Remember when you were in kindergarten and every week you would have show and tell time? I don't remember much of my own experiences with it but I do remember my children participating in this activity while in school. In fact, my favorite memory of this was when my oldest son took his baby sister to show and tell in kindergarten. His classmates loved her! Sadly, I've heard that many teachers or administrators no longer see this activity as worthwhile and have stopped the practice. Personally, I think S/T is great because it gives young children an opportunity to stand, or sit, in front of a small audience and speak. It's a confidence-builder. How many adults are afraid to stand in front of a crowd and give a speech? Maybe we need to bring back show and tell and keep it through high school. Hmmm I'll think on that.
So what does all this have to do with writing? Think of the two elements involved: Showing and Telling. Show and Tell is an oral presentation. The telling comes from the voice and the showing comes mainly from physically presenting something to the crowd. In writing, it's a whole different ballgame.
Recently I was working on Sacking Austin. I asked my son to look over it for me as he is a college English major and one day may work in publishing. He's an excellent writer himself and I trust his opinion. When he finished reading, he wasted no time in saying that I was telling way more than showing. But, I thought, isn't that what I am? A storyteller or sorts?
Plus, I liked my chapter the way it was. I thought it was fine, but I decided to humor him and work more on that showing-business. So after going back through my chapter and consulting several of articles/blogs online I came up with what I thought was a much better chapter. It felt tight. It felt cohesive and flowed better than the first one. Wow, so the kid was right.
So did I tell at all? Was it all showing? Not really. I think the trick is to know when to tell and when to show and blend the two in what will look effortless to readers. Easier said than done, but I shall keep on trying.
Love and peace,
Lori Beth :)
If a family member or your best friend told you that he or she was hearing voices, how would you respond? Would you laugh, thinking it was a joke? Would you be concerned and think that a trip to the psychiatrist should be in order? There is no doubt that you would be at least curious as to what was meant by the comment, and at the most, you would be concerned. Right? RIGHT?
Well, guess what? I've been hearing voices.
Yep, you heard me. I hear voices. Like all the time. Should I have my doctor's number on speed-dial? Or should I just head straight to the local mental ward? Hmmm Decisions, decisions.
Am I crazy? I guess that can be debatable, depending on whom you ask, but I don't think I am. Let me explain what I mean by hearing voices, and then you can decide. How's that?
I hear conversations between my characters. I hear their dialogue. I even hear, or feel, a character's inner thoughts. You might think this is normal for a writer, and it actually probably is, but what you might not guess is that these voices come calling at odd times, not just when I'm sitting in front of a computer with a Word document open.
For me, the most common time my characters speak to me is early in the morning. You know the time.... When you're almost awake, but trying desperately to hang on to those last few moments of sleep. I will try my hardest to sleep, but invariably, I will think/hear/dream some conversation and then it's stuck in my head. I can't get it out for anything. So what do I do? Well, sometimes I run to the computer and type the whole thing out. Sometimes I have my notebook nearby that I grab and jot down the basics. At other times, like this morning, I grab my phone and type out what I'd just 'heard' in a text. Yes, a text. Then I either save it as draft or send it to myself. Isn't technology grand?
And just who is it that speaks to me? Well, it could be someone from one of my currents WIPs. Or it could be someone who I don't even know yet. (Ok, I know, you really do think I'm nuts now.) Seriously, though. Sometimes I just have some dialogue or a scene totally play out in my mind and I know right then and there that this is a new story with new characters. This morning they weren't new, though. It was Kathleen and William speaking that I heard, an intimate scene, with them sharing feelings long put away. I almost felt like I was intruding by hearing them, but then, am I not their vehicle to get their story told?
Maybe I should just shut up now before the men in white coats come knocking on my door.
This was a long post, but it's a long time coming. I haven't blogged in awhile and I need to be more consistent. More soon.
Lots of love and hopes for peace-
Lori Beth :)
Lori Beth Johnson