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.

Continue reading “Writing Tip: How To Balance Showing and Telling in Fiction Writing”
Posted in a guided journal, digital journal, digital journaling, guided journal, journal, journaling, new release, writing

New Release: I Feel Playful When… A Guided Journal

Here is a journal that’s been in the works for awhile, at least on a subconscious level. One of the things I have struggled with continually has been to relax, lighten up, and not take life so seriously all the time. So I decide to make it one of my new year’s resolutions, and while at first it seemed like I was making no progress at all on this particular resolution, about April/May time frame I realized I actually had.

That’s the thing about some resolutions or desires for change. They can happen when you don’t even realize it. This was certainly one of them. The realization came as I noticed that I had been making progress with being more playful in small, but consistent ways like getting even more into role playing video games, reading more books (especially series, which I love to do), and just allowing myself to experiment with ideas, thoughts, and even my daily schedule. In doing more of what I loved, and being more open to change and new ideas, I discovered more playful energy in my day to day life.

So with that in mind, I created the seventh book in my Journaling To Feel Good Series called I Feel Playful When as a reminder to me of all the ways I have invited more playfulness in my life. Not only is this a great reminder for me, it’s somewhat of a blueprint for others to find their playfulness as well.

The journaling prompts inside this guided journal, which are… I feel playful when, I feel excitement doing, I love to experimenting with, I enjoy thinking about, I think it’s fun to, I feel the most joy when I, I feel adventurous about. Each help dive and dig out the things that bring out the playfulness in us (at least it did for me!).

Here is the official book blurb…

Continue reading “New Release: I Feel Playful When… A Guided Journal”
Posted in apps, digital journal, digital journaling, journal, journaling, writing

10 Recommended Apps For Keeping a Digital Journal

I made myself a new year’s resolution to look into digital journaling. Surprisingly, I have yet to do such a thing as I have clung to my old school habit of needing a physical book and pen to journal. But I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about, because I know some people have really taken to digital journaling. In my research, I found 10 apps that I really enjoyed using for digital journaling.

As I have an iphone, the below information is related to apps that can be downloaded on iphone or ipads.

First, I found that there are two ways to keep a digital journal. You can either go through an app that’s specifically for journaling (and the app supplies the digital pages to journal on), or you can use a note-taking app that let’s you design your own (basic) journals, or import pdf files of digital journals pages purchased from someone else.

Which one is the right way to go? Well, that really depends on how much creative control you want for the way your digital journal looks, and if you want to import pdfs or not. There are some journaling apps that are very basic, while others let you really get creative with how your journal looks. Let’s start with the journal specific apps.

Journaling (Info Tracking) Apps

Journey

This is a journal specific app that allows you to customize your journaling journey, and is good for tracking certain kinds of information (like health, mood, location, ect.). You can either do simple journal entries each day, or get really detailed with photos, GEO tagging, mood recording, and even track your exercising and health habits. This app also offers a step by step journaling coach if you aren’t sure what to write about each day. The basic journaling options are free, but the GEO, health tracking, and coach requires an in app purchase. You can also sync this app with your Google Drive and across other devices.

Mood App

I really love this one! It’s great for doing one or multiple journal entries a day. It has a mood tracker, so you can keep track of how you are feeling. This app offers a few journaling prompts if you would like a little help with what to write. You can also upload photos and keep track of locations. There is also a live journaling group, if you want to be part of a community. My favorite part of this app is the Spaced Out feature that has planets moving around in the background and repeating affirmations to give you a nice positive boost for the day.

Flow Journal

This app is best used at the end of the day. It’s really great for setting goals of how you want to feel and/or accomplishments you’d like to achieve. Some of these goals are fun, productivity, relaxation, relationships, gratitude, family, growth, ect. You let the app know what you accomplished each day, and it tracks your progress. You can add a journal entry, photos, and location as well. After inputting entries for a period of time, you can go back and look at your accomplishment trends.

