Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: help: how do you show instead of tell when writing stories? (33555rlu)

Expand Messages
  • wings081
    Hi rlu Re. Show instead of tell I am obliged to Dawn Copeman,a freelance English writer for the following example: TELL: The ground floor, rented room was
    Message 1 of 15 , Jul 2, 2007
      Hi rlu
      Re. "Show instead of tell"
      I am obliged to Dawn Copeman,a freelance English writer for the
      following example:

      TELL: The ground floor, rented room was tiny,damp and obviously uncared
      for.

      SHOW: As he entered the room from the hallway,the first thing he
      noticed was the fusty smell,a combination of mould,damp and stale
      cigarette smoke.
      There were snail trails across the worn brown cord carpet that covered
      what little floor space there was. Opposite the doorway,pushed up
      against the wall, was a single bed covered with a duvet but no duvet
      cover and a flat tobacco stained pillow. (and so on)

      Some people might think the TELL version gives the reader sufficient
      information but what do you gather from those few words except it was a
      small smelly room.
      With the show version the reader is taken into the hallway,opens the
      door of the room and experiences the shabbiness and the fusty smell as
      he mentally coughs on the cigarette smoke and is aware of the unsavoury
      sleeping arrangements.
      The reader is given an insight into the character of the occupant in a
      way the TELL version could not hope to portray.

      Hope this helps

      As always

      Wings


      --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "rlu_120" <rlu_120@...> wrote:
      >
      > help: how do you show instead of tell when writing stories?
      > thanks..
      >
    • Susan Donahue
      Dear RLU...The way I explain this concept to writers is to explain that a reporter tries to tell things in clear, concise terms. A novelist, on the other hand,
      Message 2 of 15 , Jul 2, 2007
        Dear RLU...The way I explain this concept to writers is to explain
        that a reporter tries to tell things in clear, concise terms.

        A novelist, on the other hand, wants the reader to become not just
        informed, but deeply involved. For that purpose, it is better to
        appeal to the reader's senses and allow him or her to create the
        intended mental images. In a way, the writer is "showing" clues
        that allow the reader to see, hear, taste, smell and feel the
        message.

        Good luck with that!

        Suzianne



        --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "rlu_120" <rlu_120@...> wrote:
        >
        > help: how do you show instead of tell when writing stories?
        > thanks..
        >
      • carolwriter
        ... What I tell a writer to do when they are telling and not showing, is to stop and put an imaginery camera on their head. Then look through the eye of the
        Message 3 of 15 , Jul 4, 2007
          --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "rlu_120" <rlu_120@...> wrote:
          >
          > help: how do you show instead of tell when writing stories?
          > thanks..
          >
          What I tell a writer to do when they are telling and not showing, is
          to stop and put an imaginery camera on their head. Then look through
          the eye of the camera, pan the scene and slowly write what they see.
          It's also good to think of your five senses as you write. Smells,
          taste, touch, hear and see all are involved in the description.

          If you want to involve your reader more, you need to share the
          experience with them. Any time you say "And then she told me," or
          "Barbara said how she liked the drapes," you should stop and change it
          to conversation. Seeing your characters interact involves the reader
          more.
          Barbara said, "It's not so much the fabric" as she slid her hand down
          the length of the sheers. "It's also the color!" and her eyes
          brightened as she gazed at the golden silk.

          Does that help?
          - Carol Wood
        • albiaicehouse
          Wings and Suzianne, If you don t mind my saying, a really exhaustive reporter will get to all the descriptions of a story writer, but: - the reader almost
          Message 4 of 15 , Jul 4, 2007
            Wings and Suzianne,

            If you don't mind my saying, a really exhaustive reporter will get to
            all the descriptions of a story writer, but:

            - the reader almost certainly will be totally bored, as real life is
            filled chock full with mundane facts. The exhaustive reporter will
            include all kinds of description that is unneeded.

            - the reader will know too much to be able to sort the wheat from the
            chaff, the important facts from the irrelevant.

            - if the description is through the eyes of a character, the reader
            will gain no insights about the character's history or emotional state
            in the story.

            So showing is more than just showing, its showing what helps the
            reader experience what the writer intends. As many elements as
            possible contribute to that experience.

            And, no, I haven't mastered this myself, but even a humble hack can
            throw in his two cents, right?

            albi

            --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "Susan Donahue" <suzianne411@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > Dear RLU...The way I explain this concept to writers is to explain
            > that a reporter tries to tell things in clear, concise terms.
            >
            > A novelist, on the other hand, wants the reader to become not just
            > informed, but deeply involved. For that purpose, it is better to
            > appeal to the reader's senses and allow him or her to create the
            > intended mental images. In a way, the writer is "showing" clues
            > that allow the reader to see, hear, taste, smell and feel the
            > message.
            >
            > Good luck with that!
            >
            > Suzianne
            >
            >
            >
            > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "rlu_120" <rlu_120@> wrote:
            > >
            > > help: how do you show instead of tell when writing stories?
            > > thanks..
            > >
            >
          • wings081
            Hi Albi Hi Albi Allow me to give a further demonstration of showing versus telling. E.V.Thompson, a prize winning Cornish author wrote an historical novel
            Message 5 of 15 , Jul 5, 2007
              Hi Albi

              Hi Albi
              Allow me to give a further demonstration of showing versus telling.
              E.V.Thompson, a prize winning Cornish author wrote an historical
              novel called "Chase the Wind"
              In the first chapter, Joshua Retallick descends the ladder to a
              copper mine to see his father who is working below.
              Now the author could simply have TOLD readers that Josh went down the
              mine to meet with his father. However Thompson successfully SHOWS us
              (me at any rate) the experiences and life threatening dangers of
              miners working deep beneath the surface over a century ago. This is
              the start of chapter one:

              Chase The Wind

              "Ninety fathoms below grass, in the darkness at the bottom of the
              main vertical shaft of Wheal Shaptor copper mine, Joshua Retallick
              stepped from the ladder on to the ore strewn floor. He took a couple
              of shaky steps, his legs trembling from the climb down.
              Above him, so far up that the clean, star studded sky could not be
              seen, was a small square hole. Through this was hoisted the copper
              ore that would make one man rich and send fifty more to a premature
              grave.
              Josh moved to one side as boots scraped on the wooden rungs above
              him. The night shift was coming on duty. As each man stepped to the
              floor he would flex his arms, easing the muscles in his shoulders.
              Muscles knotted by the fear of falling that made a man grip each rung
              just a little too tightly.
              The miners passed through the openings into the tunnels that sloped
              gently away from the main shaft. They stooped, automatically but
              unnecessarily, used to smaller tunnels than these. Once inside they
              paused to light the yellow candles that each man relied upon to give
              him light by which to work and warning of foul air.
              Josh followed one of the miners along the tunnel where he knew his
              father was working. At first the tunnel was narrow, with water oozing
              from the walls shored up in a here-and-there manner. Then suddenly
              and dramatically, it opened out into a huge vault, eighty feet wide
              and thirty high. Here there had been a seam of near pure copper. Now
              it was a rock-wall emptiness, the ore long since fed into the belly
              of a Swansea smelting house and disgorged as blocks of gleaming
              metal, each tinged with the colour of the furnace, to be shipped in
              tall-rigged vessels to a world eager for high grade Cornish copper."

              Thompson, with his words, took me down that mine. I felt muscle cramp
              as my feet reached for the next step below. I ducked involuntarily as
              I saw ahead the sloping roof of the tunnel shored up haphazardly with
              pit props which seemed too slender to withstand the enormous load
              above. I breathed a sigh of relief when I entered the large vault
              where my candle light was too dim to expose the roof.
              I was there with Josh. I was Josh. That's what I understand by
              SHOWING.

