Saturday, November 1, 2008
Show and Tell
This post isn't about that perennial grade school favorite, but about the literary feature of 'show don't tell.' I signed up for an online class focused on that very subject and I'm really excited about it.
Even though I've been writing since I could actually write-- songs for my kitty, poems for the dog or the odd boyfriend here and there, short stories during the college years and the journal that died a swift and sudden death the day I found my husband reading it while nursing a beer, I've never focused much on the craft except when forced by a classroom setting. I just wrote what I wanted to without much thought about the form. Style ruled my inner thoughts and the way they came spilling out onto paper, not the structure. I've covered my shortcomings in that area in an earlier post, so won't reminisce or restate my newfound dependence upon the Elements of Style and Eats, Shoots and Leaves.
As mentioned before, I entered some of my writing into two contests. I didn't final in either, but I think the feedback was really valuable and most of the comments were complimentary and encouraging. Not so much so for judge number three, who should be glad of her anonymity lest she find a tall woman with a stocking cap over her face and a coke bottle in her hand waiting outside for her. Judge number three gave some good advice liberally spliced with a heaping helping of things judges should be trained not to say. Oh well. I'm off topic as they say. This post isn't about murderous rages--I'm saving that for Tuesday, hehe.
The feedback from one of the judges who was more stringent in her scoring but still seemed to like my story very much,was that it needed to show a bit more than I was telling. So, in my effort to take the advice of the writer Kelly Gay, I'm listening to all criticism, even the harsh undeserved kind, as something that pulled the reader out of the story and therefore a point to be examined.
So, off to Show and Tell land. Let's hope that at the end, I'll have a manuscript that draws the reader even deeper into my twisted fantasy land.