Index page

Index PageForum LinkResources LinkMarket LinksArticles LinkContact Us

resources button
Novel Writing
Fiction 101














CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE FAMOUS EASY WAY
TO WRITE BLOG!



Writers Digest Logo

Winner!

The Hero's Journey in Fiction

MORE EASY WAY
WEBSITES:

Get Rich!

Writing Success


Wealth from Words



________________

PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER ARTICLES:

"Writing Style and Your Unique Voice" 

"The Importance of Your Copyright"

"Can You Be Too Old to Write?"

"The Horror, the Horror"

The Fantasy Fiction Formula

"Free Writing Techniques"

"Writers Guide to Reading"

"The Science of Easy Writing"

"What's Next for You?"

"News Views & Clues to Writing Success"

"You Got The Power"

"The Culture of Positivity"

"How to be Your Own Mentor"

"Create Your Own World"

"Keep It Simple, Stupid!"

"Cure Writers Block - Forever"

"The Truth is Out There"

"Tempus Fugit"

"Stand Up and Be Counted"

"Write From Where You Started"

"That Competitive Edge"

"Inspiration Point"

"Change Your Mind"

"Writing at the Pit Face"

"Change the Way You Look at Things"

"Moments of Clarity"

"The Write Stuff"

"Entitlement"

Write at Home for Cash

 

"Rob Parnell is the World's Foremost Writing Guru" - Writers Digest Best Writers' Site - Critters #1 Best Writers' Info Site 2010 - 2011

Show Don't Tell

Show Don't Tell

Dear Fellow Writer,

Ideas are plentiful. Artists know this and exploit the fact. The real problem an artist, writer or musician faces is how to filter those ideas into a creative and original whole.

It's the ideas that an artist rejects that defines his or her art, their vision. And it's your instinct that helps you make the decision whether to use or ignore an idea. YOUR instinct alone.

Artists suffer critics like dogs suffer fleas. They're irritating but, like all parasites, they can't exist without the host.

Don't let critics, or any kind of negativity, undermine your confidence and faith in your abilities. Your vision is unique, original and valid.

Keep Writing.

Rob@easywaytowrite.com

Magellan Books

Writers! Click here to get published free by Magellan Books.

THIS WEEK'S ARTICLE:

How to Show and Not Tell

Rob Parnell

Many writers get confused over the difference between showing and telling a story. And before they understand the difference, will argue that one thing is the other, especially when it comes to their own writing.

Writers tell stories, the argument goes, so how can a writer do anything but 'tell' his or her own story. By definition surely, any kind of 'showing' is 'telling' in disguise.

Don't you just love semantics? You can argue pretty much anything with words - when you know how to use them. 

The fundamental point is that writers don't actually tell stories - or shouldn't. The characters tell the stories. The writer is merely a conduit for the characters.

It wasn't always this way - and I think this is where the confusion lies.

At school we're taught that people like Homer, Dickins and O Henry are great storytellers, which they are, but that doesn't mean they knew all the secrets to writing great fiction.

Fiction works best when there is no author present in the text.

One of the reasons why so many people still read Sherlock Holmes stories around a hundred years after they were written is because the stories are told, not by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - even though on a literal level we know he wrote them, but by Watson, the great detective's assistant.

Using a character in your own fiction to tell the story is one of the great literary techniques hiding in plain sight to wannabe writers.

Similarly, The Great Gatsby is not told by Fitzgerald, but by Nick, the long suffering friend of the eponymous hero.

New writers often find it difficult to separate themselves from their own stories. They will write pages and pages of exposition from the omnipresent authorial perspective. And no matter how good the writing may be, readers will for the most part be unimpressed - and not know why...

It's about identification.

Readers generally do not want to identify with writers - only other writers do that.

No, readers want to identify with characters. They want to be those characters and vicariously experience the character's highs and lows while journeying through a story.

Without compelling character identification, your stories are dead in the water.

But how do you achieve character identification?

Are there tips and techniques a new writer can learn?

Yes, and Robyn Opie's Show Don't Tell masterclass goes a long way to revealing those techniques to you in a deceptively simple way.

She goes right to the heart of show don't tell, even down to how to construct sentences with subtle nuances that suck in the reader - rather than unintentionally push them away.

In many ways show don't tell is about technique - but it's also a crucial mindset that the fiction writer needs to acquire - and often does with an epiphany or straightforward light-bulb moment.

Funny thing is, once you 'get' it, you'll wonder why you never wrote that way before - and will mostly likely be embarrassed by your previous efforts. 

Then you'll know how all the bestselling authors of our modern (and more enlightened) age pull off the feat of showing and not telling stories, to such great effect.

For instance, despite everything we are taught or led to believe, Shakespeare is not 'in' any of his plays. He may well have acted as one of the characters on stage but nowhere are his voice or opinions or issues overtly stated as a character in the plays.

In fact one of the reasons why the real Shakespeare is such an illusive identity is that his characters express equally compelling arguments for diametrically opposed points of view - as should all great authors.

Transparent objectivity, deliberately constructed empathy and a reader's willing suspension of disbelief are crucial elements to understanding why fiction works at all.

Because as soon as a reader, or viewer or audience member becomes aware that the author or screenwriter or playwright is speaking to them through the book, film or performance, then the writer has failed - majorly - in his or her function as a storyteller.

And if the above paragraph confuses you - or you don't see the relevance of the argument - then my guess is that you're still struggling with 'show don't tell.'

Being a writer is not just about having something to say. It's about learning how to say it effectively.

I was at an interview yesterday where three authors were asked about writing and what advice they'd give to new writers.

They were unanimous on three points.

1. Write every day.

2. Writing something bad is better than writing nothing.

And most importantly,

3.  Keep learning as much as you can about writing.

Your apprenticeship as a writer is never over. You can never learn too much nor hear good advice too often.

It's when you think you know it all - or don't think you need to listen to what other good and great writers advise - then you stop being the best writer you can be.

And your reader will somehow, mysteriously, know that.

Keep writing!

Rob at Home
rob@easywaytowrite.com
Your Success is My Concern
Rob Parnell's Easy Way to Write

THIS WEEK'S WRITER'S QUOTE:

"Reality leaves a lot to the imagination." John Lennon

Previous Newsletter includes:
Article: "Tame Your Creativity"
Writer's Quote by Phil Cosby

Google
WWW Easy Way to Write




 

newsletter link

novel cover

Story Box Thumb

TV Writing

The E-Files

Romance Course

Bestseller
Practical Cash

Edit Course Thumbnail

Horror Course

Children's Writing

Easy Cash Writing

Thriller Co

Show Don't Tell

Screenwriting

Write a Picture Book

"Rob Parnell is the foremost writing guru in the world." Vin Smith, Midnight Bookworm

   

  © Copyright 2002 - 2011 Rob Parnell. All Rights Reserved.

   

joomla analytics