I'll be honest. At first, I just didn't want to listen. After all, writing a story was TELLING a story and how do you tell a story if you don't "tell" huh? Even after I studied article after article and book after book about what showing is, I still don't have it completely down, but I'm working on it.
After receiving FIVE different critiques, with two of them from agents, and all of them saying "You have too much telling in your writing" I decided it was time to learn what that meant:)
So, I'm hosting a SHOW OFF workshop and guess what, guys? The lovely and talented
Carrie Pestritto of the Prospect Agency
will be giving a one page critique to the writer who is the biggest show off! That's right! It's time to pull out a 250 word selection from your manuscript and post it in the comments today and tomorrow. On Friday, I'll ask you to post your new, revised selection that best shows the places you have removed telling and replaced it with showing.
Carries has graciously agreed to critique the most improved!!
So, lets' get started, shall we?
First class: Show off your details
What does that mean? Let she show by example:
The little boy was sleepy.
That sentence is telling. It simply says a boring detail that doesn't excite me or give any details. At all. So, let me add some detail and see what happens.
The blue-eyed toddler boy wore a helmet of silver and traces of sticky candy circled his mouth. His dress up army outfit fell off his shoulders and the pants leg wrinkled under his feet and he looked so tired. He was strong-willed and I knew he would rather play army man then take a nap. It would be a struggle.
This version has some details, but how are they relevant to the story? They are nice, but they don't add to the story. They're random and out of place. Plus, there's still some telling going on. Let's try again...
His tired eyes squinted into red-rimmed cracks. He pushed his army helmet down over his brows, his eyes barely showing from the over-sized hat. One hand clinched a half eaten candy bar, the other waved a plastic pistol. "You mean enemy! I'll never surrender to a nap!"
Now, what does this selection show you? There's a tired little boy who doesn't want to sleep, but he is stubborn! But writing this, this way, I leave a few options for you, the reader. You may have a completely different thought. You may think, " Man, that boy needs a spanking!" or maybe "He's so creative, I hope he never loses his great imagination!"
By showing off, I left some things open for the reader to decide. I built on the details in an engaging way, and I kept it interesting rather than boring!
Now, beautiful guys and dolls, if you want to participate in the workshop, feel free to comment and leave your sample. At the end of the week, you'll be given the chance to show off you improvements and win a critique from Carrie!