Elements of Craft
Tell, Don't Show
The first rule of writing is show, don't tell. But let's face
it -- if we showed everything, our novels would run tens of thousands
of pages -- and readers would die of exhaustion. So what do we
do? We must decide what information the reader needs. Just because
we know everything about our characters and just because we spent
weeks researching, it isn't necessary to share everything we
know with our reader. We must choose only the details we need
to authenticate our story and omit everything else.
NARRATIVE is telling what happens. This is useful when
the acting out of the story (by dialogue and action) does nothing
to further our understanding of the characters or plot.
EXPOSITION is explaining why something happened or
gives background information.
One of the most difficult and most crucial elements in story-telling
is knowing when to give play-by-play action and when to back
off and summarize. Play with this. If a scene doesn't hold your
interest, maybe it is better to summarize it in a sentence or
two and go on to something more important. However, if it is
a pivotal scene in the plot or critical to our understanding
how our character reacts in a given situation, go for it. Give
us action, give us dialogue, and let us experience and savor
every single moment of it.
Want more great tips and techniques? Our Inspiration for Writers Tips and Techniques Workbook
is now available for immediate download. Expanded tips, more
topics, reproducible worksheets, exercises to practice what you
learn and much more--check it out!
||Why have we chosen the yellow rose as the symbol
for Inspiration for Writers? The yellow rose symbolizes joy,
friendship, and the promise of a new beginning. Some sources
cite the meaning of the yellow rose as "I Care." We
believe that writing should bring joy. We believe the editing
relationship must be friendly and should develop into a partnership
and a friendship. We believe that through editing, your work
takes on the promise of a new beginning-perhaps even a new career.
And we take more than just pride in our work. We care that our
editing makes your work the best it possibly can be. Check
out what we can do for you.
(c) copyright 2001 by Sandy Tritt. All rights reserved, except
for those listed here. These pages may be reproduced for educational
purposes (such as for writer's workshops), as long as this copyright
notice and the url: http://tritt.wirefire.com are distributed
with the pages. For use in conferences or other uses not mentioned
here, please contact Sandy Tritt at Sandy@InspirationForWriters.com
for permission and additional resources at no or limited charge.
Questions? Comments? Email us at:
If no one responds to your question or comment
within 48 hours, please email again.
Custom Graphics by: