying the idea that she's tired. Of course, sometimes writers don't show well, and readers are left puzzled. Anyway. @elysdir: Yeah, I think the emotional, psychological stuff is definitely a place where telling can very easily get more heavy-handed.

http://io9.com/5655794/5-situations-where-its-better-to-tell-than-show-in-your-fiction

Related:  TipsAdvice

The Four Essential Stages of Writing Image by photosteve101 In last week’s post, 7 Habits of Serious Writers, I mentioned the importance of actually writing, plus the need to redraft. I thought it’d be worth putting those stages into context – because they’re not all you need for an effective piece. How to Finish A Novel The problem with novels is that you can’t sit down in one day and complete one from start to finish. (At least I can’t. If you can, you have my undying envy.)

6 Writers Who Broke the Rules and Got Away with It Have you ever read a book and noticed the author has broken what we writers often hear of as “the rules”? My initial reaction is usually indignation: “Why can she get away with that, and I can’t??” The more I study the craft of writing, the more rules I hear about, and most of these are guidelines based on making a book reader-friendly. As much as I believe it’s good practice to avoid the common pitfalls of beginning writers, there are always exceptions to every rule. Here are six commonly heard rules for writers, and six authors who’ve gotten away with breaking them. Fantasy world Many fantasy worlds draw heavily on real world history, geography and sociology, and also on mythology and folklore. Plot function[edit] The setting of a fantasy work is often of great importance to the plot and characters of the story. The setting itself can be imperiled by the evil of the story, suffer a calamity, and be restored by the transformation the story brings about.[3] Stories that use the setting as merely a backdrop for the story have been criticized for their failure to use it fully.[4] Even when the land itself is not in danger, it is often used symbolically, for thematic purposes, and to underscore moods.[5]

Writing Tips - Publishers list of phrases for writers to avoid We have all met people who have the extraordinary ability to talk in clichés: Y’know, not to beat around the bush or hedge your bet, this section is a must-read because it calls a spade a spade and in a nutshell leaves no stone unturned to pull the rug from under those off-the-cuff, old-hat bête noires called clichés. These are the people who’ve given the cliché its bad name. We all tend to use them, of course. Sometimes that familiar phrase is the neatest way of expressing yourself and most of us can, in a flash (cliché), unconsciously call up a few hundred of them to help us out in writing and conversation. But how aware are we of the irritation (or worse, sniggering) that the overuse of clichés can cause?

7 Habits of Serious Writers Image credit: aless&ro With thanks to Michael Pollock for the article suggestion and title. I’ve been writing, on and off, since my early teens – but it’s only in the last three years that I’ve really taken my writing seriously. It’s made a dramatic difference. I write far, far more. I write better. Ten Steps to Finding Your Writing Voice Your job as a writer is much more than just selling your books, believe it or not. Your job — if you want to make a living at this, anyway — is to sell yourself. You are selling your unique perspective on life, your unique collection of beliefs, fears, hopes and dreams, your memories of childhood tribulation and triumphs and adult achievements and failures . . . your universe. Anybody can sit down and write a story or a book — that is simply a matter of applying butt to chair and typing out three or four or ten pages a day until the thing is done.

Fundamentals of Fiction: Avoid Those Beginners' Blunders by Marg Gilks "Writing is easy; all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead." -- Gene Fowler You've written a great story, sent it out again and again, but it keeps being rejected. Why? What are some of the writing blunders you may be committing that set red "amateur" flags waving for agents and publishers -- and invariably earn your story a rejection slip? They're Only Empty Words Fantasy: Getting Started By Sandra C. Durham © 2003, Sandra C. Durham Eight Secrets Which Writers Won’t Tell You Image from Flickr by Lazurite This is not particularly relevant to the post, but I’m getting an awful lot of comments telling me, often a little snarkily, “it’s ‘THAT’ not ‘WHICH’”. The “don’t use which for restrictive clauses” rule comes (as far as I can tell) from Strunk and White.

Read These Seven Books, and You'll be a Better Writer Donald Miller I used to play golf but I wasn’t very good. I rented a DVD, though, that taught me a better way to swing, and after watching it a few times and spending an hour or so practicing, I knocked ten strokes off my game. I can’t believe how much time I wasted when a simple DVD saved me years of frustration. I’d say something similar is true in my writing career. If you read these books, your writing will improve to the point people who read your work will begin to comment on how well you write.

The Serendipity Workshop: Lost on the Border at Twilight Finding — and Using — Your Life’s Essential Strangeness You mention a friend you haven’t heard from in twenty years . .. and three days later you receive an e-mail from that friend.Your child tells you who is on the other end of the phone . .. before you pick it up — or even stranger, right before it rings. Your car keys vanish, only to reappear an hour later, right where you thought you left them all along.

Fundamentals of Fiction: Being Realistic by Marg Gilks "I am always interested in why young people become writers, and from talking with many I have concluded that most do not want to be writers working eight and ten hours a day and accomplishing little; they want to have been writers, garnering the rewards of having completed a best-seller. They aspire to the rewards of writing but not to the travail." -- James A. Michener I sent the first story I ever wrote for paid publication to Asimov's Science Fiction. For those outside the speculative fiction genre, Asimov's is one of the Big Four -- the "pro" magazines with the largest readership, the biggest-name authors, the best pay rates.

How to write an excellent first chapter for your novel - Writing Tips From philosophy to literature to learning a new language, Humanities 360 is a veritable fountain of knowledge on everything you’d like to know about the humanities. Resources for every level of writing Here at Helium Publishing, we pride ourselves on knowing a thing or two about writing. We are, after all, one of the largest online writer communities.

Related: