How do you show and not tell in your writing? - Page 3


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Thread: How do you show and not tell in your writing?

  1. #21
    In order to show you need emotion, action, or movement. You have none of that.
    You could rewrite it and show his head in his hands for ‘whoa is me,’ or reflecting on drinking with his friends instead of studying. You have a lot of filler words and some tense issues to resolve. In your rewrite show him angry, sad, dejected or busy trying to correct his errors. Also write enough to be able to cut half of it away as even the great writers have to cut away the chaff.



    Before I knew it, my college days were coming to an ending

    The world around me started to became more and more fast paced

    I had completely overlooked

    experience I needed in order to enter the workforce after graduation.

    Once I graduated, I had nothing to show but a piece of paper....Upon graduation, I would have nothing to show but a piece of paper...

    did not possess the years of experience that companies had come to expected.

    I started to lose lost faith in myself and in the American Dream.

  2. #22
    Before I knew it, my college days were coming to an end and the reality of growing up really started to creep up. Sadly, for me, college came and went just like that. The world around me started to become more and more fast paced and I wasn’t ready to handle what was coming. Because of my irresponsibility and laziness, I had completely overlooked the importance of internships and getting the crucial work experience I needed in order to enter the workforce after graduation. Once I graduated, I had nothing to show but a piece of paper that cost me thousands of dollars. I was a B average student and when it was my time to enter the workforce, it was 2012 and during the height of the financial crisis. Jobs were scarce and this was even more true for recent college graduates who did not possess the years of experience that companies had come to expect. Months went by and I still had no luck in securing a job. The worst part of my job search was that it took months before I even got an interview. I applied to jobs after jobs and not once did I hear back from any of those companies. I started to lose faith in myself and in the American Dream.
    The biggest problem with this isn't the writing but that it reads like a summary. Pretty much every sentence here raises more questions than it answers.

  3. #23
    First thing that came to my mind was a job interview scene. Should be easy enough to sprinkle in the financial crash and the competitive job market in the questions that they are asking, while showing the protagonist's growing doubts in her answers and her thoughts.

  4. #24
    WF Veteran Tettsuo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    The biggest problem with this isn't the writing but that it reads like a summary. Pretty much every sentence here raises more questions than it answers.
    If it reads like a summary, wouldn't that actually make the problem the writing?

    The paragraph can certainly be made more powerful and remain all telling. IMO, there's so little heartfelt emotion, that's the problem I see. With more of that, the telling paragraph could be a more meaningful read without showing much of anything.
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  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Tettsuo View Post
    If it reads like a summary, wouldn't that actually make the problem the writing?

    The paragraph can certainly be made more powerful and remain all telling. IMO, there's so little heartfelt emotion, that's the problem I see. With more of that, the telling paragraph could be a more meaningful read without showing much of anything.
    No, because depending on what the author is shooting for a summary may be what is needed. A lot of good books have similar writing to this. From Great Gatsby...

    My family have been prominent, well-to-do people in this middle-western city for three generations. The Carraways are something of a clan and we have a tradition that we're descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather's brother who came here in fifty-one, sent a substitute to the Civil War and started the wholesale hardware business that my father carries on today.


    The problem for the OP is you can’t really write an entire book in this disconnected manner - at least not nowadays. So it’s not the writing that’s a problem, it’s that the writing doesn’t feel fictional.

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by darrenptran View Post
    I am having the hardest time showing and telling in my writing. Can someone rewrite the paragraph below and demonstrate how to write by showing not telling?


    Before I knew it, my college days were coming to an end and the reality of growing up really started to creep up. Sadly, for me, college came and went just like that. The world around me started to become more and more fast paced and I wasn’t ready to handle what was coming. Because of my irresponsibility and laziness, I had completely overlooked the importance of internships and getting the crucial work experience I needed in order to enter the workforce after graduation. Once I graduated, I had nothing to show but a piece of paper that cost me thousands of dollars. I was a B average student and when it was my time to enter the workforce, it was 2012 and during the height of the financial crisis. Jobs were scarce and this was even more true for recent college graduates who did not possess the years of experience that companies had come to expect. Months went by and I still had no luck in securing a job. The worst part of my job search was that it took months before I even got an interview. I applied to jobs after jobs and not once did I hear back from any of those companies. I started to lose faith in myself and in the American Dream.
    No, I can't rewrite this as 'showing' because you've used 'telling' to summarize a lot of material. I would be writing far more than a paragraph. (and I won't do your homework for you anyway )

    So instead, look at the first line as-is (telling):

    "Before I knew it, my college days were coming to an end and the reality of growing up really started to creep up."

    Now, just this bit written to show instead (disclaimer: this one example is not the only way to write it):

    "Thanks anyway," boneless with discouragement I clicked off the call, back literally against the wall. Graduation day was circled in red on the calendar masking-taped to the opposite wall and I had also written, "Yipee!" Obviously this was from the beginning of the year, not now. Not when I'd been turned down after the latest hard-won job interview. An acrid scent of burning had me off the wall and running to the kitchen but the ramen noodles were blackened and stuck to the pot. Cooking could have been a metaphor for job hunting and for my GPA.

    ****
    Showing with writing puts you in the moment, leads you through details that you would sense if you were there like taste, smell, sight, touch, sound, and often a sense of unease or uncertainty.

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