Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Don't Be A Lazy Writer

Tell me what emotion your character is experiencing and I'm gonna be unhappy. I don't want you to tell your readers that Mary is excited, scared, shy, silly or angry as the women in today's poster are labeled. Show me! 

If you write Mary was angry, you're conserving words. Oh my,yes! A three word sentence conveys what you want the reader to get. You've saved room for lots of other words in your story, creative nonfiction essay or even a poem. Do it all through your project and you'll get labeled a 'lazy writer' for that is exactly what happens when a writer tells the reader what the character feels. It's the easy way out.

Using the 'tellng technique' instead of 'showing' throughout your project will result in a boring piece of writing. The last thing you want to do is bore your reader. 

Show your reader Mary's anger as in this sample:

Mary grabbed the nearest object and hurled it at the wall. The book fell with a thud. She tore across the room, snatched the book and this time, she aimed for the window when she threw it. As the glass shattered, she kicked the ottoman twice before speaking to her trembling sister.

Yes, the writer used a lot more words but isn't it more interesting? Don't you get a visual image of Mary's anger? It's action but you could also show her breathing hard, screaming as she throws the book. All these sensory details result in showing your character's emotion. Nopwhere in the passage did you see the words Mary was angry.

As an exercise, use each of the emotions shown above and write a simple telling sentence using the emotion. Then write a passage, or even one sentence, that shows the emotion. Keep the sensory details in mind as you write. 

Peel off the Lazy Writer label. You're more likely to find an acceptance than a rejection if you do.

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