Show and Tell

In our Zoom critique session this morning, we of Crème de la Crime got into a discussion of when to show and action or emotion and when to tell.

The oft-repeated direction is ‘show, don’t tell.’ Like any rule, particularly any rule in writing, it’s made to be broken.

Show is usually better. More action, and it calls on the reader’s imagination, which we authors hope draws the reader into the story.

But …

As our member Karl pointed out, sometimes it takes a paragraph of show to carry out what a sentence of tell can do.

In the end, Greg rewrote the Serenity Prayer thusly:

God, grant me the focus to show when it's warranted,
the brevity to tell when appropriate,
and the wisdom the know the difference.

Shelter In Place

How could it have been a month since rest entry? After all, we in Minnesota are under a shelter in place order … which has almost no impact on the daily life of a writer. Ponder and tap away at the computer in splendid isolation? Check. Long walks turning over plot ideas and character flaws? Check. (Except, of course, staying at least six feet away from the other walkers and runners—and there are a lot of them. In Minnesota, it’s a triple whammy. Until the last couple of days, weather turned warm AND so many people are working from home or out of school AND many of those people have been sheltering just long enough to be stir-crazy.)

I’ve been working on continuing rewrite of the third novel, Fail Deadly. I have an excellent editor who has suggested a fairly major change, and a knowledgeable New York advisor said the first line of the story has to be much better or no agent will look beyond it.  And novel four, Fatal Cure, has been dead stopped at a plot problem. (I think I’ve solved that one.)

And then for the first week or two of the shelter order, there was the challenge for those of us over fifty to master the technology of meeting on line.  Now, that’s done. Last week, I hit four services in one day: FaceTime with family, Vidyo for a doctor appointment, Zoom for a workout session from gym, Skype for a critique group.

It will be interesting to see how the world of communication changes when we come out of the Covid19 pandemic: all of my critique groups now meet on Zoom … attendance has risen; after all, members have more time on their hands, and the barriers of travel to the meeting are non-existent.

So much for excuses. Back to the writing …