              As always

              Wings



              --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, albiaicehouse <no_reply@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Wings and Suzianne,
              >
              > If you don't mind my saying, a really exhaustive reporter will get
              to
              > all the descriptions of a story writer, but:
              >
              > - the reader almost certainly will be totally bored, as real life is
              > filled chock full with mundane facts. The exhaustive reporter will
              > include all kinds of description that is unneeded.
              >
              > - the reader will know too much to be able to sort the wheat from
              the
              > chaff, the important facts from the irrelevant.
              >
              > - if the description is through the eyes of a character, the reader
              > will gain no insights about the character's history or emotional
              state
              > in the story.
              >
              > So showing is more than just showing, its showing what helps the
              > reader experience what the writer intends. As many elements as
              > possible contribute to that experience.
              >
              > And, no, I haven't mastered this myself, but even a humble hack can
              > throw in his two cents, right?
              >
              > albi
              >
              > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "Susan Donahue" <suzianne411@>
              > wrote:
              > >
              > > Dear RLU...The way I explain this concept to writers is to
              explain
              > > that a reporter tries to tell things in clear, concise terms.
              > >
              > > A novelist, on the other hand, wants the reader to become not
              just
              > > informed, but deeply involved. For that purpose, it is better to
              > > appeal to the reader's senses and allow him or her to create the
              > > intended mental images. In a way, the writer is "showing" clues
              > > that allow the reader to see, hear, taste, smell and feel the
              > > message.
              > >
              > > Good luck with that!
              > >
              > > Suzianne
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "rlu_120" <rlu_120@> wrote:
              > > >
              > > > help: how do you show instead of tell when writing stories?
              > > > thanks..
              > > >
              > >
              >
            • nigel_tiptoe
              I recently read a novel about, in large part, a series of murders committed in my home town. I never met the author, but we knew a few people in common and
              Message 6 of 15 , Jul 5, 2007
                I recently read a novel about, in large part, a series of murders
                committed in my home town. I never met the author, but we knew a few
                people in common and clearly had many experiences in common. We are
                probably of similar age. The murderer was a strange man indeed. He had
                teh police baffled for years because he had no consistant 'modus
                operandi.' In fact, two other men served time for two of his crimes,
                it seems largely because the police were desperate for convictions.
                The author of this largely biographical novel was quite unable to
                understand the murderer, and admits the fact. And I too am not at all
                confident that I do either. However, I have an idea - an imagining if
                nothing else. So, I have tried to show, rather than tell. Let me know
                what you think.


                My piece, the beginning of a longer work if I can find an audience, is
                tentatively entitled 'Eric' - perhaps a couple of my fellow Aussie
                T2Wers will remember something of this little snippet of history.

                Nigelmaker

                ERIC (those with sensitive souls should perhaps turn away now)

                How strange that the easiest thing should be to confess. And what a
                surprise that this confession should lift such a burden from my
                oppressed and battered heart. To sit in the dock and reveal every
                secret detail; what an incredible relief.

                Yes it was me with the gun and the ax and the knife. It was me who
                lurked in the darkness awaiting that moment when I could give in to my
                compulsions, the dark urges I courted and loved. Time after time I
                hesitated. I hesitated in dread and anticipation. And time after time
                with the moment come, I felt the warm flood of power. Power over my
                defenseless and blameless victim.

                It cost me nothing that those I slew were not those who shamed me. In
                fact, the very innocence of those who died magnified my joy. How I
                fooled you all. No-one guessed. No-one had any idea at all. I crawled
                amongst you, invisible through your disregard. Your disrespect both
                spurred me into action and guaranteed my immunity. You cannot capture
                what you cannot see. You cannot know what you ignore.

                But each death mounted in my soul. I created them, and gathered them,
                and hugged them to me, my most precious, beloved possessions. I loved
                them like children and they filled my life. And if they began to fade,
                to grow away from me; or if they crowded and clawed at me – sometimes
                they clawed at me – I'd gather new ones. I'd grow discontented and
                restless. I'd creep out into the streets, the leafy suburban roads,
                past the fences, the gardens, the lighted doorways; past the windows
                spilling life, excluding me. I'd creep into backyards. I'd wait in
                shadows, in bushes, beneath the quiet spread of trees. And you
                wouldn't know I was out there. But still you lived in fear; somewhere
                someone was lurking – you knew. I drank your life like heady wine even
                before you died.

                Death after death mounted in my soul, and I loved them. But they
                weighed heavy. They jostled within me. The clamored and called, though
                I hardly noticed, until I let them go – until I sat in the dock and
                gave them all to you. And was glad as they departed.

                How kind you were. You listened. I stood before you, I moved and
                gestured, I smiled and spoke and laughed. And you saw me, and you
                heard, and you wondered at me and shook your head. You shook your
                troubled head at me whom you had never seen, never heard before. I
                felt your gratitude. You had longed for my tale. My stories gave you
                answers, and gave you questions too. You fished the gun out of the
                river, you searched and found the ax and the knife. You examined the
                car, you examined my life, you examined your own bitter heart. And
                then you sentenced me to 'hang by the neck until dead.' And you hanged me.

                You hanged me. But still I lurk in your shadows. Still your leafy
                streets threaten. Frightened parents wait for terrified children as
                nights grow late and dark. Rustles in the bushes leap out at you as if
                with fangs; the cracks and creaks of your cooling houses echo like the
                lion's roar. The gun and knife hang over your life and you'll lie in
                peace no more. I am in your heart, though you forget my face, you
                forget my name. I am in your heart's tremor. I am in your gasp, in
                your clench, in every anxious moment you spend alone and unprotected.
                I am the horror just outside your flimsy door.

                I sat in the dock with my hair brushed and my shoes shined, in my suit
                and collar and tie. I've never looked better, dressed up to be visible
                for the first time in my life. I saw friends in the courtroom: the
                detectives, the judge, the press. How grateful I was to them for their
                company. How pleased to be no longer alone. I liked them; I shared
                with them. I showed them my precious treasures and shared with them my
                time and my tales. I helped them and they were pleased. They looked
                hard at me, and saw me. At last they knew who I was. And all it took
                was a gun and a car, an ax and a knife. All it took was life after
                life after life.

                You hunted me with torches. You hunted me with rakes and sieves. You
                took finger prints and footprints. You sat in rooms and thought and
                thought, but you only ever came close to me in dreams, in nightmares.
                I was your nightmare. I was the foolishness that made you fools; I
                wore the costume but you were the clown. And you will dance a fool's
                jig forever.

                When I kill I change. The bands around my constricted heart relax. The
                clash and jangle of emotions, the screach and scream of inner voices
                quieten. Calm. Calm descends, a warm gentle rain upon a searing
                desert: the brittle and sharp soften, the drifting, abrasive and
                engulfing sands dampen. They form a healng paste to plaster over
                cracks and fissues, a salve to ancient wounds. Pain subsides then
                ceases and I settle into bliss. I have killed. What a creative act. I
                am a god, benign and gentle, saturated with a parental love for all I
                encounter, blessing them, setting their paltry hearts free. I am a
                gentle farmer casting seeds indescriminately on earth and stone. Let
                them fall as they will. And let them prosper as they might.
              • David Roth
                Excellant example of show rather than tell, Nigel. In fact, a couple of your paragraphs could be broken apart and written as prosaic verse: But each death
                Message 7 of 15 , Jul 5, 2007
                  Excellant example of show rather than tell, Nigel.  In fact, a couple of your paragraphs could be broken apart and written as prosaic verse:
                   
                  But each death mounted in my soul.
                  I created them, and gathered them,
                  and hugged them to me,
                  my most precious, beloved possessions.
                  I loved them like children and they filled my life.
                  And if they began to fade,to grow away from me;
                  or if they crowded and clawed at me –
                  sometimes they clawed at me –
                  I'd gather new ones.
                  I'd grow discontented and restless.
                  I'd creep out into the streets, the leafy suburban roads,
                  past the fences, the gardens, the lighted doorways;
                  past the windows spilling life, excluding me.
                  I'd creep into backyards.
                  I'd wait in shadows, in bushes,
                  beneath the quiet spread of trees.
                  And you wouldn't know I was out there.
                  But still you lived in fear; somewhere
                  someone was lurking – you knew.
                  I drank your life like heady wine even before you died.
                   
                  Dave
                   
                   

                  Now Available: Sometimes I Hear Voices
                  ISBN: 978-1-4116-8690-8


                  ----- Original Message ----
                  From: nigel_tiptoe <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>
                  To: ticket2write@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Thursday, July 5, 2007 7:47:20 AM
                  Subject: [ticket2write] Re: help: how do you show instead of tell when writing stories?

