Posted in better writing, creative writing, editing, fiction, showing vs telling, writing, writing tips

Writing Tip: How To Balance Showing and Telling in Fiction Writing

This is a subject that’s near and dear to my heart. Mostly because at one point in my writing journey, I totally sucked at showing the reader what was going on. I was all about the telling, and anytime someone critique my fiction, I always got called out for it.

At first I was ticked off. Why couldn’t people see past what I wrote to see what I actually meant? After a while, I realized how ridiculous that was. The whole point of being a writer isn’t to write, so much as it’s to convey what you mean and feel in a way others can know it too. One of the best ways to do this is to spend time building up your description to show readers what you mean, not just spoon feed it to them.

So how much showing should fiction writing have? I personally think it should be a balance. If you had all showing, or all telling the writing just doesn’t work well. So maybe about half and half? But that all depends on the writer and what’s being written too.

One thing I learned on my writing journey is that developing writing skills take time. Just because you decided to make improvements in a certain area doesn’t mean you are going to see significant results right away. Just be conscious of the change you want to make, and work at it a little each time you sit down write. This particular area took me years to build, but it’s been worth all the effort. Here are a few things I did to develop my showing and telling.

First, I studied examples of showing and what made it different from telling. I even took a course through a writing acquaintance Michael Knost who really helped me understand the key component of what showing more description looks like.

The first thing is to know that a big part of showing is really about emotion, and letting the reader feel what the character is feeling. So it means going a little deeper. And for bonus points, if you can convey a sense of emotion without actually writing the emotion out, that’s where the gold is.

An example would be like this…

Example of Telling: Karen wept for her daughter.

The emotion here is sadness. So let’s show the sadness, and for extra credit let’s do it without saying wept, sad, or sorrow.

Example of Showing: The savage storm raged inside Karen as tears streaked down her cheeks in a relentless waterfall.

That’s a pretty big difference. Those sentences are conveying the same idea (or emotion), but in a totally different way.

For me, this wasn’t so easy in the beginning. I was so used to telling that it felt like I was walking through molasses every time I had to slow down my writing to add more description. But I realized that in slowing down, I was really doing myself a big favor.

I also started paying more attention to my own emotions. Exactly how I felt during high emotional times. What sort of analogies I would liken those emotions to. And where I might feel those emotions in my body.

I also purchased this handy book The Emotional Thesaurus. This resource has been the single most used writing tool I have ever used. In fact, I don’t even have to pull it out most of the time now. I’ve pretty much memorized many of the more common emotions that I use in my writing.

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Posted in creative writing, fiction, free writing, short story, writing exercise

Short Story: The Gift

Hello all! So for a while now, I’ve been doing some short writing exercises to help get me into a fiction writing mindset. I have many that I have done. Some of my results have been okay, and some of them actually turned out more than okay. I liked this particular piece, and decided to share. I hope you enjoy it too.

The Gift

I carefully picked up the scattered pieces of the broken purple mug. Half of a smile looked up at me from the shattered ceramic. It was all that was left of the once cartoon sketched smiley face on the side. The rest of the face gone. Yeah, it was a bit of a gaudy mug, but I still loved it. Though that might have to do with who gave it to me––my son.

He’d been six when he picked it out and proudly told me that it was my birthday gift from him. He said the mug was my favorite color and it had a smiley face, so it was perfect for me. I remembered chuckling at that. And as I went for the broom to sweep up the the smaller pieces, I chuckled again, remembering that moment.

I wasn’t sure how I would tell him I accidentally dropped the mug. I was all butterfingers this morning trying to make my tea. Maybe he wouldn’t mind. He was fourteen now. It had been so long ago since he’d gotten me the mug, maybe he wouldn’t even care. I swallowed a lump in my throat. I cared, and I was mad at myself for breaking it at all.

I swung the broom with a little more force than necessary, gathering up the remaining bits. And as I crouched down to whisk up the pieces, I let my mind wander to other gifts my son had given me over the years. I grinned as I realized the best had been all the hugs and kisses.

He liked doing that––coming up to me at random moments in the day to give me a great big hug. That always put a smile on my face, no matter what I was doing, or how I was feeling. I emptied the dustpan into the trash, remembering the hug he’d given me just last night before bed.

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Posted in Blood Feud, ebook, Emperors of Ethia, fiction, novel

Blood Feud Available as eBook

It has been out in print for almost a year, but now Blood Feud finally out in ebook!  You can either get it for your kindle at Amazon or as epub at Smashwords.

This is the first book in the Emperors of Ethia. If you are a science fiction lover or just love books in general, check out the beginning of this epic series that dives into a galaxy ruled by an authoritarian Emperor who’s determined to settle once and for all the successor of his throne, and a son determine to find out more about his true role in the Empire.

Caught in a deadly conspiracy to forge the next Emperor of the Ethian Galaxy, an ancient rite demands blood…

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Posted in Apex, Apex Publications, book review, books, fiction

Book Review: Machine by Jennifer Pelland

Machine by Jennifer Pelland is available on Kindle and on Paperback.

13418849Want to take a walk on the wild side? Then Jennifer Pelland’s novel Machine is for you, because that is exactly what Pelland’s main character Cecil does in this delightfully depicted science fiction world.

In this novel technology has advanced to the point of creating artificial replicant bodies for those who are unfortunate enough to find themselves with serious injuries, or illness that can’t be cured right away. Cecil just got her new body after being diagnosed with a low priority incurable disease. She decides to copy her consciousness to a “new” body and wait for the cure. But Cecil’s life takes a sudden and horrific blow when she wakes up in her machine body to find out wife Rivka has divorced her during the copying process.

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Posted in book review, books, fiction

Series Review: Craig Johnson’s Longmire Mysteries Books 1-6

The Cold DishDeath Without CompanyKindness Goes UnpunishedAnother Man’s MoccasinsThe Dark HorseJunkyard Dogs all by Craig Johnson is available on Kindle, Hardcover, and Paperback.

51iVAeShFCL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This Friday, I’m doing something a little different. I’m reviewing a series instead of just one book (because I didn’t want to sound too repetitive reviewing each book individually. I mean how many times can I say Craig Johnson is a super awesome writer? lol…).

I first heard of Walt Longmire as his TV persona in his namesake show Longmire broadcasted by A&E. I watched all 3 seasons in two weeks and was dying for more. I also found out A&E wasn’t picking the show back up and that got me upset since season 3 was left on a hell of a cliffhanger. But then Netflix came to save the day and picked up season 4 (whoot Netflix!).

Anyways, I say all this, because I was so impressed with the television show, I decided to read the books the series was based off. And so began my delightful journey through Craig Johnson’s amazing world.

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