Do you struggle with showing the reader how a character reacts? Does your crit partner tell you that you need to show more? Have you heard enough about showing yet?
Well, listen to this...
After all these years of history, you;d think men and women could get along better. But I am here to say that men and women are still completely different and want different things. For the most part...
Now, women show too. There is love in everything we do, right? Except maybe dusting. I hate dusting. Sorry, back to topic. Women are expressers of feelings. We like to talk. Talk about our day, talk with our friends, talk about our kids, talk, talk, talk. For women, getting out the words is cathartic and most of the time all we need is a listening ear. And a "you go girl!"
Men show. They take pride in showing their stuff. See my house? See my woman? See what I can do? No need to talk, just do. If there's a problem, they fix it. When men get together, action is happening. Simple. And a punch in the arm.
So, how does this apply to writing?
When you think about it, we are telling a story. Using words is telling. Once upon a time there was an MC, this happened, then this happened, the MC solved the problem and everyone was happy. But as a writer, we are trying to do more than just tell, we want to show the movie we see in our heads. We want the reader to enter our imaginary world.
Writing a book is a beautiful marriage of showing and telling. Using the right words to express action and emotion.
Here is an example...
Steve walked to the corner market and was surprised by the long line.
Steve had his hands in his pockets and was mad he had to go to the corner market. Not watching where he was going, he almost ran into a lady standing in a surprisingly long line outside.
Spicing up the telling and showing with a touch of feeling:
With his hands in his pockets, Steve kicked the dirt on his way to the corner market. Why do I always have to run these stupid errands?
Lifting his head, he stopped short just before bumping into a lady and took a few steps back to gawk at the long line extending into the parking lot.
Here is how I try to spice things up. When a character says or does something:
- how do they feel about it? you can use a thesaurus and find many lovely terms for feelings, but wait!
- now ask, how do they look when they feel that way?
- and if you can't picture it, act it out! how would you react? Get a mirror. Describe what you see.
- give a character a quirk - always rubs his chin while he thinks, tugs on her ear when she lies, etc
- and dialog is an easy way to show how a character reacts or feels, use it!
If you have more advice, please share! Any links? I'll take 'em and post 'em! It's give and take Thursday.
PS - I analogized marriage because today is my hub & my 15th anniversary. Love you, honey!