Monthly Archives: June 2013

Show not Tell

I have grappled a long few months with the idea of ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’ a story. As a new writer I simply had a story to tell and so 18 months ago  I set about telling it. However, over the past 6 months I have come across the same recurring theme on many author blogs: Show your story; don’t tell it.

I kind of understood what this meant, but actually doing it  proved much harder. It has meant re-writing and re-writing  and re writing stuff which I thought was genuinely good at the time but have realised since I was, and probably still am in parts, guilty of telling not showing my readers the story.

As a teacher I wouldn’t dream of only telling my pupils something. I show them – often in numerous different  ways – how to do something, and it occurred to me that story writing is not very different to this. A writer has many different tricks for being able to show the story they are telling. It may be through action or dialogue or a nuance of how a character says something or acts.  For heavens sake I teach this stuff to kids in writing lessons so why was I finding it so difficult to do in my own writing?

Well firstly because I just wanted to get the story down on paper. Little did I realise in January, when I finished ‘telling’ the story, (in my mind  it was finished then and would just need cleaning up ) that I would spend another 6 months or so cutting large chunks out and re writing even larger chunks so the story could actually come to life.

Secondly, once you have spent 18 months of your life constructing an entire fantasy world along with characters, plot lines, checking for inconsistencies, not to mention actually physically writing and rewriting 70,000 odd words, it takes some courage to say to yourself: “This is not good enough.” But I am glad I did tell myself that what I had written was not good enough. Thanks to the wonders of online communities such as Twitter and more experienced author’s blogs, I discovered what I had actually written then was a skeleton and I hang my head in shame to think I gave that skeleton to quite a few people to read!

But no matter. I have now got to a point where I know the parts of my story which I have ‘told’, rather than ‘shown’. I am about to completely re write Chapter 8, partly because I have a more exciting creative idea for it and partly because I know quite a lot of it is told as oppose to shown.

Luckily, as the chapters go on, I think I got better at the showing  rather than the telling, so hopefully there will be less work to do beyond chapter 8. But who knows? I’m learning all the time.

The journey continues…

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Reading Aloud

I have read on many writing blogs it is a good idea to read your work out loud when editing and proofreading. I cannot say I relished the idea and have tried to avoid doing so! However, I have just tried this for the first time as I thought it would be a good idea to read the prologue aloud before publishing it on this site. Although it felt a little weird sitting talking to myself, it really worked to sharpen up the writing, particularly in relation to the placement of punctuation or finding repetitive phrases or words. (I have just removed an entire chunk which has been there for 18 months!)

I now have another 17 chapters to do this with (daunting!) but I finally realise from doing this activity that scrolling up and down the computer screen, or even reading a printout in your head, is no match for this type of proofreading.

Imagining I am reading to  a class of 10 year old children who need their attention holding is definitely the way forward. Luckily I have plenty of experience with this…

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Hi there!

So here it is; my first ever blog. How great to not have to limit to 160 characters!

Well done and thanks if you have managed to find me; commiserations if this is not what you were looking for!

If  however, you wish to find out more about the books I am writing and the journey I am undertaking to get them to some sort of professional enough standard to publish them, then congratulations; you’re in the right place.

If you are an author or a blogger who has found this, then any tips/ advice or links to help out a novice will always be welcome.

If you have found this blog because you are a reader of children’s fantasy fiction novels, I hope you will enjoy finding out about the world in which my characters and I reside and hopefully like enough of what you find out to one day read my finished novel.

For nearly two years now I have been writing (and rewriting and rewriting!) the first in a trilogy of a children’s fantasy adventure series called “Prophecy of Innocence”. Through this blog I hope to document the remainder of the journey and provide interested people, such as yourselves, information about the progress of the books, the characters as well as the journey to self publishing itself.

Please take a look at the About the Author and About the Book pages of this blog site to find out more about me.

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