Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “show versus tell”

Making Feelings Go Away: Undeaditing Advice

TODAY’S BREW: The end of the Coconut Crème. So, run as fast as you can.

By Julie

I’ve been having a blast doing Undeaditing. Reading the works of others is an inspiration in itself, and having the opportunity to take those voices and really exploit them the way the writer wants to do, but needs help with is an amazing feeling. I get grossly enthusiastic about it. There’s a lot of swearing and all caps and all the good kind that make everyone happy.

I’m grateful to be asked for editing advice often, and a friend suggested I start giving some here. Just in casies. So here’s a quickie:

SHOW VERSUS TELL: THE UBER BITCH.

There’s always a way to make your work more visual without describing everything. That’s not exactly what I’m talking about here. This is about your characters, and how you can show me how they feel without telling me how they feel, and not have to revise your entire goddamn book.

The two biggest offenders of telling about feelings in my opinion are it felt like and it seemed like.

It didn’t feel like there were a hundred rain clouds pouring on her; “a hundred rain clouds poured misery on me.” Boom.

It didn’t seem like they never wanted him around; “Every turn of their shoulders when I came near, every dark stare when I opened my mouth told me all I needed to know about how wanted I was.”

Eliminating it felt like and it seemed like from your manuscript is a lot easier than you’d think. Simplify it for yourself. Don’t overthink it. If the sentence is, “It felt like my heart would burst with love for him,” a simple “My heart burst with love for him” will suffice.

And as in writing, also in blogging, conciseness is key today. Now, go my little chickens, and take out a thousand it felt likes and it seemed likes out of your book until you have a CHRIST IS OUR LORD-sized pamphlet left.

 

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