Showing vs. Telling

Kiser and I had a discussion about showing vs. telling in a rough draft. I tend to write a rough draft of telling, a very detailed plot basically, and then go and revise later on, adding up to twice as much content to flesh out the details. So the first draft looks like crap!

It has a tendency to read like a laundry list. “They did this, went here, he said this, she kissed that.” Ok, not quite that bad. And I don’t write the end until the second draft. I’ll do scenes from the end, but the last few sentences won’t even be added until the book is otherwise finished. The opening sentences will be rewritten for months to get just the right words.

In RED SUN, I had a bit of a gimmick. The events of the prologue were exquisitely suited for the Pledge of Allegiance. To me, the prologue was the best part of the book by a mile. No dialogue, but it wasn’t telling, it was showing!

So, the first draft, I tell myself the story. The second draft, I show myself the world and the characters. The third draft, I oil and polish and wrap the story in pretty paper and ribbon. See? Formulas DO work!

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One Response to “Showing vs. Telling”

  1. Ken Kiser Says:

    Not a bad formula

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