I seem to be apologizing every time I write a new post. And no wonder… They come in intervals which are way too long for my liking. Alas! My “day job” is extremely demanding these days, and this blog doesn’t put food on my table YET… (Just kidding, it never will, at least not directly ;)). I have to use my time wisely and since the time OFF work significantly shrunk, it leaves me with the need to choose between all my writing projects… There’s this blog which I greatly miss. There’s the novel which is my main goal for the time being. There are shorter projects which I intend on doing… So much work, so little time…
I am pretty excited to report that I had made a significant progress with my Novel. Both word count, as well as the quality thereof… I have received some great positive reinforcements as well as very needed slaps on the wrist… I have committed the crime of “Telling and not showing” and I have foreshadowed with some stinginess…
Let the rambling stop, and I will try to explain myself a little.
Show. Don’t Tell!!! – Urrrggg…. How did I fall into this one?
What is “Show. Don’t tell”? It’s a simple guideline for effective writing which means – let the reader make his own conclusions based on what you SHOW him, rather than TELL him. If you would like the reader to understand how a character FEELS, it would be “Telling” to say that the person was very sad. It would also be a little boring… A more effective way to let the reader understand that by “Showing” how your character behaves, or reacts to a situation. If your character would slump in a seat and lower her head, would it not send the same message? I believe it would, and more effectively so. Not only did you not bore the reader by telling him “Sarah was sad”, you also treated your reader with a lot more respect, by showing him your character and trusting him to understand how your character feels.
Foreshadowing – When done properly, it’s probably the most effective way to keep the reader reading. It’s the tiny bit of hinting, or providing some additional information (and could be done in many different ways) that would get the reader guessing. Mind you, guessing but not confused. It also corresponds with the “Show. Don’t tell” guideline, where the writer needs to let the reader come to his own conclusions as to what he might expect in the future. This is not about telling the writer that “The butler did it” on chapter 2. But it is something that would help the story move forward, setup for future events and get the reader involved and interested in what happens next.
The most famous way this was explained is “Chekhov’s Gun“:
“In dramatic literature, [foreshadowing] inherits the name Chekhov’s Gun. In a letter he penned in 1889, Russian playwright Anton Chekhov wrote: ‘One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it.’ . . .
Before I leave you with this cliff hanger, I would like to share my excitement about joining another writers group. I did not leave the original one, but added to it another layer. I will be meeting with an excellent group of writers from that original one, in a concerted effort to take the next step and complete my novel.
The purpose of this group is to provide focus and more time in order to help each other, encourage and get everybody’s commitment to complete the projects they work on.
So, here’s to us!!!