Over at her blog, Patti Abbott (Monkey Justice) discusses the classic writing tip of "show, don't tell" by quoting from Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer. Excerpt:
There is a form of bad advice often given young writers -- namely, that the job of the author is to show, not tell. Needless to say, many great novelists combine "dramatic" showing with long sections of the flat-out authorial narration that is, I guess, what is meant by telling. And the warning against telling leads to a confusion that causes novice writers to think that everything should be acted out ... when in fact the responsibility of showing should be assumed by the energetic and specific use of language.Read the whole thing. Patti follows up this quotation from Prose with some choice thoughts of her own, namely that "stasis isn't the outcome of narration (or telling) necessarily, but of too little story, too little description, too little character." I think she's right on the proverbial ball. As I've kept at the craft, a realization has slowly crept over me: Writing is less about composition than it is about consideration. My most unsuccessful writing attempts come when I try to scribble away without feeding any grist to my mental mill. Before we sharpen our pencils or start typing, perhaps it's best to begin with thought.
(Picture: CC 2012 by HAURY!)