Continue reading “10 Recommended Apps For Keeping a Digital Journal”
Posted in entrepreneur, growing business, guest post, small business, writing

Guest Post: No Matter Your Entrepreneurial Needs, This Guide Has You Covered

Photo Credit: Unsplash

By Chelsea Lamb

Starting your own business is a big, bold move! If you’re feeling a little apprehensive about taking such a leap of faith, you should know that there are plenty of resources and guides available online to help you with just about any sort of entrepreneurial task.

For example, if you need help getting your writing business started, you can check out the writer tools and resources available from Cynthia D. Griffin’s website. She even offers writing and editing services! You can also use the following resources to fill other startup needs.

You Need to Write a Business Plan

Every successful business starts out with thoughtful planning. Some entrepreneurs have made it big time without a plan, but you should know that these folks are the exception to the rule. Not only does a business plan serve as your roadmap to success, but having one can also help you out when it comes to securing startup funds for your new business.

To take the guesswork out of writing your plan, look for templates you can fill in with information. There are plenty available online and you can tailor them to your individual business needs.

You Need Help Getting Started

Make no mistake: Your time is precious when you’re an entrepreneur. So, while you can take on every single startup task solo, this may not be the best use of your time and energy. Instead, be like savvy entrepreneurs and consider hiring freelancers, or even permanent staff members.

Want to keep startup costs as low as possible? Using free sites to find qualified freelancers may be your best option. For instance, with one simple search, you can find a pro to help with data analysis services, or you can find writers, website developers, and any other type of freelancer you need. Best of all, you can find an hourly rate that fits your budget.

You could also work with an employment agency to fill your staffing needs. In a nutshell, an employment agency matches businesses and business owners with both permanent and temporary staff. Although most agencies do charge a fee for their services.

Continue reading “Guest Post: No Matter Your Entrepreneurial Needs, This Guide Has You Covered”
Posted in guest post, learning about writing, tips, writing, writing advice, writing in difficult times, writing tips

Guest Post: 5 Tips to Keep Writing Through Difficult Times

Image from Pixabay

By Rachel Weatherley

“Unbroken happiness is a bore: life should have ups and downs,” notes Richard, one of the protagonists of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. Paraphrasing Molière here, Richard is a writer working in 1960s Nigeria, frustrated by his inability to finish a manuscript during a time of major social upheaval. Faced with COVID-19 and its accompanying challenges, reading this passage reminded me that we should at least try to maintain some optimism at this time. Difficult times are an enduring feature of life, which we must embrace and adapt to the best we can.

Of course, this is no mean feat. In times of unprecedented personal and collective difficulty, turning away from the world to start writing a book can feel insular and indulgent. Even with the best intentions, adapting to new challenges, and keeping on top of day-to-day life, can distract us from the writing projects we would otherwise love to focus on. 

Preventing that temporary distraction from turning into long-term disillusionment is a task in itself—I hope the following tips can keep you engaged, focused and productive!

1. Reorganise and refresh your work space

As cafes and libraries close their doors, and I find myself staring at the same blank wall every day, Janet Jackson’s lyrics ring ever truer—you really don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. This new monotony hasn’t exactly been conducive to getting words on the page—but it did get me thinking about how I could adapt my environment to make it a more inspiring and energising workspace. 

Perhaps counterintuitively, I need a workplace with distraction. In my university room, I had a busy and colorful wall covered in all sorts of adornments: postcards, letters, photographs and posters—the more eclectic the better. This wall was the next best thing to a change of scenery: it reminded me of happier times, took me to faraway places, and often served as inspiration when I was stuck for ideas.

2. Consider work that will aid your writing 

Every writer worth their salt knows that a significant amount of research and thinking time goes into producing the shiny finished product. So if you’re suffering from a case of writer’s block, you can still make productive use of your time with the following tips:

• Scour blogs like Reddit, home to thousands of illuminating threads where people share anecdotes, experiences, feelings and opinions, ranging from the poignant to the hilarious.

• Call a friend and ask if they have any opinions or feelings about a certain subject. You could even work together and bounce ideas off each other.

• Watch documentaries and video clips that pad out the factual details and context of your work.

This will provide some respite from typing, and maybe even a spark of inspiration for the next stage of your story. Inspiration is found in the most unexpected of places—so get creative with your free time!

Continue reading “Guest Post: 5 Tips to Keep Writing Through Difficult Times”