Hints: We discussed the concept of “show don’t tell”.
Telling is when the author informs the reader of information. It doesn’t stir the emotions and often the picture may not stay with the reader. It can tell emotions but we don’t really enter into the emotions. For example, use of was and felt are sign posts of telling not showing.
Showing is creating a picture rather than sharing information. It can be more detailed and wordy but allows the reader to deduce for themselves what the character is experiencing, and experience it with them. The reader can be more immersed in the journey of the characters. It makes the reader think a bit more. There is more action involved in the picture being created.
An example is:
- She was cranky and angry.
- She slammed down the phone. “I never want to talk to her again.”
Our challenge: Our challenge this month was to reword a couple of sentences as showing not telling.
“It was a sunny autumn day.”
“The dry leaves crunched underfoot, with the sun glinting through the now nearly bare trees.”
Here is another example you could try:
“She felt sad.”
A range of varied stories were share for our comments. It is interesting how similar stories can come from different prompts, or very different stories from the same prompt. But this month, it was stories with a similar focus, from a different perspective in a different month. Last month we had a story about the gift of a piano that brought memories of the past that resulted in devastation; this month the tory about a piano was exciting and joyful. It was a relief to read this story this month for another reason. Some of our stories were a little on the bleak side.
Feedback on our stories always helps to improve our writing. But there are times when a story becomes the basis of non-writing discussions about the past, or current, issues. One story this month gave rise to a discussion about the role of the father 50-60 years ago in the raising of families.
The prompts for our April class are:
- It had been quite a while since I'd had to learn something so new and difficult.
- It starts in thirty minutes.
- One of these days, I’m going to say no.
I will be away for the April class, so we have some changed arrangements. The class will share their stories by email, and where possible prepare feedback for the authors on 10 April (the date of the class) and sharing with the class by email.
In preparation for our May class (when I will have returned) the prompts are:
- It was a square cardboard box resting quietly in the “free box” section at Bunnings.
- I was staring at the ordinary little photograph for some time.
- She found it in the middle of the road and it changed her life.