Show Not Tell

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Today’s Tip: Show Not Tell

Details are essential to a good story. It builds the setting, moves the plot forward, and creates tension that makes readers sit at the edge of their seats. If you guys like show and tell, I’m sorry to say that this is show NOT tell.

Who: Showing not Telling

What: details that help move your story along

When: describing something

Where: throughout the novel

Why: to move your story along and make it less dull

How: Avoid simple sentences. “The dog was excited.” Why was it excited? What is its reactions? What are your reactions? Answer these questions and soon enough you’ll have an entire paragraph instead of one sentence. Plus, your paragraph probably seems a lot more enthusiastic and real than the simple sentence. Think of the different details you can add. Sometimes, you might need to break off from describing one thing by describing another. Add a “the wind whistled through the trees” somewhere in there. But be careful not to write too much detail or your reader will start getting bored of all the sentence too.

Activity: Rewrite these “telling” sentences into “showing” paragraphs.

  1. I loved her.
  2. I felt nauseated.
  3. It was painful.
  4. It was dark.
  5. I was scared.
  6. I felt nervous.
  7. My friend was mad.

 

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Writing Tips 15

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Today’s Tip: Revision

Every author’s gotta go back to revise their story. You can’t expect your novel to be the perfect bestseller on the first try. If it is, OMG TELL ME YOUR SECRET. MUST. HAVE. I know it’s a pain to go through all of that hard work only to go through it again. But trust me, this time it’ll be easier.

Who: Revision

What: going back through your story and making changes if necessary

When: once you’re done writing your story

Where: beginning, middle, end, all of it

Why: to check for any irrelevant details, grammar issues, spelling, etc.

How: Simple. Once you’re finished with your novel, go back and read it again. I find it best if you read your story like you would normally read the work of another author. That way, you’re looking through the reader’s eyes and will know what the reader wants and what the reader finds annoying or repetitive. Feel the reader, be the reader, the reader is within you. Look for anything you can change, like boring long paragraphs, grammar that doesn’t make sense, big vocabulary that no one understands, details that are confusing, or too much repetition of the same thing over and over again, whether it be a certain scene or a certain action. Remember, always keep your reader hooked because once they put your book down, there’s no guarantee they’ll pick it up again.

Activity: Write different versions of you story. You can alter the beginning, middle, end, or all of it. Be careful not to change the main plot of your story.

Writing Activity!

Read half of a book- exactly half! You can either cut the number of chapters in half or cut the number of pages in half. If it’s the number of pages, you can finish the chapter.

After reading half of the book, set it aside and write what you think will happen next. Write like you are continuing the story- you can write like the author does but you don’t have to.

This is an activity to test your imagination and how well you know the characters.

Have fun!

Writing Tips 11

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Today’s Tip: Setting

Your setting is your world. Without your world, there would be no you. Without you, there would be no story. So basically, you need a setting. No novel can go without one- I challenge all of you to write a story without a setting and send it to me!

Who: Setting

What: the atmosphere and surroundings your story takes place in

When: throughout your story

Where: changes with specific events that occur

Why: to give the reader a clear image of where your story is taking place

How: Describe your setting. Usually, this is done through the main character’s senses. What’s the weather? The location? Surrounding scenery? Objects that catch the main character’s attention? The atmosphere, the temperature? How does the main character feel? The setting helps add details to your story, so if you ever run out of things to write….

Activity: Take note of your surroundings and notice the details that catch your eye whenever you change to a new setting. Record your observations and imply your data onto your main character. That way, you know which details to mention and which details are irrelevant.

Writing Tips 10

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It may be just me, but sometimes I get stuck on the very first chapter of writing a novel/story and I just give up the whole idea, thinking “I’ll never be an author, never make something big, this is shit.” You get me?

Who: Beginnings

What: the hook that grabs your reader’s attention and makes them want to keep reading beyond the first page

When: at the beginning

Where: usually first page

Why: so readers will want to read more and your book can even become a bestseller

How: This is the hard part. You want to write something that instantly catches the reader’s attention. You can actually classify your readers; lifesavers- they read at least the first few chapters before deciding to put your book down, firsts- they only read the first chapter, and rush ones- judge you by the first sentence. That can be scary and sometimes discouraging. But not to fear! Every senpai has a secret. You just have to find it.

Activity (I got this idea from Gail Carson Levine): Pick out a few of your favorite books- if it’s a series, most preferably the first book- and read the first few sentences. Record them and, when you’re done with all the books, compare the beginnings and look for similarities. The result, my friends, is your secret recipe.

 

A few of mine:

Hunger Games: “When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping.”

Wings of Fire: “A dragon was trying to hide in the storm.”

Harry Potter: “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.”

The Fire Within: “‘Well, here we are,’ Mrs. Pennykettle said, pausing by the door of the room she had for rent. She clasped her hands together and smiled. ‘Officially, it’s our dining room, but we always eat in the kitchen these days.’ The young man beside her nodded politely and patiently adjusted his shoulder bag. ‘Lovely. Erm, shall we take a look…?’”

Writing Tips 9

 

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Today’s Tip: Dialogue

If you’re a writer, you should know the basics of writing. One of these basics is that dialogue moves the plot along. Today’s topic is the talking.

Who: Dialogue

What: the words characters say in a story to move the plot along

When: anytime

Where: in between actions to keep the plot running smoothly

Why: so your story is not just a huge, tiring chunk of descriptions

How: Too much talking is just- well- too much. No talking at all hurts the reader’s eyes. A writer must insert the perfect amount of dialogue at the right time and the right place so the story flows and looks natural. You also have to use the right wording. Nobody uses big words unless the character is a genius. Dialogue also reveals something about the character’s nature. Some people speak in accents or slangs, others talk a lot at one time- and there are the people who just grunt and give one word answers. It’s really up to you.

Activity: Observe the way every person speaks around you for one day. Record your results- classify them if you want.