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STOP TELLING. START SHOWING: 102

STOP TELLING us your characters are watching what is happening around them.

Watching is a spectator sport.
Watching, looking, seeing, staring, glaring, in any form, instead of participating in what is happening, is TELLING.
TELLING is BORING.
Stop 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.
SHOW the drama.
Did the pitcher inte…

STOP TELLNG. START SHOWING: 101

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…

The Music of Writing

When I’m in the zone, I listen to extremely loud music. 


For me, music is the language of the soul, the language of love, the language of writing. 


I translate the notes—I can’t read—into words that dance onto the screen as my fingers dance across the keyboard. 


Listening to playlist with lyrics interferes with the flow of words twirling around inside my head like F-4 twisters.


When I edit, I need a cone of silence. 


When I’m writing, I listen to classical music, orchestra music, and movie soundtracks. 


I need the pounding end credits from The Chronicles of Riddick, the eerie repetition of the theme from Terminator, the rushing sound, like waterfalls, of The Last of the Mohicans.

I love the epic music ofAudiomachine. audiomachine.com

Rhythm helps keep the action moving in my stories.


It’s hard to get bogged down, in long winded exposition, when you’re typing to the beat of battle, the symphony of ecstasy, the crescendo of crisis. 


I sit in my recliner, computer on my lap desk, noise reducing he…