just found my love for writing...and learning so much thanks to essays like yours!
Thanks for all of the great advice. Your essay helped me to put the finishing touches on my first submission. I think I may have added about 200 more words to the first draft! Again, thanks
Enjoyed your essay. The advice is pertinent and effecivly presented. Listen to it all you Gonzo scribblers and you too may achieve some literary quality in your work. I'm a writer-wannabe and I need all the help I can get. Thanks.
You do give very good advice now all I have to do is fallow it.Oh and some of us wear skirts and dresses,and not pants thank you.*S*
I think I FINALLY understand what my editor has been trying to POUND into my head! *giving Quint a big, sloppy kiss*
I can think of so many stories that would have been a HELL of a lot better, had the author followed the advice in this guide. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I just read an essay on the same subject as this one, that was of a far lesser quality, with surprisingly bad grammar and logical non-sequiturs. It also happened to be submitted over a year after this well-crafted piece(yeah, a little on the nose, but still deserving). I think someone simply ripped off this in the most inept way possible. A shame really, because this is the most effective take on the subject I've seen so far.
Feel I must do something I don’t usually do, write a comment to your essay – so I do. I agree with what you state, having to read something along the lines “she was 5”4” with 48CC breast” is boring. Ill even take it further; it is downright bad. This is totally gender based (guess who male or female?).
Luckily, lines like those almost always appear at the beginning of a story – to me a distinct stop sign - stop reading.
I don’t want to know how big her breasts are, or how tall she was. What I do want to read is about people, what they do and why do they what they do – SHOW don’t TELL. Which brings me to my last “objection”. Suppose Lilah is extremely shy, some people are. If she enters a bar a gets fucked by a dozen men, while is not likely it is still possible – possible in the sense that it is not totally illogical. Sure, it takes a damn good writer to make this be anything else than … silly/stupid/repulsive.
However, if the writer’s good I'll buy
Said what needed to be said without too much beating about the bush. Makes a point that I can remember without using a notebook. Thanks.
I am a long haired blonde with a 36C also i'm 5'4 so hmm i am flatter that my look helps guys to get off easier
This totally makes sense, and you should be proud for putting it out there, against the masses who just may oppose is. This is something I know already, showing character works far better than simply describing everything right off the bat, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded of it. Nice job with this.
Awesome advice. Now if people would just follow it!! :) Thank you thank you!
Thanks. I made some, uhh, error in my stories (which you mentioned) and will remedy it with your advice. I'm sure this will help make my writing a little better.
Thank you for this, I'm in the process of writing my first story and these are important points to remember.
...there were some way to link essays like this to stories in which the writers actually took your advice. I've come across maybe five memorable characters on this site since I started reading more than a year ago. It's not mandatory; an interesting premise or a good sense of humor go a long way with me, but it's disheartening that there are so few stories I've found that feature characters that are more than walking cliches.
I'm glad i decided to check out the how to section before sending my first story to be edited, i now want to go back over it all (a painfully slow task, why did i make it so long!?) & make sure I've 'shown' my readers everything. I too 'pour', so thank you for all of you witty wise words, fingers crossed this will stem some of the flaming & will make my story more enjoyable.
"Lilah was an extremely shy woman," and then have Lilah go out to a bar and fuck 20 guys and their Dobermans (Dobermen?) in one night?... that was too funny, true but funny.
like you said, its A LOT harder to show than tell and its takes a long time to master(at least for me it does). i recently started writing a couple of months ago and im still taking baby steps... baby steps? try crawling, but instead of doing it with 2 arms & legs i'm dragging myself across the floor with one arm and leg. :)
I constantly have to remind myself details, details, details! great essay and you certainly hit it on the money.
I read wayyyyyyy too many chaptered stories which have the almost the exact phrasing you describe. Gotta admit, I'm guilty, but try to hold it to a bare minimum. In most cases, I use the, "generic fuck slut," as a throwaway, never to be seen nor heard from again.
I'm sitting here and cringing with embarrassment thinking about how many mistakes I've made with writing The Paragraph in my work, and in telling rather than showing what my characters do!
Lolz -- the breast sizes kept increasing.
God, I hope I never make a mistake like this, but I can say honestly that 9/10 of the stories I read on here are NOTHING like that -- because as soon as I see something along those lines, I stop reading. (And also because I prefer sci-fi & nonhuman categories; I like unpredictability.)
On the other hand, by sheer volume, those types of stories likely far outweigh the ones I like, which would explain why it seems so damned hard to find more authors I like every time I look.
Another brilliant post. I wish this body of work was still...burgeoning.
5/5, would bang.
I have sometimes had a paragraph near the beginning that describes the person on some detail so that we get to know what that character looks like period. I’m not going to go all out and give every detail. That can come later in the story. I find that if I don’t get any description of the character at the beginning then I kind of feel like I’m reading a story about empty characters for a while.
Remember way back when you were a bratty booger nosed crumb cruncher throwing a fit and she gently admonished once again, USE YOUR WORDS, DEAR. Numbers should only be used to tell the automated voice how many widgets you want from the shopping channel at three in the morning. Adjectives are everyone's friend. It's also nice when they bring their buddy, the adverb, to the party.
If you tell me BambiSue is a perky 32KK, I will 1.) Want to vomit 2.) Want to toss darts at them to win a stuffed bear 3.) Yell you lie! Because that ain't perky 4.) Rub MY aching back from just reading that. What I won't be is rubbing my throbbing anything.
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