Friday, June 1, 2012

Show Don't Tell

Let's talk about showing vs telling. It's the one thing that can mess up any writer and drive him or her nuts. This can also keep you from getting a contract. I know when I started writing a few years ago this tripped me up more than anything else that I had to learn about writing.  So let's dig into the differences and I'll also post some examples from my book Bound To Protect.

First off, when you're writing and it's telling, it's super boring and will no doubt make someone either throw the book, or if it's a sex scene, to skip over that part in the book. That is not what an author ever wants to happen. When you're showing it draws the reader into the book. It makes them feel like they're there with the hero and heroine experiencing what they're feeling, hearing, doing or seeing.

To get into showing, you need to get into deep POV(Point Of View). It's an intense point of view, not only using sights, sounds, and smells, but also their reaction and the unique way your characters look at the world. For this you will need this formula: 
  • Action
  • Decision
  • Thought
  • Emotion  
You will want to remember this formula while writing. I took a class at Savvy Author on this and the lady who taught this told us that, and she was totally right. Once I learned this formula I did so much better with going into deep POV which in turn made my characters 3 dimensional. Let's take a look at some examples from my book on how to show and not tell.

Example 1 Katie was uptight. (Telling and gives us no idea what is going on in the scene. Chad tells us instead of showing.)

Example 2 The first impression he’d had of her, that she needed to loosen up, had been right. The book he held was a book on bondage. He
flipped it open and trailed his finger down the Table of Contents, which had headings such as Bondage 101, Getting Started, and What to Expect from Your Partner, among other things.

If she was curious about bondage, she could ask him. He’d be more than happy to give her an education she wouldn’t forget. The jeans he wore grew a little tighter. If only he could get her to relax. Something told him that his uptight Katie would find freedom in letting him take care of her pleasure. However, first she had to learn to trust a man again.

“What book do you have there?” Katie asked. She crossed the distance between them, a distance which had started to feel smaller the closer she got. Need had tightened in her gut when she'd opened the door earlier and had seen him standing there. His scent had wrapped around her and for the life of her she couldn’t place what it was.

“It sounds like a spicy book.”

Oh, no. He’d found the books she’d bought recently. The ones she’d never tell anyone about—the ones that were her deepest secret. Katie had no idea how in the world to explain. If only she’d been thinking when he’d headed toward that box, she would have stopped him. Blood rushed to her cheeks and she felt hot.

“Give me that. It’s nothing at all.”

“Doesn’t sound like nothing.” Chad quirked a brow at her and moved a step closer, heat deep in his sea-green gaze, a gaze set on making the beating in her chest louder. Chad’s fingertips caressed her bare shoulder, creating arousal on which she'd long ago given up. One that, if Katie was truthful with herself, she wasn’t sure she wanted to end.

“It seems to me that you’re interested in bondage.”
“I, no, I mean––

“Don’t lie to me.”
There was no mistaking the command in his voice. It wrapped around her body and sent an ache coursing through her veins. Katie debated if she could admit her attraction to Chad, or if she should keep her emotions under tight wrap. Chad dropped the book back into the box and drew her into his arms, forcing the breath from her lungs once again. “Yes,” she said, then nibbled on her bottom lip.

You see the difference? Example number two is longer and that will happen when your in deep POV. It draws the reader in. We see what Chad is looking at, and a secret fetish that Katie is carrying. We also get to see the chemistry between them.

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