IWSG March 7, 2018: Writing Celebration

IWSG Badge-smIt’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts for the March 7 posting of the IWSG are Mary Aalgaard, Bish Denham, Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner!

IWSG Question: How do you celebrate when you achiever a writing goal / finish a story?

My Answer: It never occurred to me, but I love the idea. I’m eager to learn from other IWSG Blog-Hop participants.

I would like to change the subject, if I may. I’m determined to master the writing mode known as “show.” I’ve been told my example below is Tell. I simply don’t understand why it’s Tell.

If possible, would you rewrite this into “Show” mode?

Can you tell me why this is Tell?

“She reaches into the bowl and wraps her gnarled fingers around the orange.”

Thank you for your time and I look forward to visiting your blog.

16 thoughts on “IWSG March 7, 2018: Writing Celebration

  1. I think it’s because, even though you’ve included a detail about the character, you’re reporting on an action. If you wanted to rewrite that and “show” the reader that action you might write:

    Her gnarled hand bumped the cool ceramic bowl as she wrapped arthritic fingers around a bright orange clementine.

    But I think it’s most important to remember that the show/tell thing needs to be balanced. It’s tiresome to read something that’s trying so hard to “show” all of the time. Write what you would want to read. I’m sure there’s someone else that will love it too.

    1. Hi Joey,
      I just checked, and my reply to you disappeared into the ether. It’s important to me your comment is acknowledged and appreciated.

      I’m studying your example. I see a subtle difference between reporting action and showing action. Interesting. I need this to soak in to my brain.
      Thank you very much for visiting, commenting, and co-hosting IWSG Blog-hop.

    1. Hi Bish,
      Thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts. Maybe, by the end of our IWSG Blog-Hop we’ll discover ways to recognize our achievements. I know I’m curious what others do and hope to add a tradition or two. Thank you for co-hosting March’s IWSG Blog-hop.

  2. I find those terms to be vague, too. I think the best advice is to write like we’re experiencing it with the character. Mary tore open the over-ripe Clementine with her teeth and winced at the sour taste. I think that’s show, but I’m not 100% certain.
    Keep writing and worry about the show/tell thing in the edits.
    Mary at Play off the Page

    1. Hi Mary,
      I’m beginning to understand it’s action that’s missing. I agree with your advice, write first, edit second. I’m in the editing phase and was told most of the piece was telling. My challenge de jure is to edit part of scene in Show mode.

      Thank you for your time & sharing your suggestion with me.

  3. The best example I can think of for telling is The Lord of the Rings. In the movies, you are right there with the characters, experiencing what they experience as they do it. In the book, it’s like someone (Tolkien) is sitting around a campfire telling a story that happened long ago. I never saw that when I read the series forty-some years ago. Trying to read it again (as a writer) made me so aware. I know, that’s probably blasphemy to true Tolkien fans. Just try reading a couple of pages and you’ll see. Like most things, I can see faults in other books but not my own. Good luck.

    1. Hi Diane,
      Thanks for the suggestion to look at Lord of the Rings, by Tolkien. After, my research and answers gained from other writers, I’m hopeful I can identify the difference between Tell and Show.
      Thank you for co-hosting and visiting my site. Great advice.

  4. I think your example sentence is fine as a ‘tell’– without context it is hard to say whether you need a show or a tell, because each has its place.

    The word ‘gnarled’ stands out to me: the use of the adjective tells me the hand is somehow important to the narrative, but if so, then it would be impossible to say for sure without context whether the sentence works as it is. I think there are many pitfalls of ‘show’ as well: many a time, a simple ‘tell’ would suffice.

    1. Hi Damyanti, Thank you for commenting on the use of ‘gnarled.’ This writing business has so many twists and turns. Show can be quite windy and drag the scene on forever. So much to learn, so little time. Thank you for co-hosting IWSG and taking time to visit.

    1. Hi Vanessa, Have you come up with a celebration ritual? I’m still challenged to find time to write. Life gets so complicated. Thank you for co-hosting IWSG and taking time to visit.

    1. Hi Alex, One minute I think I “get it” and understand Show; then it slips away again. Oh, the joy of writing. Thank you for visiting and founding IWSG. It’s a terrific band of writers.

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