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 book addict, book review, book series, book spotlight, ebook, reading

Book Series Review: Cradle By Will Wight

This next series I am reviewing is by far one of my absolute favorites. And I mean top five of all time favorites, favorites. Yeah, it’s that freaking good. This was another series that was recommended to me. It is similar to LitRPG, but without all the status updates and player progression information. From what I understand, this series called Cradle is a cultivation (I think that’s the word?) or progression book.

Anyways, the series follows the adventures of Lindon who grows up thinking he is unworthy to be a sacred artist, but that’s all he wants to become. His clan, and even his family doesn’t think he has the power to do it (and won’t help him either). He was born unsouled, and can never truly harness the powers of even a low level sacred artist. Lindon doesn’t accept this fate.

After a truly bizarre experience where he nearly dies, Lindon is given the opportunity to change his fate and become a powerful sacred artist. So he makes the decision to leave everything he has ever known behind to do just that. He also knows there’s a looming threat to his clan and family sometime in the far future, and he’s determined to become the best sacred artist he can, so he can stop it.

On his journey, he meets Yerin and Eithan, who are also dedicated to advancing through the stages of sacred artist as fast as possible. And so the three of them race against an unknown clock as they advance, and face surmounting enemies and devastating monsters.

This series has a very martial arts feel to it that reminds me of a kung fu movie, but it certainly has it’s own and unique world. Will Wight really makes the characters and story come to life with his lovely descriptions and well thought out storyline. He had me hooked from the very beginning of book one.

Right now, there are ten books in the series. The titles are…

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Posted in empowerment, self-care, self-care coaching, self-care practice, self-empowerment, self-improvement

Brand New! I Am Now Offering Self-Care Coaching Services

Self-Care has been a big topic for me for the past year. I have dedicated a lot of time and energy to taking care of myself, being more aware of how I feel about pretty much everything, and making new choices that fall inline with what actually matters to me. In doing this, I have significantly changed my life for the better.

How do I know this? Because not only have I healed unresolved childhood trauma, moved past significant personal blocks, but I also feel good most days (instead of feeling bad most days like I used to). I have even gotten to the point where I am excited about the idea of stepping forward to start helping others develop their own self-care paths too.

Becoming a self-care coach has been something I have been thinking about for a little while now, but the time never seemed right. Recently, a series of events made me realize that it was time to reconsider becoming a coach. One of those events was my husband out of the blue having a rapid decline in health that required an emergency hospital visit.

Thankfully, my husband took his health scare seriously, and even while he was still in the hospital started making the mental changes to take much better care of himself. He’s been home almost a week now, and I’ve seen a major improvement in his health and the way he’s getting serious about his own self-care. While it was not an experience any of our family would like to relive, it has been a major blessing in disguise. It reminded our whole family of the importance of self-care, and that all my own self-care practice really paid off as I was able to deal with the situation better than I ever thought possible.

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Posted in books, creativity, education, guest post, hooked on books, reading, reading everyday, sparking creativity

Guest Post: The Importance of Reading For Education

By Linda Mills

Reading is one of the most vital habits and hobbies a parent can cultivate in their child, or a person of any age can take up, because reading develops the minds and opens up new avenues that are important in the pursuit of education. Reading about any subject is an indispensable resource that cannot be replaced by any other medium even in today’s technologically advanced era.

Reading Better Leads To Speaking Better

Self-expression is a vital tool for every human being, giving individuals the power to express themselves clearly with better vocabulary as well as enabling them to have an impact. The more someone reads, the more they are able to shape and express their opinion, which is vital for critical thinking and for educational purposes. Reading widely also means various sources of information can be triangulated and compared with each other, which again lends itself to effective speaking and articulation.

Widen The Scope

Reading widens the scope of a person’s mind. Readers are able to empathize with others who may be completely different from them, and they are able to experience different cultures. One of the main objectives of education is to widen the scope of one’s mind and teach a person about the world in general including history, philosophy, and science without being restricted to the area one is born in or the culture one belongs to. Reading also makes individuals more creative and imaginative as reading uses many different neuron networks in the brain, which no other stimuli including visual can command. No wonder reading makes people smarter!

Read Actively Not Passively

Passive reading means you read the words, but don’t pay extra attention to them or employ critical thinking to ascertain the various meanings of the text. For educational purposes, critical thinking is very important because it encourages asking questions, seeking multiple sources of information, and seeking a greater understanding of context. Active reading is better reading, because it allows for greater retention and benefit for students.

Reading And Comprehension

Comprehension of the written texts is very important for educational purposes and the most basic way is when someone––student or otherwise––can answer questions after reading any text. This sort of fluency and concentration also affects a student’s ability to write effectively because they are more able to retain information, express their opinions after evaluation, and write it all down.

Many techniques help with comprehension especially for younger readers, such as the following:

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