You have been spending way too much time with
WAS. You thought he WAS your friend, your mate, your
amigo. You WERE wrong. He WAS a bad influence. He WAS TELLING your story. Was, Were, Is, Are, and To Be express a state
of being. They TELL what something, or someone, IS. They don’t SHOW what is happening.
They are dull, boring, overused, lazy, and—from
this day forth—dead to you.
They are like Zombies. They will
rise from the dead, infiltrating your document, the moment you relax your guard.
This calls for guerilla warfare. It is time to wage war on WAS, and his buddies
WERE, IS, ARE, and TO BE. It is time to eradicate them from your
vocabulary. Kill them. Or, at least lock them up, in a deep dark
dungeon, and throw away the key.
Your mission is to search your current WIP
(work in progress), find WAS, and eliminate as many as possible. Then do the
same with WERE, ARE, IS, and other TO BE verbs.
Instead of TELLING: He WAS tall. SHOW: Andre instinctively ducked every time he
walked under a…
us your characters are watching what is happening around them.
a spectator sport. Watching,
looking, seeing, staring, glaring, in any form, instead of participating in
what is happening, is TELLING. TELLING is
sidelining your characters. They aren’t
in the stands watching what is happening on the field. They are on the field,
playing the game, participating in what is happening. Don’t TELL
us they are watching. SHOW them participating. If they are
playing the game, they should keep their eye on the ball. That doesn’t
mean you need to TELL us they are keeping their eye on the ball. It doesn’t
mean you need to TELL us they are watching the ball. Just SHOW
what the ball is doing, and what the character does when they see the ball. Instead of
TELLING: The batter
watched the ball coming straight at his face. SHOW: The batter
ducked, avoiding the fastball aimed directly at his face. SHOW the
action. SHOW the conflict.
drama. Did the