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About Writing Life book

General, open discussion regarding writing, getting published, markets, pointers, and other related topics. All are welcome! No advertising, please!

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DustBSH
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About Writing Life book

Postby DustBSH » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:02 am

I am enjoying the book "Writing Life" which came as a perk since I became a goldmember.
It's an excellent book. I just had a question about something and was wondering if someone could clarify this.
The book rightly addresses the common mistakes in telling a story rather then showing it to the reader. It is clear that writing something like "Susy was happy" is not nearly as efficient as describing the scene.
However in short articles this would be more difficult. For example if you have to write an article of about 600 words and want to get a whole story in, how could you afford to use of most of your space describing? Or is this more something you do when writing a longer story?
I suppose the answer has to do with a carefully planned balance, but I am interested to hear from somebody about this.
Kind regards

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Come forth
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Re: About Writing Life book

Postby Come forth » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:24 pm

Hi and a good question.

For me, and I stress for me, you can't fit an entire story in 600 words; I'm so wordy that it would be entitled 'Mission impossible'. I can't fit an entire story in the Challenge limit of 750 words either; but this has been a brilliant training ground for me. It has taught me to focus.

I zoom in on the story I want to tell and pick out the part that is the most important and has the most impact. Then I focus on telling just that part of the story, believing it is far better to show that part in the best way I can than to cram the article with heaps of boring telling. What happens is then quite interesting.

As I tell just that small part of the story, it takes on a life of its own and becomes a story in its own right; but one that is shown rather than told.

Again for me, it's all about narrowing my view and telling a smaller story. After all, large stories, even huge novels, are only many small stories linked together.

Hope this helps.

Blessings, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

DustBSH
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Re: About Writing Life book

Postby DustBSH » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:09 am

Thanks for taking the time Graham.
Makes sense.
Kind regards

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WriterFearNot
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Re: About Writing Life book

Postby WriterFearNot » Fri Apr 25, 2014 5:52 pm

@ Come Forth, I love the way you explained your process. I believe my process is much the same, only I don't think I could have expressed it that well.

@DustBSH, I agree with Come Forth, that what you do is start with your original draft, and you zoom in on the story...narrowing your view and telling a smaller story. It's not easy, but it gets to be less difficult over time, with practice. Draft after draft, your article or story will become shorter and have less telling as you keep running through it with edits.

I'd also like to say that "showing" doesn't necessarily have to take up more word count than telling. Using your example above, "Susy laughed" or "Susy smiled" takes up less word count than "Susy was happy."

Theresa

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RachelM
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Re: About Writing Life book

Postby RachelM » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:07 pm

Great points Graham and Theresa! I really like the image of zooming in on a particular part of a story.

Also, I don't think that we need to describe everything. If I were to describe my main character, I wouldn't give a list of hair colour and style of clothing, but zeroing in on one point can help the reader to visualize the character: maybe the way she keeps licking her lips or avoids making eye-contact, or I might focus on her sequined jeans.
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WriterFearNot
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Re: About Writing Life book

Postby WriterFearNot » Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:59 pm

Oh my goodness Rachel, now I'm interested in your hypothetical character. Why is she avoiding eye contact and licking her lips. Feeling guilty about something? And what is up with those jeans!

:lol:

Well said!

Theresa

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Re: About Writing Life book

Postby RachelM » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:47 pm

Haha! I don't know any more about my character than you. But now I'm curious too. :D Maybe she'll stick around long enough to end up in a story.
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DustBSH
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Re: About Writing Life book

Postby DustBSH » Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:54 am

Ha that is funny indeed.
I do like the idea of zeroing in on a part of the story.


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