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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Our suggestions to spot “telling” writing in your WIP.

We’ve all heard the admonition “Show, don’t tell.” When we show we are producing better writing that will capture our readers. Showing, instead of telling, lets editors and agents see you are not an amateur.

In spite of hearing the phrase over and over, many writers don’t know how to recognize “telling” writing. Writing that tells analyzes, generalizes, editorializes and summarizes instead of making the writing interactive and sensory for the reader. Naturally, there will be some generalizations and summarization in your writing, but you need to make sure these elements are in the minority, not the majority of your book. You need to show what’s happening so the reader can create in her own mind the picture you, the writer, want to share.

    To locate telling writing look for:
    • Passive sentences. Often passive sentences, especially those with the word was in them, are a tip-off you might be telling instead of showing. The sentence Sally was angry, is telling. Sally’s lips drew down into a thin, taut line, her jaw working side to side, shows us Sally’s anger. We can deduce from the picture that is painted how Sally feels because we know that look.
    • Passages that have very little sensory information. You can tell us the woman smelled good, was sexy, and she knew it, or you can show it by saying John turned to watch her as she strolled between the restaurant tables, her hips swaying like a belly dancer in slow motion. As she neared she tossed her hair behind her shoulder, casting the scent of violets and vanilla in waves toward him. The fragrance made him salivate. Her perfectly manicured nails trailed along his shoulder as she passed by. He shuddered under her touch and she smiled as he looked up at her. Here we know what the woman smells like, how she walks, how John reacts to her and how she reacts to him. Much stronger than just saying she was sexy.
    • “LY” adverbs. ‘LY” adverbs rob sentences of conciseness and force, making your writing weak. Which sounds stronger? The man yelled loudly or The man roared, the sound drowning out the radio. The dog’s tail wagged happily or The dog’s tail wagged in time to his barks as he bounded around the room. The taxi drove very slowly down the street, or The taxi crept at a snail’s pace down the street.

Get the picture? By adding active verbs, sensory information and using fewer “LY” adverbs, you are showing the reader a snapshot of what’s happening.

Here are a few telling phrases. Choose one, or two if you’re ambitious, and see if you can come up with a better picture.

    • skinny lunatic
    • fanatical nun
    • old paper
    • disgruntled employee.
    • frazzled mother.

Share in the comments what you’ve come up with so everyone can see what you created.

Links for our books are on our book page, under the menu at the top of the page or on our Amazon Author Page

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

The Writer’s Process

By Deborah Raney

As I dive back into working on a new book to be released next year, I’m going to be sharing about a writer’s process of taking a book from the seed of an idea to an actual book on the shelf. My plan is . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Inspired by Life and Fiction blog

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

suggestions from Us about ways to keep your characters in turmoil!

We recently came across an old email entitled Instructions for Life. The 45 positive recommendations on the list are meant to help make one’s life better. By turning some of the instructions upside down and we created bad life advice that will keep novel characters in turmoil.

Next time things are going too smoothly with your WIP try throwing one of these in the mix.

    1. Let them believe in love at first sight, but fight it like it can’t exist.
    2. If they make a mistake, don’t let them be too quick to acknowledge it.
    3. Let them fall in love deeply, passionately, and with people they would never choose. They might get hurt, but it’s the only way to live life completely.
    4. Make them fight to keep their values, but make sure they do keep them. No one loves an un-heroic hero.
    5. Remember silence is sometimes the best answer and unanswered questions are always suspect.
    6. Let them dredge up the past; it makes for good conflicts.
    7. Let them read between the lines … a lot. Miscommunication thickens the plot.
    8. Let them slowly discover that not getting what they want is sometimes the best thing that ever happened.
    9. Never let them mind their own business. You can’t get in trouble that way.
    10. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risks, and make them willing to risk everything to get their goals.

Do you have a favorite trick for keeping your characters in turmoil?

Links for our books are on our book page, under the menu at the top of the page or on our Amazon Author Page

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

How To Clean a House Like a Writer

By Lucy Mitchell

House cleaning is a useful activity for writers.

The amount of house cleaning a writer does depends on a number of factors: . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Lucy Mitchell’s blog

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Spark and Fire

By Courtney Pierce

Sorry to break it to you, but men and women are very different in how they forge relationships, especially in print. I’ve nailed the female side of the equation, but I tend to need serious support when it comes to behavior driven by testosterone. It’s like pushing my chapters into the TSA x-ray machine and waiting to . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Romancing the Genres blog

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

World Building: Plants

By Cindy Tomamichel

As a plant person – a gardener, not some sort of cross species mutant – I find it weird that some people wander through the world without seeing plants as individuals. They never ask themselves what it is, and often seem to not even see it as they trudge through a garden bed. I suspect it is a modern thing, for our ancestors relied on an in depth knowledge of plants for their survival. Today? Not so much.

How does this relate to books? Firstly there is . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Cindy Tomamichel’s blog

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

WHY WRITING A BOOK IS LIKE TAKING A ROAD TRIP

By Lucy Mitchell

I’m halfway through writing a book and I can’t help thinking this process feels like a road trip.

Here are the similarities:

Stage 1 – Everything is going to be just fine…

This is the start of the road trip / writing a book. Delusion sets in as . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Lucy Mitchell’s blog

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

How to Launch a Book Without Looking Like an Amateur

By Penny Sansevieri

When looking to launch a book, the last thing you want is to look like a book marketing amateur. It doesn’t do your book justice to present it without complete confidence.

Readers want and expect . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Author Marketing Experts’ blog

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Verbs paint the essence of your characters–a writing tips post.

By Sally Brandle

This page is from the 1906 “Text Book of Art Education.” Paintings evoke emotions, as should your books. How to compose like a painter? After attending an inspiring Master Class by Damon Suede, author of Verbalize: Bring Stories to Life & Life to Stories, I purchased the book and . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Soul Mate Publishing blog

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Top 10 Tips for Writers

By Lynn Lovegreen

Since this month’s theme is “10” and we have a lot of followers who are writers, here are my top 10 tips for writers of any age or genre.

1. There are no rules, just guidelines. Never . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Romancing the Genres blog

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