                  I recently read a novel about, in large part, a series of murders
                  committed in my home town. I never met the author, but we knew a few
                  people in common and clearly had many experiences in common. We are
                  probably of similar age. The murderer was a strange man indeed. He had
                  teh police baffled for years because he had no consistant 'modus
                  operandi.' In fact, two other men served time for two of his crimes,
                  it seems largely because the police were desperate for convictions.
                  The author of this largely biographical novel was quite unable to
                  understand the murderer, and admits the fact. And I too am not at all
                  confident that I do either. However, I have an idea - an imagining if
                  nothing else. So, I have tried to show, rather than tell. Let me know
                  what you think.


                  My piece, the beginning of a longer work if I can find an audience, is
                  tentatively entitled 'Eric' - perhaps a couple of my fellow Aussie
                  T2Wers will remember something of this little snippet of history.

                  Nigelmaker

                  ERIC (those with sensitive souls should perhaps turn away now)

                  How strange that the easiest thing should be to confess. And what a
                  surprise that this confession should lift such a burden from my
                  oppressed and battered heart. To sit in the dock and reveal every
                  secret detail; what an incredible relief.

                  Yes it was me with the gun and the ax and the knife. It was me who
                  lurked in the darkness awaiting that moment when I could give in to my
                  compulsions, the dark urges I courted and loved. Time after time I
                  hesitated. I hesitated in dread and anticipation. And time after time
                  with the moment come, I felt the warm flood of power. Power over my
                  defenseless and blameless victim.

                  It cost me nothing that those I slew were not those who shamed me. In
                  fact, the very innocence of those who died magnified my joy. How I
                  fooled you all. No-one guessed. No-one had any idea at all. I crawled
                  amongst you, invisible through your disregard. Your disrespect both
                  spurred me into action and guaranteed my immunity. You cannot capture
                  what you cannot see. You cannot know what you ignore.

                  But each death mounted in my soul. I created them, and gathered them,
                  and hugged them to me, my most precious, beloved possessions. I loved
                  them like children and they filled my life. And if they began to fade,
                  to grow away from me; or if they crowded and clawed at me – sometimes
                  they clawed at me – I'd gather new ones. I'd grow discontented and
                  restless. I'd creep out into the streets, the leafy suburban roads,
                  past the fences, the gardens, the lighted doorways; past the windows
                  spilling life, excluding me. I'd creep into backyards. I'd wait in
                  shadows, in bushes, beneath the quiet spread of trees. And you
                  wouldn't know I was out there. But still you lived in fear; somewhere
                  someone was lurking – you knew. I drank your life like heady wine even
                  before you died.

                  Death after death mounted in my soul, and I loved them. But they
                  weighed heavy. They jostled within me. The clamored and called, though
                  I hardly noticed, until I let them go –  until I sat in the dock and
                  gave them all to you. And was glad as they departed.

                  How kind you were. You listened. I stood before you, I moved and
                  gestured, I smiled and spoke and laughed. And you saw me, and you
                  heard, and you wondered at me and shook your head. You shook your
                  troubled head at me whom you had never seen, never heard before. I
                  felt your gratitude. You had longed for my tale. My stories gave you
                  answers, and gave you questions too. You fished the gun out of the
                  river, you searched and found the ax and the knife. You examined the
                  car, you examined my life, you examined your own bitter heart. And
                  then you sentenced me to 'hang by the neck until dead.' And you hanged me.

                  You hanged me. But still I lurk in your shadows. Still your leafy
                  streets threaten. Frightened parents wait for terrified children as
                  nights grow late and dark. Rustles in the bushes leap out at you as if
                  with fangs; the cracks and creaks of your cooling houses echo like the
                  lion's roar. The gun and knife hang over your life and you'll lie in
                  peace no more. I am in your heart, though you forget my face, you
                  forget my name. I am in your heart's tremor. I am in your gasp, in
                  your clench, in every anxious moment you spend alone and unprotected.
                  I am the horror just outside your flimsy door.

                  I sat in the dock with my hair brushed and my shoes shined, in my suit
                  and collar and tie. I've never looked better, dressed up to be visible
                  for the first time in my life. I saw friends in the courtroom: the
                  detectives, the judge, the press. How grateful I was to them for their
                  company. How pleased to be no longer alone. I liked them; I shared
                  with them. I showed them my precious treasures and shared with them my
                  time and my tales. I helped them and they were pleased. They looked
                  hard at me, and saw me. At last they knew who I was. And all it took
                  was a gun and a car, an ax and a knife. All it took was life after
                  life after life.

                  You hunted me with torches. You hunted me with rakes and sieves. You
                  took finger prints and footprints. You sat in rooms and thought and
                  thought, but you only ever came close to me in dreams, in nightmares.
                  I was your nightmare. I was the foolishness that made you fools; I
                  wore the costume but you were the clown. And you will dance a fool's
                  jig forever.

                  When I kill I change. The bands around my constricted heart relax. The
                  clash and jangle of emotions, the screach and scream of inner voices
                  quieten. Calm. Calm descends, a warm gentle rain upon a searing
                  desert: the brittle and sharp soften, the drifting, abrasive and
                  engulfing sands dampen. They form a healng paste to plaster over
                  cracks and fissues, a salve to ancient wounds. Pain subsides then
                  ceases and I settle into bliss. I have killed. What a creative act. I
                  am a god, benign and gentle, saturated with a parental love for all I
                  encounter, blessing them, setting their paltry hearts free. I am a
                  gentle farmer casting seeds indescriminately on earth and stone. Let
                  them fall as they will. And let them prosper as they might.



                  Learn more about ticket2wite at http://ticket2write.org
                  Yahoo! Groups Links

                  <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
                      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ticket2write/

                  <*> Your email settings:
                      Individual Email | Traditional

                  <*> To change settings online go to:
                      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ticket2write/join
                      (Yahoo! ID required)

                  <*> To change settings via email:
                      mailto:ticket2write-digest@yahoogroups.com
                      mailto:ticket2write-fullfeatured@yahoogroups.com

                  <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                      ticket2write-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

                  <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
                      http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

                • queen_of_cryptic_cyphers
                  Dearest Wings Sir, That is one grand showing isn t it? Hugs, Gwen ... the ... couple ... rung ... give ... oozing ... Now ... cramp ... as ... with ... get
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jul 5, 2007
                    Dearest Wings Sir,

                    That is one grand 'showing' isn't it?

