Show Don’t Tell [Insert Scream Here]

I think the overall feedback “show don’t tell” is about as productive as a coach standing at the side of a pool and yelling, “Swim better! Go faster!”

However, every cliché started out as simple brilliance, so instead of dismissing the catch-all comment in frustration, I started a list of what people really mean, such as:

– Don’t tell me how she felt; make me feel it.
– Don’t tell me how she seemed; make me see it.
– Don’t tell me what she knew; help me figure it out.
– Don’t tell me what she is; show me what she does. Continue reading “Show Don’t Tell [Insert Scream Here]”

Who Ya Gonna Call?

When my son was little one of his favourite movies, which he watched over and over on VHS was “GhostBusters”. I thought it was pretty harmless. But when his little sister was only two, while her daddy was giving her a bath, piped up, all innocence and wide eyes, and declared, “I’ve seen s**t that would turn you white!” it gave me pause. Daddy didn’t react and she never said it again. We had a great laugh over it. Continue reading “Who Ya Gonna Call?”

Who do you love?

Guess he’s probably going to make it.

“Some of your characters leap off the page,” favourite beta reader told me, “but some are really flat.” I was miffed. This was a work of non-fiction, I was merely introducing the reader to people I bumped into on the road, why should that need any work?

I requested clarification, a little archly. She told me how much she liked Ooooors’la, the tiny lady who pronounced her own name as though she were unwell, and who drove her forklift truck with a pinkie finger raised as thought taking tea with the queen. I giggled, “Oh she was funny, I liked her…”

Then she listed the people she couldn’t quite see, the ones who stayed resolutely non-dimensional. “Well, I didn’t want to be nasty because I don’t want the book to be a bitch-fest.” As the conversation progressed, we twigged that the all the people I’d liked leapt off the page and the ones I’d hated stayed put, resolutely indistinguishable from each other. Continue reading “Who do you love?”

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