Author Topic: Show vs. tell  (Read 23566 times)

Offline KristenH

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Show vs. tell
« on: March 07, 2008, 01:30:49 PM »
Hi everyone. I was wondering if anyone can help me with one of my weaknesses: show vs tell (active vs. passive.) I usually have trouble with some of these red flag words: to be, was/were, that, had, etc. Any ideas on how to make it stronger.

Offline Cole Gibsen

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Re: Show vs. tell
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2008, 02:11:51 PM »
I love this stuff.

Show this senstence: "Amy was cold." I'll help with your answer.
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Offline KristenH

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Re: Show vs. tell
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2008, 02:16:11 PM »
Amy wrapped herself in a blanket or Amy shivered. How's that?

Sometimes I can't find a way in my editing to make it active.

Offline Cole Gibsen

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Re: Show vs. tell
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2008, 02:40:03 PM »
Good. But now bring the reader in and make them cold. For example; Amy might be wrapping herself in a blanket because she's feeling insecure, or she might be shivering because she's scared. But if you write:

Amy tugged the blanket tighter around her, shielding herself from the biting wind.

Here we've established she's cold without saying it or eluding to possible other reasons for her behavior.

I'll leave another. Feel free to join in, anyone. This is one of my favorite games to play when I'm editing work for my critique group.

Brad was a jerk. (tough one-you have to show his personality--not just a feeling)
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face,and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may no spiders fall on your head.

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Offline KristenH

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Re: Show vs. tell
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2008, 03:04:21 PM »
I wish you could help me with my editing as a copyeditor of some sort. Thanks. I'll try.

Offline AmyLee

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Re: Show vs. tell
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2008, 03:12:32 PM »
"Brad, check it out," Tom said, motioning down the hall with his chin.

Brad followed Tom's gaze and saw Amy walking close to the lockers.

"Hey Amz, lookin' good," he said as she walked past.

Amy kept her eyes fixed on her shoe laces and she pulled her cardigan closer to her chest.

"How about a date?" Brad said to her back.

Amy walked faster but she wasn't fast enough to avoid hearing Brad barking at her.  
Looking at the dead bodies sprawled across the ground the Deputy says “It's a mess, aint it?”   The sheriff responds "If it aint, it'll do until the mess gets here."   (Killer dialogue from No Country For Old Men)

Offline EJRuek

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Re: Show vs. tell
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2008, 03:27:55 PM »
Goosebumps razed her flesh as, fingers stiff and clumsy, she peeled sodden shirt and britches off.  Grabbing the afghan from the couch, she wrapped it tight around her.  Across the room, a cold hearth mocked her.

Offline KristenH

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Re: Show vs. tell
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2008, 03:53:34 PM »
Good examples there Amy and EJ.

Offline Cole Gibsen

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Re: Show vs. tell
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2008, 03:54:32 PM »
nice, karma for all
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face,and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may no spiders fall on your head.

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Offline KristenH

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Re: Show vs. tell
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2008, 05:17:08 PM »
Does that include me?

Offline Cole Gibsen

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Re: Show vs. tell
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2008, 05:36:43 PM »
yep :)
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face,and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may no spiders fall on your head.

website: www.colegibsen.com
blog: www.colegibsen.blogspot.com

Offline Alien

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Re: Show vs. tell
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2008, 09:36:07 PM »
Alluding... sorry--it's/its one/won of those "there/they're/their" things that as writers/riders we are/our supposed know/no--even though it can be/bee damn/dam trying at times/thymes. [uh-oh, gave me a "Worst Query" idea]


.....without saying it or eluding....

« Last Edit: March 07, 2008, 10:15:07 PM by Alien »

Offline joanjunkmail

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Re: Show vs. tell
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2008, 10:36:00 PM »
Alluding... sorry--it's/its one/won of those "there/they're/their" things that as writers/riders we are/our supposed know/no--even though it can be/bee damn/dam trying at times/thymes. [uh-oh, gave me a "Worst Query" idea]


.....without saying it or eluding....


oh, alien - THAT DRIVES ME NUTS!  whoever invented the English language is a sadist - one means to hint, the other to evade - how in the world is that supposed to work?!  ack!  ALLUDE - we do it all the time as writers;  ELUDE, we do it all the time as minor criminals (well, some of us, anyway...)
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Offline Cole Gibsen

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Re: Show vs. tell
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2008, 10:57:26 PM »
Hey! You no what, I don't need you're corrections, OK! I no I had it write the first time, but if I were to right it a second time I'm sure it would be know better then the first. Ha!  ;D

 :emb: nice catch alien
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face,and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may no spiders fall on your head.

website: www.colegibsen.com
blog: www.colegibsen.blogspot.com

Offline Alien

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Re: Show vs. tell
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2008, 10:58:53 PM »
Actually the guy that invented the English language wasn’t a sadist. He was a slight man named Elmer who hadn’t been trying to invent a language at all. He was trying to invent gravity, and needed a way to notate his findings in a manner not as light as French—so out of necessity English was born. Heavier than languages of the time, his words didn’t float. It also went well with bangers, knickers, and iced tea. Nobody talks about Elmer anymore. Sad.   


Alluding... sorry--it's/its one/won of those "there/they're/their" things that as writers/riders we are/our supposed know/no--even though it can be/bee damn/dam trying at times/thymes. [uh-oh, gave me a "Worst Query" idea]


.....without saying it or eluding....


oh, alien - THAT DRIVES ME NUTS!  whoever invented the English language is a sadist - one means to hint, the other to evade - how in the world is that supposed to work?!  ack!  ALLUDE - we do it all the time as writers;  ELUDE, we do it all the time as minor criminals (well, some of us, anyway...)