                    Hugs,
                    Gwen
                    --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "wings081" <wings081@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi Albi
                    >
                    > Hi Albi
                    > Allow me to give a further demonstration of showing versus telling.
                    > E.V.Thompson, a prize winning Cornish author wrote an historical
                    > novel called "Chase the Wind"
                    > In the first chapter, Joshua Retallick descends the ladder to a
                    > copper mine to see his father who is working below.
                    > Now the author could simply have TOLD readers that Josh went down
                    the
                    > mine to meet with his father. However Thompson successfully SHOWS us
                    > (me at any rate) the experiences and life threatening dangers of
                    > miners working deep beneath the surface over a century ago. This is
                    > the start of chapter one:
                    >
                    > Chase The Wind
                    >
                    > "Ninety fathoms below grass, in the darkness at the bottom of the
                    > main vertical shaft of Wheal Shaptor copper mine, Joshua Retallick
                    > stepped from the ladder on to the ore strewn floor. He took a
                    couple
                    > of shaky steps, his legs trembling from the climb down.
                    > Above him, so far up that the clean, star studded sky could not be
                    > seen, was a small square hole. Through this was hoisted the copper
                    > ore that would make one man rich and send fifty more to a premature
                    > grave.
                    > Josh moved to one side as boots scraped on the wooden rungs above
                    > him. The night shift was coming on duty. As each man stepped to the
                    > floor he would flex his arms, easing the muscles in his shoulders.
                    > Muscles knotted by the fear of falling that made a man grip each
                    rung
                    > just a little too tightly.
                    > The miners passed through the openings into the tunnels that sloped
                    > gently away from the main shaft. They stooped, automatically but
                    > unnecessarily, used to smaller tunnels than these. Once inside they
                    > paused to light the yellow candles that each man relied upon to
                    give
                    > him light by which to work and warning of foul air.
                    > Josh followed one of the miners along the tunnel where he knew his
                    > father was working. At first the tunnel was narrow, with water
                    oozing
                    > from the walls shored up in a here-and-there manner. Then suddenly
                    > and dramatically, it opened out into a huge vault, eighty feet wide
                    > and thirty high. Here there had been a seam of near pure copper.
                    Now
                    > it was a rock-wall emptiness, the ore long since fed into the belly
                    > of a Swansea smelting house and disgorged as blocks of gleaming
                    > metal, each tinged with the colour of the furnace, to be shipped in
                    > tall-rigged vessels to a world eager for high grade Cornish copper."
                    >
                    > Thompson, with his words, took me down that mine. I felt muscle
                    cramp
                    > as my feet reached for the next step below. I ducked involuntarily
                    as
                    > I saw ahead the sloping roof of the tunnel shored up haphazardly
                    with
                    > pit props which seemed too slender to withstand the enormous load
                    > above. I breathed a sigh of relief when I entered the large vault
                    > where my candle light was too dim to expose the roof.
                    > I was there with Josh. I was Josh. That's what I understand by
                    > SHOWING.
                    >
                    > As always
                    >
                    > Wings
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, albiaicehouse <no_reply@>
                    > wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Wings and Suzianne,
                    > >
                    > > If you don't mind my saying, a really exhaustive reporter will
                    get
                    > to
                    > > all the descriptions of a story writer, but:
                    > >
                    > > - the reader almost certainly will be totally bored, as real life
                    is
                    > > filled chock full with mundane facts. The exhaustive reporter will
                    > > include all kinds of description that is unneeded.
                    > >
                    > > - the reader will know too much to be able to sort the wheat from
                    > the
                    > > chaff, the important facts from the irrelevant.
                    > >
                    > > - if the description is through the eyes of a character, the
                    reader
                    > > will gain no insights about the character's history or emotional
                    > state
                    > > in the story.
                    > >
                    > > So showing is more than just showing, its showing what helps the
                    > > reader experience what the writer intends. As many elements as
                    > > possible contribute to that experience.
                    > >
                    > > And, no, I haven't mastered this myself, but even a humble hack
                    can
                    > > throw in his two cents, right?
                    > >
                    > > albi
                    > >
                    > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "Susan Donahue"
                    <suzianne411@>
                    > > wrote:
                    > > >
                    > > > Dear RLU...The way I explain this concept to writers is to
                    > explain
                    > > > that a reporter tries to tell things in clear, concise terms.
                    > > >
                    > > > A novelist, on the other hand, wants the reader to become not
                    > just
                    > > > informed, but deeply involved. For that purpose, it is better
                    to
                    > > > appeal to the reader's senses and allow him or her to create
                    the
                    > > > intended mental images. In a way, the writer is "showing"
                    clues
                    > > > that allow the reader to see, hear, taste, smell and feel the
                    > > > message.
                    > > >
                    > > > Good luck with that!
                    > > >
                    > > > Suzianne
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "rlu_120" <rlu_120@> wrote:
                    > > > >
                    > > > > help: how do you show instead of tell when writing stories?
                    > > > > thanks..
                    > > > >
                    > > >
                    > >
                    >
                  • queen_of_cryptic_cyphers
                    Wow Nigel! What a come back! Welcome home. I really found this captivating. I don t know how many stories have been written from this POV but it was eerie. On
                    Message 9 of 15 , Jul 5, 2007
                      Wow Nigel! What a come back! Welcome home.

                      I really found this captivating. I don't know how many stories have
                      been written from this POV but it was eerie. On one hand I didn't
                      want to know how how he thought for fear of finding some way in which
                      I could relate, but then again I did want to know. I really did.

                      The tale is rich in descriptive language as I would expect from you.
                      You are gifted that way. The only suggie I have for you is that it
                      went on too long. It became narrative. I feel a break in action is
                      needed about the 'life after life' line. You've lured us in but you
                      must keep us there.

                      Hope you continue. I want to read more.

                      Hugs,
                      Gwen


                      --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, nigel_tiptoe <no_reply@...>
                      wrote:
                      >
                      > I recently read a novel about, in large part, a series of murders
                      > committed in my home town. I never met the author, but we knew a few
                      > people in common and clearly had many experiences in common. We are
                      > probably of similar age. The murderer was a strange man indeed. He
                      had
                      > teh police baffled for years because he had no consistant 'modus
                      > operandi.' In fact, two other men served time for two of his crimes,
                      > it seems largely because the police were desperate for convictions.
                      > The author of this largely biographical novel was quite unable to
                      > understand the murderer, and admits the fact. And I too am not at
                      all
                      > confident that I do either. However, I have an idea - an imagining
                      if
                      > nothing else. So, I have tried to show, rather than tell. Let me
                      know
                      > what you think.
                      >
                      >
                      > My piece, the beginning of a longer work if I can find an audience,
                      is
                      > tentatively entitled 'Eric' - perhaps a couple of my fellow Aussie
                      > T2Wers will remember something of this little snippet of history.
                      >
                      > Nigelmaker
                      >
                      > ERIC (those with sensitive souls should perhaps turn away now)
                      >
                      > How strange that the easiest thing should be to confess. And what a
                      > surprise that this confession should lift such a burden from my
                      > oppressed and battered heart. To sit in the dock and reveal every
                      > secret detail; what an incredible relief.
                      >
                      > Yes it was me with the gun and the ax and the knife. It was me who
                      > lurked in the darkness awaiting that moment when I could give in to
                      my
                      > compulsions, the dark urges I courted and loved. Time after time I
                      > hesitated. I hesitated in dread and anticipation. And time after
                      time
                      > with the moment come, I felt the warm flood of power. Power over my
                      > defenseless and blameless victim.
                      >
                      > It cost me nothing that those I slew were not those who shamed me.
                      In
                      > fact, the very innocence of those who died magnified my joy. How I
                      > fooled you all. No-one guessed. No-one had any idea at all. I
                      crawled
                      > amongst you, invisible through your disregard. Your disrespect both
                      > spurred me into action and guaranteed my immunity. You cannot
                      capture
                      > what you cannot see. You cannot know what you ignore.
                      >
                      > But each death mounted in my soul. I created them, and gathered
                      them,
                      > and hugged them to me, my most precious, beloved possessions. I
                      loved
                      > them like children and they filled my life. And if they began to
                      fade,
                      > to grow away from me; or if they crowded and clawed at me –
                      sometimes
                      > they clawed at me – I'd gather new ones. I'd grow discontented and
                      > restless. I'd creep out into the streets, the leafy suburban roads,
                      > past the fences, the gardens, the lighted doorways; past the windows
                      > spilling life, excluding me. I'd creep into backyards. I'd wait in
                      > shadows, in bushes, beneath the quiet spread of trees. And you
                      > wouldn't know I was out there. But still you lived in fear;
                      somewhere
                      > someone was lurking – you knew. I drank your life like heady wine
                      even
                      > before you died.
                      >
                      > Death after death mounted in my soul, and I loved them. But they
                      > weighed heavy. They jostled within me. The clamored and called,
                      though
                      > I hardly noticed, until I let them go – until I sat in the dock and
                      > gave them all to you. And was glad as they departed.
                      >
                      > How kind you were. You listened. I stood before you, I moved and
                      > gestured, I smiled and spoke and laughed. And you saw me, and you
                      > heard, and you wondered at me and shook your head. You shook your
                      > troubled head at me whom you had never seen, never heard before. I
                      > felt your gratitude. You had longed for my tale. My stories gave you
                      > answers, and gave you questions too. You fished the gun out of the
                      > river, you searched and found the ax and the knife. You examined the
                      > car, you examined my life, you examined your own bitter heart. And
                      > then you sentenced me to 'hang by the neck until dead.' And you
                      hanged me.
                      >
                      > You hanged me. But still I lurk in your shadows. Still your leafy
                      > streets threaten. Frightened parents wait for terrified children as
                      > nights grow late and dark. Rustles in the bushes leap out at you as
                      if
                      > with fangs; the cracks and creaks of your cooling houses echo like
                      the
                      > lion's roar. The gun and knife hang over your life and you'll lie in
                      > peace no more. I am in your heart, though you forget my face, you
                      > forget my name. I am in your heart's tremor. I am in your gasp, in
                      > your clench, in every anxious moment you spend alone and
                      unprotected.
                      > I am the horror just outside your flimsy door.
                      >
                      > I sat in the dock with my hair brushed and my shoes shined, in my
                      suit
                      > and collar and tie. I've never looked better, dressed up to be
                      visible
                      > for the first time in my life. I saw friends in the courtroom: the
                      > detectives, the judge, the press. How grateful I was to them for
                      their
                      > company. How pleased to be no longer alone. I liked them; I shared
                      > with them. I showed them my precious treasures and shared with them
                      my
                      > time and my tales. I helped them and they were pleased. They looked
                      > hard at me, and saw me. At last they knew who I was. And all it took
                      > was a gun and a car, an ax and a knife. All it took was life after
                      > life after life.
                      >
                      > You hunted me with torches. You hunted me with rakes and sieves. You
                      > took finger prints and footprints. You sat in rooms and thought and
                      > thought, but you only ever came close to me in dreams, in
                      nightmares.
                      > I was your nightmare. I was the foolishness that made you fools; I
                      > wore the costume but you were the clown. And you will dance a fool's
                      > jig forever.
                      >
                      > When I kill I change. The bands around my constricted heart relax.
                      The
                      > clash and jangle of emotions, the screach and scream of inner voices
                      > quieten. Calm. Calm descends, a warm gentle rain upon a searing
                      > desert: the brittle and sharp soften, the drifting, abrasive and
                      > engulfing sands dampen. They form a healng paste to plaster over
                      > cracks and fissues, a salve to ancient wounds. Pain subsides then
                      > ceases and I settle into bliss. I have killed. What a creative act.
                      I
                      > am a god, benign and gentle, saturated with a parental love for all
                      I
                      > encounter, blessing them, setting their paltry hearts free. I am a
                      > gentle farmer casting seeds indescriminately on earth and stone. Let
                      > them fall as they will. And let them prosper as they might.
                      >
                    • wings081
                      Dear Gwen Thank you for that response.Some readers might have thought the author had gone over the top and included description extraneous to the main story,
                      Message 10 of 15 , Jul 5, 2007
                        Dear Gwen
                        Thank you for that response.Some readers might have thought the
                        author had gone 'over the top' and included description extraneous to
                        the main story, but I felt every word was another step back into a
                        past which thankfully,in UK,may never be repeated.
                        The chasm between the haves and have-nots of that era, which could
                        never be crossed,serves as a vivid reminder of how fortunate we are
                        that society is becoming more amalgamous and we are at last beginning
                        to realise Jack's as good as his master.
                        I understand too much description can have readers
                        thinking: "Whenever is he going to get started on the story" but an
                        opening such as the one I quoted,sets the mood,the period and the
                        expectation of an adventure we are never likely to experience.

