Trust your Readers

As happens every six hours, AM talk radio had begun to depress my mood. There was nothing on FM to sing along with. The silence was too much to bear, considering I’d been alone all day.

A small voice came from the back seat. “Mom, I want to read to you.”

“That would be great! Let’s go.”

A rustling of pages ensued and my 10-year-old daughter started, “The animorphosisms stood before me. Around each one was an extremely disgusting pile of slime.”

“Honey?” I interrupted. “What did the pile of slime look like?”

She thought for a moment and responded, “It was disgusting.”

“Yes, but what color was it? Did it smell? Was it moving? Was it making any sounds?”

“I don’t know. It doesn’t say.” She turned the page forward and back again. “It’s just disgusting…that’s it.”

This reminded me that, in my own writing, I must remember to strive for a “show, don’t tell” process and product. Regardless of the age of the reader, the author must remember that the reader will feel much more satisfied — more fulfilled and willing to keep on reading — if he or she feels a part of the deductions made in every story, every chapter…every paragraph. Don’t tell your readers that something is disgusting. Tell them that the pile of flesh-pink and mold-green, coagulated material moved with sucking waves of nauseating slurp and expelled clouds of stink — stink that could only be duplicated by plunging 3 dozen rotten eggs into a vat of decaying skunk flesh.

creative-writing

Trust your readers and they’ll trust you. Give them the information they need to draw their own conclusions — and if the information is crafted with heart and plenty of thought, their deductions will match your expectations.

Advertisements

Naked Public Recycling Cures Bone Valley Hauntings

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Ghost writing doesn’t haunt its ghost writer. Once a project is finished, it’s sent off with its new owner and the ghost writer can free his or her spirit from the piece. There are no remnants, no bones left behind. If the customer is satisfied, the work is finished. Often, the ghost writer is bound […]

Creative Writing, Made by Hand

This gallery contains 5 photos.

While in the midst of your creative writing, you might find that you’re feeling a little less than ingenious. The screen is blank…or riddled with repetitive, stale concepts. You’re beginning to find yourself growing rigid and pecky, not unlike the machine you use to compose prose that should be fluid and picturesque. I’d like to […]

Your Short Story: Getting There or Getting Where?

Before you start writing your short story, ask yourself, “How does it end?” Sound strange? Imagine this:  You gather your belongings, lock the house, get in the car, start the engine, and…tap the steering wheel with your thumbs, contemplating the fact that you have no place to go. Why would you have gotten into the car […]

Cliche: Plagiarism out on Parole?

Writers create. We struggle to dream what hasn’t yet been dreamed; to fashion something with our brains that is strange and wonderful and utterly fantastic to the senses. It must have never before existed until it was conceived of our minds; birthed by our hands. All that sounds terribly romantic. But occasionally, even the best writer […]

Show Don’t Tell: an Excuse to Stare and Eavesdrop

Your creative writing teacher said, “Show Don’t Tell.” All the advice you’ve read on honing your fiction repeated, “Show Don’t Tell.” And just when you thought you couldn’t stand another piece of advice that you’re helpless to employ, a blog writer writes, “Show Don’t Tell.” I know, I know. What does Show Don’t Tell even mean? […]