Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Point #6 in my self-editing checklist is all about Show and Tell. (For the previous five posts, click here.)
When analyzing your scenes for Show and Tell, here are a couple key points to watch out for:
His inscrutable expression muted her soul's music. She eyed the folder warily.
The paper shook as he shoved it close. "According to...my sources, you are both Sheila Franklin and Sylvia Allen." His shoulders grazed the leather booth when he leaned back. Ice glazed his eyes. "If that's true, then who is Sheba Alexander?"
The question tore open a lockbox of memories. A blazing fire. A one-armed prostitute. Maman. Papa. A thirteen-year-old girl who thought she could conquer the world, thanks to her parents' gift of that name she'd had to abandon. A name she just might have to reclaim...
"Sheba Alexander was..." Words fought to escape her cottony mouth. "...a silly girl." A very foolish teenager. She swallowed hard. How could she explain things to a man she'd just met, even if he were her son?
Gripping, right? This is a big-time moment in the novel, and Patti didn't hold back at all. She showed the emotions of both characters through action and dialogue, sweeping the reader away in the story.
Your homework for the next two weeks, should you choose to accept it: Search through your scenes for naming of emotions and work on ways to portray those emotions through action and dialogue. Look for large chunks of narrative summary and determine whether they should be shown in greater detail or even added as extra scenes. If they're irrelevant to the story or keep it from moving forward, don't be afraid to cut them.
Bonus giveaway this week! Patti Lacy has graciously offered a copy of The Rhythm of Secrets for one lucky commenter! We'll announce the winner in our weekend edition.
What's been your biggest challenge in the show-and-tell game of writing? What's the most valuable resource you've used in learning how to show rather than tell?
*Ants photo by Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net