                        As always

                        Wings


                        --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "queen_of_cryptic_cyphers"
                        <poetry4u@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Dearest Wings Sir,
                        >
                        > That is one grand 'showing' isn't it?
                        >
                        > Hugs,
                        > Gwen
                        > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "wings081" <wings081@> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Hi Albi
                        > >
                        > > Hi Albi
                        > > Allow me to give a further demonstration of showing versus
                        telling.
                        > > E.V.Thompson, a prize winning Cornish author wrote an historical
                        > > novel called "Chase the Wind"
                        > > In the first chapter, Joshua Retallick descends the ladder to a
                        > > copper mine to see his father who is working below.
                        > > Now the author could simply have TOLD readers that Josh went down
                        > the
                        > > mine to meet with his father. However Thompson successfully SHOWS
                        us
                        > > (me at any rate) the experiences and life threatening dangers of
                        > > miners working deep beneath the surface over a century ago. This
                        is
                        > > the start of chapter one:
                        > >
                        > > Chase The Wind
                        > >
                        > > "Ninety fathoms below grass, in the darkness at the bottom of the
                        > > main vertical shaft of Wheal Shaptor copper mine, Joshua
                        Retallick
                        > > stepped from the ladder on to the ore strewn floor. He took a
                        > couple
                        > > of shaky steps, his legs trembling from the climb down.
                        > > Above him, so far up that the clean, star studded sky could not
                        be
                        > > seen, was a small square hole. Through this was hoisted the
                        copper
                        > > ore that would make one man rich and send fifty more to a
                        premature
                        > > grave.
                        > > Josh moved to one side as boots scraped on the wooden rungs
                        above
                        > > him. The night shift was coming on duty. As each man stepped to
                        the
                        > > floor he would flex his arms, easing the muscles in his
                        shoulders.
                        > > Muscles knotted by the fear of falling that made a man grip each
                        > rung
                        > > just a little too tightly.
                        > > The miners passed through the openings into the tunnels that
                        sloped
                        > > gently away from the main shaft. They stooped, automatically but
                        > > unnecessarily, used to smaller tunnels than these. Once inside
                        they
                        > > paused to light the yellow candles that each man relied upon to
                        > give
                        > > him light by which to work and warning of foul air.
                        > > Josh followed one of the miners along the tunnel where he knew
                        his
                        > > father was working. At first the tunnel was narrow, with water
                        > oozing
                        > > from the walls shored up in a here-and-there manner. Then
                        suddenly
                        > > and dramatically, it opened out into a huge vault, eighty feet
                        wide
                        > > and thirty high. Here there had been a seam of near pure copper.
                        > Now
                        > > it was a rock-wall emptiness, the ore long since fed into the
                        belly
                        > > of a Swansea smelting house and disgorged as blocks of gleaming
                        > > metal, each tinged with the colour of the furnace, to be shipped
                        in
                        > > tall-rigged vessels to a world eager for high grade Cornish
                        copper."
                        > >
                        > > Thompson, with his words, took me down that mine. I felt muscle
                        > cramp
                        > > as my feet reached for the next step below. I ducked
                        involuntarily
                        > as
                        > > I saw ahead the sloping roof of the tunnel shored up haphazardly
                        > with
                        > > pit props which seemed too slender to withstand the enormous load
                        > > above. I breathed a sigh of relief when I entered the large vault
                        > > where my candle light was too dim to expose the roof.
                        > > I was there with Josh. I was Josh. That's what I understand by
                        > > SHOWING.
                        > >
                        > > As always
                        > >
                        > > Wings
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, albiaicehouse <no_reply@>
                        > > wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > > Wings and Suzianne,
                        > > >
                        > > > If you don't mind my saying, a really exhaustive reporter will
                        > get
                        > > to
                        > > > all the descriptions of a story writer, but:
                        > > >
                        > > > - the reader almost certainly will be totally bored, as real
                        life
                        > is
                        > > > filled chock full with mundane facts. The exhaustive reporter
                        will
                        > > > include all kinds of description that is unneeded.
                        > > >
                        > > > - the reader will know too much to be able to sort the wheat
                        from
                        > > the
                        > > > chaff, the important facts from the irrelevant.
                        > > >
                        > > > - if the description is through the eyes of a character, the
                        > reader
                        > > > will gain no insights about the character's history or
                        emotional
                        > > state
                        > > > in the story.
                        > > >
                        > > > So showing is more than just showing, its showing what helps the
                        > > > reader experience what the writer intends. As many elements as
                        > > > possible contribute to that experience.
                        > > >
                        > > > And, no, I haven't mastered this myself, but even a humble hack
                        > can
                        > > > throw in his two cents, right?
                        > > >
                        > > > albi
                        > > >
                        > > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "Susan Donahue"
                        > <suzianne411@>
                        > > > wrote:
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Dear RLU...The way I explain this concept to writers is to
                        > > explain
                        > > > > that a reporter tries to tell things in clear, concise
                        terms.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > A novelist, on the other hand, wants the reader to become not
                        > > just
                        > > > > informed, but deeply involved. For that purpose, it is
                        better
                        > to
                        > > > > appeal to the reader's senses and allow him or her to create
                        > the
                        > > > > intended mental images. In a way, the writer is "showing"
                        > clues
                        > > > > that allow the reader to see, hear, taste, smell and feel the
                        > > > > message.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Good luck with that!
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Suzianne
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "rlu_120" <rlu_120@>
                        wrote:
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > help: how do you show instead of tell when writing stories?
                        > > > > > thanks..
                        > > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > >
                        > >
                        >
                      • albiaicehouse
                        rlu, Wings, Suzianne, Nigel, Gwen, Carol, So no one suspects prejudice in my judgments, I found the submission quoted by Wings and the creation by Nigel, both,
                        Message 11 of 15 , Jul 5, 2007
                          rlu, Wings, Suzianne, Nigel, Gwen, Carol,

                          So no one suspects prejudice in my judgments, I found the submission
                          quoted by Wings and the creation by Nigel, both, to be wonderful
                          written works. Gwen was correct that Nigel's work is fascinating
                          about a topic that should be repulsive. Really great work.

