Saturday, April 29, 2006

Showing vs. Telling.

I think every author has this problem. How much is too much? Well this is what I saw that really made me rethink somethings and check out what I have written so far.

Showing vs. Telling

The key to effective observing [and to narrative writing] is to show your reader the person, place, event, or object through specific detail. Good description allows the reader to draw general conclusions based on specific detail. Rather than just telling a reader, "This bicycle has good technical components," the writer should show or describe how it feels as she rides it. If your reader is going to learn from your observations, you need to give the exact details that you learned from, not just your conclusions or generalizations. Even in writing, experience is the best teacher, so use specific details to communicate the feel, the data, the sights and sounds and smells. Whether you are a tourist describing the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, a salesperson analyzing consumer preferences for your boss, a physicist presenting data on a new superconducting material to other physicists, or a social worker putting together the details of a child-abuse case, your first task is to describe your subject--to show your readers, to make them see. [Reid, The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers, 4th ed. 49I]

What I really love about this is that it really is easy to do but hard when it comes down to it. People dont realize it until they go back and actually look at their work. Amazing huh? Today when I did the writing that's pretty much how it felt on this end. Feel what the character is feeling, feel as the character do and learn to switch in the omniscent presence. I like that, and it doesn't sure hit the point to make sure you show it instead of telling it.

1 comment:

Panndyra said...

Girl, I totally hear you on that. Thanks for posting it, 'cuz this is exactly what I gotta work on!