Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Show and Tell

I have been wrestling with the writing maxim "show, don't tell" recently, especially in terms of critiquing other writers' work in the writing groups to which I belong. Here are some useful links for the time being:,_don%27t_tell

Here is my example:

He was angry. He wanted a beer. He walked up to the bar and demanded service.


He stomped up to the bar. “Where the hell’s my beer?”

The first example is clearly telling. I, as author, am telling you, as reader, what is happening, and little more than what is happening, rather like a reporter writing for a high school newspaper might relate the events.

But as a writer, it is my desire, some might argue calling, to engage the reader with logic and emotion. So while the second version cleanly communicates some emotion, it honestly still feels a bit too much like telling at this point.

Hmmmm, still needs work.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Currently Reading...

Among the books I'm currently reading -- and I'm often the type who starts and never quite finishes many books (I must have 20+ books 'in process') -- there are three related to writing, two of which have to do with writing and critique groups.

The first is The Writing Group Book: Creating and Sustaining a Successful Writing Group ©2003 edited by Lisa Rosenthal. [author's website][WashCoLib website].

While generally an interesting read -- it is fun to read about other writer's experiences in writing groups -- I have not found this book quite as useful as I had hoped. I have taken some notes that I plan to consult as Westside Writers grows, but it seems more like a 'getting started' book than 'so your group could be better' book. It's an easy read and one thing I still want to do before returning it is compile the list of links here for future reference. I think the other resources listed (books and periodicals) can also be of help if one is looking for assistance in a specific area as well. Certainly worth checking out from your local library!

I just started The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide: How to Give and Receive Feedback, Self-Edit, and Make Revisions © by Becky Levine. [publications's website][WashCoLib website]

So far this one is providing more information about how to deal with actual critiques -- giving & receiving -- and provides tools to make such easier. Check out the worksheets on the publications's website: these come right out of the book. More on this later.

Last, for today, I'm reading Schaum's Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories ©1999 by Lucke, Margaret. [WashCoLib website]

I've actually been reading this one very slowly; had to return it because I used up all renewals and have checked it out again. It seems a pretty decent quick and dirty (read that Idiot's Guide if you like) to writing short fiction. It is certainly a great starting point if one is interested in writing, though I wonder how helpful it would be for the person who had never writing a piece of fiction before.

Okay, need to actually spend some time working on critiques before tonight's Beaverton Evening Writers meeting!