Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Well Worth a Read Wednesday

Apart from the narcissistic element of this blog (and let's face it - no one who writes a blog can claim NOT to be narcissistic) one of the things I wanted to do was help other apprentice writers.  Now I've got a pretty healthy ego but even I'm not so impressed by my own skills that I would think that I could do that on my own.  What I meant was by finding articles or essays or books or films or whatevers that may be able to help with those things that always seem to trip up a newbie.

So I thought a regular feature of my blog should be highlighting some of the amazing posts I've found while researching/procrastinating/hiding from my WIP.  My only gripe is that I always tend to find things AFTER I need them.  Take for instance the recent New Voices competition.  I thought my entry was okay - nothing spectacular (I'm not practised enough for spectacular just yet) but I had hoped that the eds might see a spark and ask to see more or something else.  They didn't.  And after reading Shirley Jump's article, I now know why.

I don't know many writers who, when they were starting out, didn't have a problem with the whole 'Show Don't Tell' concept.  It's not difficult to understand - pretty straight forward really - but it's really hard to do.  And by 'really hard' I mean the hair pulling out, swearing at inanimate objects, keyboard tossing kind of hard.  But fear not because the amazing Shirley Jump has come to our rescue (see there where 'I' just became 'we' - we're in this together now whether you like it or not)!

Shirley's article is fabulous not only because it explains HOW to Show Not Tell but best of all - it gives examples!!  I love examples.  And even better, she gives non-examples (for those of you unfamiliar with this term it means how not to do it - aka Elissa's NV entry).  So rush over and have a read and then print it out and pin it somewhere near your writing nook.

If only someone could invent a keyboard for writers that:
  • makes a loud Doom-doom noise every time I modify 'said' with an adverb; 
  • shrieks like a banshee every time I use the verb 'to be' or a form of it;
  • tsk-tsks every time I include the phrases 'looked' or 'felt'; and
  • says "oh no you didn't" if I forget and use anything other than 'said' for a dialogue tag.


Jackie Ashenden said...

Great post, Elissa! Must check out Shirley's article. Sometimes I have a problem where I show TOO much. Argh, it's finding that happy medium again. :-)

Elissa Graham said...

Showing too much eh? Reminds me of a saucy little black number I have hiding in the back of my wardrobe! I'm a teller. Well I USED to be a teller. Now I'm a show-er (had to put the '-' in there or you might be forgiven for thinking I was having delusions I was a bathroom fixture)!! It's kinda like saying "I'm a lover not a fighter" but it doesn't sound as cool. Perhaps we could purr "I prefer to show. Not tell" Yup. Much sexier.

Happy mediums only exist at Psychic Fairs....oh it's sad when you make yourself laugh isn't it? Anyway Jackie, you lead and I'll follow.

Lacey Devlin said...

I think I've gone over to the other dark side with Jackie and I'm showing a little too much ;) Dunno how that happened... maybe it's something in the water on this side of the world?

nicolehelm said...

Oh man, I love the idea of those sounds happening when you write one of those things! If only, if only!