                          Wings, you brought to me an excellent piece of writing. Thanks. (As
                          an aside, I have to point out that the equality perhaps being achieved
                          to some degree in the British Isles is illusory. For every mine
                          closed in your fine land, there are three others in other parts of the
                          globe possibly with worse working conditions. As a world society, we
                          have to pursue some kind of safety parity in working conditions all
                          around this spaceship. However, I do find one bit of miner humor
                          great fun...seen on the bumper of a miner's pickup truck: Earth First!
                          We'll mine the other planets later.)

                          I think that Carol got it the most right with her illustration of:

                          "It's not so much the fabric" as she slid her hand down
                          the length of the sheers. "It's also the color!" and her eyes
                          brightened as she gazed at the golden silk.

                          Conversation and action are so much more engaging than the telling of
                          generalizations.

                          Now, to me, Nigel's piece and Wing's excerpt are telling with heavy
                          doses of showing. For instance, Nigel says, "Yes it was me with the
                          gun and the ax and the knife." That's very much telling as these are
                          generic categories, as symbolic and emotion laden as they are.
                          Examine the gun. Is it small? Is it silver or black? Is it still
                          warm? Is it old and scratched, or new and unblemished? Its a generic
                          gun told to us, eh?

                          But then Nigel goes on with "I'd creep out into the streets, the leafy
                          suburban roads,
                          past the fences, the gardens, the lighted doorways; past the windows
                          spilling life, excluding me. I'd creep into backyards. I'd wait in
                          shadows, in bushes, beneath the quiet spread of trees."

                          Still not specific to one location, but he begins to weave images that
                          pop into your mind.

                          Then he describes some important facts about the murderer/narrator:
                          "I sat in the dock with my hair brushed and my shoes shined, in my
                          suit and collar and tie." These are not as specific as possible, but
                          they are enough to shock with the realization that monsters look like us.

                          The piece that Wings quotes by E.V.Thompson starts with:

                          "Ninety fathoms below grass, in the darkness at the bottom of the
                          main vertical shaft of Wheal Shaptor copper mine, Joshua Retallick
                          stepped from the ladder on to the ore strewn floor. He took a couple
                          of shaky steps, his legs trembling from the climb down.
                          Above him, so far up that the clean, star studded sky could not be
                          seen, was a small square hole."

                          You can see showing details and general telling both:

                          Actual depth.
                          Generic grass, but a specific plant.
                          Specific shaft in a specific mine.
                          Specific character - this is not a nameless video camera.
                          Shows what's on the floor although somewhat generic.
                          Physical after-effects on our character who just risked his life to
                          enter the scene.
                          A hole so high that no two stars could show in it at once - brilliant
                          image.

                          How many people could look at that hole and not describe it that way?
                          Maybe not many. How many people who read this, will always remember
                          the height and size of this hole in the mine leading up? Only the
                          insensitive could ever forget.

                          But think of Nigel's piece and E.V.Thompson's. Could they have
                          traveled as far in breadth of description if they showed every detail?
                          If E.V. Thompson had told every detail we would have read a lot about
                          grass or at best the first fifteen steps down the ladder.

                          So my point is that I believe the excellent writers put as much of
                          showing into their pieces as they can with the most salient or telling
                          of images and feelings, but they must often lapse into some telling
                          sprinkled to get where they need the story to go.

                          As to training writers, I suspect that the vast majority of us
                          beginners, like me, could do with a lot more showing and less telling.
                          But a story with total showing would be as boring or slow as real life.

                          Still in regard to expanding the showing abilities of beginners, I
                          suspect that poetry is the perfect medicine. If you work at writing
                          better poems, I bet your showing level rises in your prose writing.

                          albi

                          --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "wings081" <wings081@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Dear Gwen
                          > Thank you for that response.Some readers might have thought the
                          > author had gone 'over the top' and included description extraneous to
                          > the main story, but I felt every word was another step back into a
                          > past which thankfully,in UK,may never be repeated.
                          > The chasm between the haves and have-nots of that era, which could
                          > never be crossed,serves as a vivid reminder of how fortunate we are
                          > that society is becoming more amalgamous and we are at last beginning
                          > to realise Jack's as good as his master.
                          > I understand too much description can have readers
                          > thinking: "Whenever is he going to get started on the story" but an
                          > opening such as the one I quoted,sets the mood,the period and the
                          > expectation of an adventure we are never likely to experience.
                          >
                          > As always
                          >
                          > Wings
                          >
                          >
                          > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "queen_of_cryptic_cyphers"
                          > <poetry4u@> wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Dearest Wings Sir,
                          > >
                          > > That is one grand 'showing' isn't it?
                          > >
                          > > Hugs,
                          > > Gwen
                          > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "wings081" <wings081@> wrote:
                          > > >
                          > > > Hi Albi
                          > > >
                          > > > Hi Albi
                          > > > Allow me to give a further demonstration of showing versus
                          > telling.
                          > > > E.V.Thompson, a prize winning Cornish author wrote an historical
                          > > > novel called "Chase the Wind"
                          > > > In the first chapter, Joshua Retallick descends the ladder to a
                          > > > copper mine to see his father who is working below.
                          > > > Now the author could simply have TOLD readers that Josh went down
                          > > the
                          > > > mine to meet with his father. However Thompson successfully SHOWS
                          > us
                          > > > (me at any rate) the experiences and life threatening dangers of
                          > > > miners working deep beneath the surface over a century ago. This
                          > is
                          > > > the start of chapter one:
                          > > >
                          > > > Chase The Wind
                          > > >
                          > > > "Ninety fathoms below grass, in the darkness at the bottom of the
                          > > > main vertical shaft of Wheal Shaptor copper mine, Joshua
                          > Retallick
                          > > > stepped from the ladder on to the ore strewn floor. He took a
                          > > couple
                          > > > of shaky steps, his legs trembling from the climb down.
                          > > > Above him, so far up that the clean, star studded sky could not
                          > be
                          > > > seen, was a small square hole. Through this was hoisted the
                          > copper
                          > > > ore that would make one man rich and send fifty more to a
                          > premature
                          > > > grave.
                          > > > Josh moved to one side as boots scraped on the wooden rungs
                          > above
                          > > > him. The night shift was coming on duty. As each man stepped to
                          > the
                          > > > floor he would flex his arms, easing the muscles in his
                          > shoulders.
                          > > > Muscles knotted by the fear of falling that made a man grip each
                          > > rung
                          > > > just a little too tightly.
                          > > > The miners passed through the openings into the tunnels that
                          > sloped
                          > > > gently away from the main shaft. They stooped, automatically but
                          > > > unnecessarily, used to smaller tunnels than these. Once inside
                          > they
                          > > > paused to light the yellow candles that each man relied upon to
                          > > give
                          > > > him light by which to work and warning of foul air.
                          > > > Josh followed one of the miners along the tunnel where he knew
                          > his
                          > > > father was working. At first the tunnel was narrow, with water
                          > > oozing
                          > > > from the walls shored up in a here-and-there manner. Then
                          > suddenly
                          > > > and dramatically, it opened out into a huge vault, eighty feet
                          > wide
                          > > > and thirty high. Here there had been a seam of near pure copper.
                          > > Now
                          > > > it was a rock-wall emptiness, the ore long since fed into the
                          > belly
                          > > > of a Swansea smelting house and disgorged as blocks of gleaming
                          > > > metal, each tinged with the colour of the furnace, to be shipped
                          > in
                          > > > tall-rigged vessels to a world eager for high grade Cornish
                          > copper."
                          > > >
                          > > > Thompson, with his words, took me down that mine. I felt muscle
                          > > cramp
                          > > > as my feet reached for the next step below. I ducked
                          > involuntarily
                          > > as
                          > > > I saw ahead the sloping roof of the tunnel shored up haphazardly
                          > > with
                          > > > pit props which seemed too slender to withstand the enormous load
                          > > > above. I breathed a sigh of relief when I entered the large vault
                          > > > where my candle light was too dim to expose the roof.
                          > > > I was there with Josh. I was Josh. That's what I understand by
                          > > > SHOWING.
                          > > >
                          > > > As always
                          > > >
                          > > > Wings
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, albiaicehouse <no_reply@>
                          > > > wrote:
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Wings and Suzianne,
                          > > > >
                          > > > > If you don't mind my saying, a really exhaustive reporter will
                          > > get
                          > > > to
                          > > > > all the descriptions of a story writer, but:
                          > > > >
                          > > > > - the reader almost certainly will be totally bored, as real
                          > life
                          > > is
                          > > > > filled chock full with mundane facts. The exhaustive reporter
                          > will
                          > > > > include all kinds of description that is unneeded.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > - the reader will know too much to be able to sort the wheat
                          > from
                          > > > the
                          > > > > chaff, the important facts from the irrelevant.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > - if the description is through the eyes of a character, the
                          > > reader
                          > > > > will gain no insights about the character's history or
                          > emotional
                          > > > state
                          > > > > in the story.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > So showing is more than just showing, its showing what helps the
                          > > > > reader experience what the writer intends. As many elements as
                          > > > > possible contribute to that experience.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > And, no, I haven't mastered this myself, but even a humble hack
                          > > can
                          > > > > throw in his two cents, right?
                          > > > >
                          > > > > albi
                          > > > >
                          > > > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "Susan Donahue"
                          > > <suzianne411@>
                          > > > > wrote:
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Dear RLU...The way I explain this concept to writers is to
                          > > > explain
                          > > > > > that a reporter tries to tell things in clear, concise
                          > terms.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > A novelist, on the other hand, wants the reader to become not
                          > > > just
                          > > > > > informed, but deeply involved. For that purpose, it is
                          > better
                          > > to
                          > > > > > appeal to the reader's senses and allow him or her to create
                          > > the
                          > > > > > intended mental images. In a way, the writer is "showing"
                          > > clues
                          > > > > > that allow the reader to see, hear, taste, smell and feel the
                          > > > > > message.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Good luck with that!
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Suzianne
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "rlu_120" <rlu_120@>
                          > wrote:
                          > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > help: how do you show instead of tell when writing stories?
                          > > > > > > thanks..
                          > > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          >
                        • nigel_tiptoe
                          Ah Albi. You are standing too close, or I am painting too poorly. I m not trying to show you the gun; I am trying to show you the shooter. Nigel
                          Message 12 of 15 , Jul 6, 2007
                            Ah Albi. You are standing too close, or I am painting too poorly. I'm
                            not trying to show you the gun; I am trying to show you the shooter.

