Friday, May 12, 2017

Writing Fiction: Show, Don't Tell

by Rebecca Talley  @rebeccatalley
Indie Author Hub Member

Writing fiction can be tricky. Of course, the author is telling the story, but it’s the way in which the author tells the story that makes a difference. Readers want to experience the story. Readers choose books to vicariously live through a character in a situation the reader would never experience in real life. Take, for example, suspense books. Most of us will never be FBI agents, but we can become one as we read a story about one who’s searching for a cyber terrorist. More than likely, we’ll never be cursed with obedience, but we can live as though we are while we read Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. We can travel back in time to experience life during the civil war in Gone With The Wind. Books allow us to live a different life, if even for a moment.

The trick in having readers suspend disbelief is to show them the story rather than tell them the story. Instead of writing, Annie was mad consider writing, Annie stomped across the room. She picked up a book and flung it across the room. Her face flushed while she let out an exasperated breath. Do you see the difference? In the first example, I told you Annie was mad. In the second example, you concluded she was mad because I showed you actions that would lead you to believe she was mad.

Annie was sad vs. Annie’s eyes filled with tears while the corners of her mouth turned downward and her lips trembled. Again, the second example allows the reader to come to the conclusion that Annie is sad.

You can do the same thing with any other emotion. Using actions and bits of dialogue you can show the reader how the character is feeling rather than telling the reader how that character feels. Describing how the character feels is much more effective than telling how the character feels because it sucks the reader into the story and makes him feel as if he’s part of it.

The more you can allow the reader to interpret and then draw his own conclusions, the more effective your story will be.

Rebecca grew up next to the ocean in Santa Barbara, California. She spent her youth at the beach collecting sea shells and building sandcastles. She graduated from high school and left for college, where she met and married her sweetheart, Del.

Del and Rebecca are the sometimes frazzled, but always grateful, parents of ten wildly-creative and multi-talented children and the grandparents of the most adorable little girls in the universe.

After spending nineteen years in rural Colorado with horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, and donkeys, Rebecca and her family moved to a suburb of Houston, Texas, where she spends most of her time in the pool trying to avoid the heat and humidity. When she isn't in the pool, she loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, redecorate her house, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house.

Rebecca has always loved to write and has authored novels, stories for print and online magazines, and children's books. She now focuses on writing romance because she believes everyone deserves their happily-ever-after.

You can find Rebecca on her website, her author page on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @rebeccatalley.

No comments: