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Show Don’t Tell – real world lesson

Show Don’t Tell – real world lesson

One of the most frequently given reminders to the new-to-the-craft of fiction is “Show Don’t Tell.”

After hearing that over and over, and often without any substantial guidance on how to improve, the fledgling writer can glaze over hearing that phrase. I did for quite awhile, anyway.

It was surprising and refreshing to see the following in the “signature” yesterday in an email from one of our real-life customers, a Safety Engineer:

Tell them-They will forget

Show them-They will remember

Involve them-They will be committed

I was intrigued, and of course, googled it. References from Chinese Proverbs, to Maya Angelou, and MHSA (Mine Health and Safety Act) led the results.

I gained an added level of appreciation for the “Show don’t tell” rule. I hadn’t “connected the dots.”

From my own experience in training employees in computer programs, it dawned on me: writing rules come from practical, commonsense, “universal truths” we already know. Another mandate for writing well – to “Tell the truth” in your writing, just became a little more digestible as well. Art mimics nature. What we write, even though it’s a made up story, should resonate with the real world, stay true to human nature, and be something that our reader can become a part of, because it is believable.

Imagine that!

 

I’m adding this to my “Lessons learned” list!

15.  Show don’t Tell and other writing rules come from the “real world.” Realistic, relatable fiction writers know that. These “rules”  help to build a more human world for the reader. Instead of fighting them or feeling being bound by them, respect and understand them. They are there for a reason.

To see all the lessons to date, click here:   Go to Lessons I’m Learning….

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Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Writing the Book

 

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Learning the Craft

I am sure those who have been writing for years, and particularly those who are published, have read a lot of statements by “aspiring writers” that provide a good chuckle.

One statement from many unpublished writers, is that writing a novel is “easy.” And I believe it can be! Words flow in torrents from the brain to the finger tips!

But is it any good?

Is it captivating?

Does “clever” use of language alone grip a reader and carry a plot?

Are the characters believable and have depth so the reader loves (or hates) them?

Does it have what it takes to stand out from among all the other novels/books available?

Why would anyone want to read it, even if it is self published?

Writing is both an ART and a CRAFT.

The ART part (the flowing words mentioned above) may indeed come easy to some fortunate few.  Many books are written by “novice” or “newbie” writers relying on pure talent and bravado.  Some are excellent, some not so much. Writing the “next one” is where the well often goes dry, and the struggle begins; or alternatively a long list of poor plots and characters begins.

But ART alone, and having a fair grasp of grammar, large vocabulary, and an ability to organize and present language won’t cut it in the long run.

That’s where the CRAFT of writing comes in to play. Honing the craft comes from experience and training (only rarely is it a gift.) It must be learned and earned. The tricks and tools of the trade, along with rules and guidelines exist for good reason.

Personally, I’ve slowed down on the non fiction book a bit, and decided it’s time to take advantage of the amazing resources available to learn the craft. I’ve begun writing short stories and flash fiction while studying the craft side of writing, and taking advantage of some wonderful tools this age of the internet has bestowed upon us!

I believe that will affect the quality of my non fiction book as well!

 

— Peggy

THE WHITE HAIRED SHOOTER

The White haired Shooter

The White haired Shooter

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2014 in Writing the Book

 

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The Blogdom of WordPress

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Having just started blogging January of this year, I am a bonafide newbie in the amazingly rich world of WordPress.  I know how short sighted my initial expectations of blogging were, and still apparently are.

When I first started,  I saw WordPress as a place for me to “blog” (big duh huh)! I also saw value in  “test marketing” my ideas to see if they had enough merit for a book. I was very naive.

It didn’t take long for me to realize I had joined an interactive community of wordsmiths and artists that are awesome human beings to boot.  I have enjoyed building quality relationships, and been impressed with the atmosphere of genuine sharing and caring.

I am just now beginning to scratch the surface of resources, writing groups, critiques, and skill building that goes on here. I’ve learned to pay attention to comments on the blogs I read, and follow them back to other blogs that open new vistas. Wow.

What a place!  I am so glad to be part of it, and really enjoy the opportunities for growth, and look forward to the next revelations WordPress Blogdom presents!

 

— Peggy

THE WHITE HAIRED SHOOTER

The White haired Shooter

The White haired Shooter

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2014 in Writing the Book

 

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First Lesson: “Banana bites”

The White haired ShooterTHE WHITE HAIRED SHOOTER

The first lesson in this “self taught” book writing course of mine is:

Beware TMI

too

much

information

Trying to cram in every idea that has occurred to me over the months I have been compiling my notes in blog form is not going to fly.  The number of pages to execute would make the book so heavy it wouldn’t even be shippable by barge!  I can see the original book I envisioned can easily be made into THREE books.  I have such a wide range of ideas and topics that I want to express and convey.

I may have, in my usual fashion, bitten off more than I can chew!  But that rarely keeps me from a task. Just got to break it down and handle in smaller batches.  As I told my boys growing up, you can even choke on a banana if you try to to swallow it whole. Got to take “banana bites.”

I am refocusing my effort to what I want to examine the most. I’ve narrowed the premier tome to assisting a mature woman make the decision to buy, or not to buy, a gun for self defense. That leaves a lot of room for generalized discussion, facts, and considerations. This is the topic I believe is the least addressed in what I have found “out there,” particularly as it relates to the more mature woman.

I’m thinking the second book in the series will discuss basic information about hand guns and ammunition, basic shooting practices, and of course, safety. Finally the third one would be how does a mature woman carry, store, use, and become prepared mentally, physically, emotionally for the situations and consequences she may encounter.

As always, I welcome any comments, encouragement, suggestions, ideas, and HELP!  You folks in this community are such a generous positive bunch, thank you!   — Peggy

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2014 in Writing the Book

 

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The Process Begins.

The White haired ShooterTHE WHITE HAIRED SHOOTER

I thought since this is my first structured attempt at finally “writing a book,” I might as well blog about the process. Much akin to deciding to make any serious change in life going “public” helps with accountability!

While the content of “the book that will be” has changed multiple times throughout my life,  the common denominator has been a failure to find a process to write. The “starts” with no “finishes” has resulted in a graveyard of paper, Word files, and best intentions.

This time I am on a mission.  And it helps that I finally can make some time to devote to the process, and have a wonderful husband who is supportive – if somewhat bemused.

I have always been the “wind beneath the wings” kind of person, and I am very content doing that. But writing is something I have wanted to do for ME from early childhood. I feel  I have quite a few books in me, and I’m not getting any younger. Lends me courage to get to it when I think about it in that respect.

I’ve never formally studied “how to write” a book. I concentrated on “hard science” in school, worked in the electronics industry in the 70’s and 80’s and have written a lot of training manuals in my day along with countless database programs to accomplish tasks. All very practical. But not what is in my heart!

What I hit on was a more structured approach, and it had its beginnings with this blog. This was for a couple of reasons: To see if I could sustain writing on a topic for a significant period. (I believe 6 months of weekly articles qualifies as a YES.) And I wanted to test the waters and see if there was merit in the topic I would write about. (I thank those that have come along side me so I can say a modest YES to that as well.)

To cope with my inner child who loves to play and distract me, I started another blog ( located at silverdustbunnies.wordpress.com ) so that I would have an outlet for the oddball topics that come pouring of my imagination as I sit at the keyboard.

I am ready. I already have completed the first leg on this journey, and ready for the next.

I copied these blog articles to my computer and discovered they total a startling 30,843 words once compiled!

Ye gads I am wordy…  (just in case nobody noticed before! )

Anyway, I am now about the process of outlining how I want the book to flow, and when I catch a break from that… and my day job…. and working with my husband’s leather business… and the garden… and the other blog, and….  well you get the point… I’ll update where I am at on this journey.

I welcome any comments, encouragement, suggestions, ideas, and HELP!  I really appreciate all I’ve received so far from this amazing community, which is something I didn’t expect when I first began! Thank you!   — Peggy

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Writing the Book

 

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