                            Nigel
                          • Susan Donahue
                            Dear Albi...That is genius! Indeed, writing poetry will expand one s ability to show by means of imagry, metaphor, etc. One those ocassions when a writer is
                            Message 13 of 15 , Jul 6, 2007
                              Dear Albi...That is genius! Indeed, writing poetry will expand one's
                              ability to show by means of imagry, metaphor, etc. One those
                              ocassions when a writer is at a loss for words in their prose, it
                              would be a very good idea not to abandon the writing, but to sharpen
                              a pencil and write a poem. It is a perfect way to jump start the
                              creative process.

                              Suzianne

                              --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, albiaicehouse <no_reply@...>
                              wrote:
                              >
                              > rlu, Wings, Suzianne, Nigel, Gwen, Carol,
                              >
                              > So no one suspects prejudice in my judgments, I found the submission
                              > quoted by Wings and the creation by Nigel, both, to be wonderful
                              > written works. Gwen was correct that Nigel's work is fascinating
                              > about a topic that should be repulsive. Really great work.
                              >
                              > Wings, you brought to me an excellent piece of writing. Thanks.
                              (As
                              > an aside, I have to point out that the equality perhaps being
                              achieved
                              > to some degree in the British Isles is illusory. For every mine
                              > closed in your fine land, there are three others in other parts of
                              the
                              > globe possibly with worse working conditions. As a world society,
                              we
                              > have to pursue some kind of safety parity in working conditions all
                              > around this spaceship. However, I do find one bit of miner humor
                              > great fun...seen on the bumper of a miner's pickup truck: Earth
                              First!
                              > We'll mine the other planets later.)
                              >
                              > I think that Carol got it the most right with her illustration of:
                              >
                              > "It's not so much the fabric" as she slid her hand down
                              > the length of the sheers. "It's also the color!" and her eyes
                              > brightened as she gazed at the golden silk.
                              >
                              > Conversation and action are so much more engaging than the telling
                              of
                              > generalizations.
                              >
                              > Now, to me, Nigel's piece and Wing's excerpt are telling with heavy
                              > doses of showing. For instance, Nigel says, "Yes it was me with the
                              > gun and the ax and the knife." That's very much telling as these
                              are
                              > generic categories, as symbolic and emotion laden as they are.
                              > Examine the gun. Is it small? Is it silver or black? Is it still
                              > warm? Is it old and scratched, or new and unblemished? Its a
                              generic
                              > gun told to us, eh?
                              >
                              > But then Nigel goes on with "I'd creep out into the streets, the
                              leafy
                              > suburban roads,
                              > past the fences, the gardens, the lighted doorways; past the windows
                              > spilling life, excluding me. I'd creep into backyards. I'd wait in
                              > shadows, in bushes, beneath the quiet spread of trees."
                              >
                              > Still not specific to one location, but he begins to weave images
                              that
                              > pop into your mind.
                              >
                              > Then he describes some important facts about the murderer/narrator:
                              > "I sat in the dock with my hair brushed and my shoes shined, in my
                              > suit and collar and tie." These are not as specific as possible,
                              but
                              > they are enough to shock with the realization that monsters look
                              like us.
                              >
                              > The piece that Wings quotes by E.V.Thompson starts with:
                              >
                              > "Ninety fathoms below grass, in the darkness at the bottom of the
                              > main vertical shaft of Wheal Shaptor copper mine, Joshua Retallick
                              > stepped from the ladder on to the ore strewn floor. He took a couple
                              > of shaky steps, his legs trembling from the climb down.
                              > Above him, so far up that the clean, star studded sky could not be
                              > seen, was a small square hole."
                              >
                              > You can see showing details and general telling both:
                              >
                              > Actual depth.
                              > Generic grass, but a specific plant.
                              > Specific shaft in a specific mine.
                              > Specific character - this is not a nameless video camera.
                              > Shows what's on the floor although somewhat generic.
                              > Physical after-effects on our character who just risked his life to
                              > enter the scene.
                              > A hole so high that no two stars could show in it at once -
                              brilliant
                              > image.
                              >
                              > How many people could look at that hole and not describe it that
                              way?
                              > Maybe not many. How many people who read this, will always
                              remember
                              > the height and size of this hole in the mine leading up? Only the
                              > insensitive could ever forget.
                              >
                              > But think of Nigel's piece and E.V.Thompson's. Could they have
                              > traveled as far in breadth of description if they showed every
                              detail?
                              > If E.V. Thompson had told every detail we would have read a lot
                              about
                              > grass or at best the first fifteen steps down the ladder.
                              >
                              > So my point is that I believe the excellent writers put as much of
                              > showing into their pieces as they can with the most salient or
                              telling
                              > of images and feelings, but they must often lapse into some telling
                              > sprinkled to get where they need the story to go.
                              >
                              > As to training writers, I suspect that the vast majority of us
                              > beginners, like me, could do with a lot more showing and less
                              telling.
                              > But a story with total showing would be as boring or slow as real
                              life.
                              >
                              > Still in regard to expanding the showing abilities of beginners, I
                              > suspect that poetry is the perfect medicine. If you work at writing
                              > better poems, I bet your showing level rises in your prose writing.
                              >
                              > albi
                              >
                              > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "wings081" <wings081@> wrote:
                              > >
                              > > Dear Gwen
                              > > Thank you for that response.Some readers might have thought the
                              > > author had gone 'over the top' and included description
                              extraneous to
                              > > the main story, but I felt every word was another step back into
                              a
                              > > past which thankfully,in UK,may never be repeated.
                              > > The chasm between the haves and have-nots of that era, which
                              could
                              > > never be crossed,serves as a vivid reminder of how fortunate we
                              are
                              > > that society is becoming more amalgamous and we are at last
                              beginning
                              > > to realise Jack's as good as his master.
                              > > I understand too much description can have readers
                              > > thinking: "Whenever is he going to get started on the story" but
                              an
                              > > opening such as the one I quoted,sets the mood,the period and the
                              > > expectation of an adventure we are never likely to experience.
                              > >
                              > > As always
                              > >
                              > > Wings
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "queen_of_cryptic_cyphers"
                              > > <poetry4u@> wrote:
                              > > >
                              > > > Dearest Wings Sir,
                              > > >
                              > > > That is one grand 'showing' isn't it?
                              > > >
                              > > > Hugs,
                              > > > Gwen
                              > > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "wings081" <wings081@>
                              wrote:
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Hi Albi
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Hi Albi
                              > > > > Allow me to give a further demonstration of showing versus
                              > > telling.
                              > > > > E.V.Thompson, a prize winning Cornish author wrote an
                              historical
                              > > > > novel called "Chase the Wind"
                              > > > > In the first chapter, Joshua Retallick descends the ladder
                              to a
                              > > > > copper mine to see his father who is working below.
