Where to start? I have already learned so much during the short time I have been attempting to write my story. I think probably the biggest thing I have finally gotten a small grasp on is the whole Show vs. Tell. Oh Dear Lord, I hate those words. They are however necessary as I have learned. It is the difference between looking at a rock and feeling a rock, if that makes sense. The best way to describe it is that you have to imagine describing something to someone who is visually impaired. You don’t want to tell them, oh she is angry. You want them to figure that out on their own because the experience is so much richer then. Her face is red, her teeth slammed together like a steel trap and showing. Her hands fisted together so tight her knuckles are white.
Does that invoke the image of anger in you as you read? Do you prefer, she is angry rather than seeing and feeling her emotions through the imagery?
This is still a difficult hurdle for me to cross, so many times when I receive a critique and I think I did a good job, I get show me don’t tell me. That frustration makes me shut down my computer and let it rest.
One purchase I made that I think has helped me tremendously is the Emotional Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. It has helped me to understand how to show things at least a little better.
With all of that said, Show vs Tell is a thorn in every writer’s side. Knowing when to use it and when it is overkill is a fine line that I am in the process of learning.