Saturday, July 2, 2011

Show Time

You like coffee with, or without kittens?
The Little Things

Great writing is imagery, details, and a lot of work. Great writing is like film. It displays things for the reader and lets them form their own opinions. Bad writing--bad fiction writing--is textbook. It dumps information on the reader and tells them what's so.

Ever heard of "Info Dumps." They're those times in a book when you want to say,  "Get on with it already!"

To engage a reader, you must show them your story. You must have scenes that create conflict. You must have scenes that show love. If you've ever heard of "Show Don't Tell," then, no doubt, you know this. However, it's the showing of details that's a lot of work. And it's those details that make great writing.

It can tell time, but not show it.

If you write, "She was ugly," then you're feeding the story to the reader. However, if you say, "Her withered skin clung to her face, covered in zits and scars, and her teeth were worn away," then you create an image. Your readers can draw their own conclusions. They may find the woman ugly, or they may not, but they will see her as if she stood before them.

Of course, you character has every right to say or think, "She was ugly." In fact, such opinions can add depth to your story, but it cannot replace showing. It can only enhance it. That is why the most effective approach is to show first, comment later.

"Her withered skin clung to her face, covered in zits and scars, and her teeth were worn away. She was one ugly piece of... "

...You get the idea. It's easy to write, "He fought fiercely." Much harder to write, "His blade flashed like lightning in a storm, blurring with blood. He roared like some beast, desperate to rip through meat."

Let Your Story Unfold

Focus on the details. Show the reader what you see. Show it as clearly as possible. And then, tell them what your character thinks. 

Writing is a lot of work. No.

Writing is sweating at your keyboard, pushing your mind for ideas. It's filling page after page with notes, getting blisters on your fingers.And of course: Rewrites. Rewrites. Rewrites. Writing is a lot of work.


  1. Those kittens are very very cute. #justsaying

  2. imagery is so important. I can look back at things and see that without imagery its just going through motions. not nearly as interesting.

  3. Thanks for the comments guys. I'll agree that GOOD imagery is important :)