                              > > > > Now the author could simply have TOLD readers that Josh went
                              down
                              > > > the
                              > > > > mine to meet with his father. However Thompson successfully
                              SHOWS
                              > > us
                              > > > > (me at any rate) the experiences and life threatening dangers
                              of
                              > > > > miners working deep beneath the surface over a century ago.
                              This
                              > > is
                              > > > > the start of chapter one:
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Chase The Wind
                              > > > >
                              > > > > "Ninety fathoms below grass, in the darkness at the bottom of
                              the
                              > > > > main vertical shaft of Wheal Shaptor copper mine, Joshua
                              > > Retallick
                              > > > > stepped from the ladder on to the ore strewn floor. He took a
                              > > > couple
                              > > > > of shaky steps, his legs trembling from the climb down.
                              > > > > Above him, so far up that the clean, star studded sky could
                              not
                              > > be
                              > > > > seen, was a small square hole. Through this was hoisted the
                              > > copper
                              > > > > ore that would make one man rich and send fifty more to a
                              > > premature
                              > > > > grave.
                              > > > > Josh moved to one side as boots scraped on the wooden rungs
                              > > above
                              > > > > him. The night shift was coming on duty. As each man stepped
                              to
                              > > the
                              > > > > floor he would flex his arms, easing the muscles in his
                              > > shoulders.
                              > > > > Muscles knotted by the fear of falling that made a man grip
                              each
                              > > > rung
                              > > > > just a little too tightly.
                              > > > > The miners passed through the openings into the tunnels that
                              > > sloped
                              > > > > gently away from the main shaft. They stooped, automatically
                              but
                              > > > > unnecessarily, used to smaller tunnels than these. Once
                              inside
                              > > they
                              > > > > paused to light the yellow candles that each man relied upon
                              to
                              > > > give
                              > > > > him light by which to work and warning of foul air.
                              > > > > Josh followed one of the miners along the tunnel where he
                              knew
                              > > his
                              > > > > father was working. At first the tunnel was narrow, with
                              water
                              > > > oozing
                              > > > > from the walls shored up in a here-and-there manner. Then
                              > > suddenly
                              > > > > and dramatically, it opened out into a huge vault, eighty
                              feet
                              > > wide
                              > > > > and thirty high. Here there had been a seam of near pure
                              copper.
                              > > > Now
                              > > > > it was a rock-wall emptiness, the ore long since fed into the
                              > > belly
                              > > > > of a Swansea smelting house and disgorged as blocks of
                              gleaming
                              > > > > metal, each tinged with the colour of the furnace, to be
                              shipped
                              > > in
                              > > > > tall-rigged vessels to a world eager for high grade Cornish
                              > > copper."
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Thompson, with his words, took me down that mine. I felt
                              muscle
                              > > > cramp
                              > > > > as my feet reached for the next step below. I ducked
                              > > involuntarily
                              > > > as
                              > > > > I saw ahead the sloping roof of the tunnel shored up
                              haphazardly
                              > > > with
                              > > > > pit props which seemed too slender to withstand the enormous
                              load
                              > > > > above. I breathed a sigh of relief when I entered the large
                              vault
                              > > > > where my candle light was too dim to expose the roof.
                              > > > > I was there with Josh. I was Josh. That's what I understand
                              by
                              > > > > SHOWING.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > As always
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Wings
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, albiaicehouse
                              <no_reply@>
                              > > > > wrote:
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Wings and Suzianne,
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > If you don't mind my saying, a really exhaustive reporter
                              will
                              > > > get
                              > > > > to
                              > > > > > all the descriptions of a story writer, but:
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > - the reader almost certainly will be totally bored, as
                              real
                              > > life
                              > > > is
                              > > > > > filled chock full with mundane facts. The exhaustive
                              reporter
                              > > will
                              > > > > > include all kinds of description that is unneeded.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > - the reader will know too much to be able to sort the
                              wheat
                              > > from
                              > > > > the
                              > > > > > chaff, the important facts from the irrelevant.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > - if the description is through the eyes of a character,
                              the
                              > > > reader
                              > > > > > will gain no insights about the character's history or
                              > > emotional
                              > > > > state
                              > > > > > in the story.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > So showing is more than just showing, its showing what
                              helps the
                              > > > > > reader experience what the writer intends. As many
                              elements as
                              > > > > > possible contribute to that experience.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > And, no, I haven't mastered this myself, but even a humble
                              hack
                              > > > can
                              > > > > > throw in his two cents, right?
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > albi
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "Susan Donahue"
                              > > > <suzianne411@>
                              > > > > > wrote:
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Dear RLU...The way I explain this concept to writers is
                              to
                              > > > > explain
                              > > > > > > that a reporter tries to tell things in clear, concise
                              > > terms.
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > A novelist, on the other hand, wants the reader to become
                              not
                              > > > > just
                              > > > > > > informed, but deeply involved. For that purpose, it is
                              > > better
                              > > > to
                              > > > > > > appeal to the reader's senses and allow him or her to
                              create
                              > > > the
                              > > > > > > intended mental images. In a way, the writer
                              is "showing"
                              > > > clues
                              > > > > > > that allow the reader to see, hear, taste, smell and feel
                              the
                              > > > > > > message.
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Good luck with that!
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Suzianne
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "rlu_120" <rlu_120@>
                              > > wrote:
                              > > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > > help: how do you show instead of tell when writing
                              stories?
                              > > > > > > > thanks..
                              > > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > >
                              > >
                              >
                            • albiaicehouse
                              Nigel, That you did, my friend. I was just showing how for that tiny element you took the expediency of telling versus showing. Your ratio of showing to
                              Message 14 of 15 , Jul 6, 2007
                                Nigel,

                                That you did, my friend.

                                I was just showing how for that tiny element you took the expediency
                                of telling versus showing. Your ratio of showing to telling is very
                                high given the tremendous breath of mind and circumstance you had to
                                cover. That's part of the explanation of the powerfulness of your
                                piece.

                                Overall, you definitely showed me the shooter.

                                I look forward to where you will take us next with this piece or its
                                successors!

                                albi

                                --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, nigel_tiptoe <no_reply@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Ah Albi. You are standing too close, or I am painting too poorly. I'm
                                > not trying to show you the gun; I am trying to show you the shooter.
                                >
                                > Nigel
                                >
                              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.