Sunday, January 16, 2011

What I Learned Today

Writing is like playing Pictionary: You may be tempted to just tell the reader something outright, but that would be like just blurting out the word you are supposed to be drawing. It's cheating and it takes all the fun out of it. Instead, your job is to make the reader think of the same thing you are thinking of, by drawing the most concise sketch you can (in scenes that use characters' actions and dialogue to get across what you want to say.) Today I worked on converting a bunch of "telling" to "showing" in my novel, turning a bunch of cheating into actual Pictionary. It was a lot of fun. (And it also helped me understand why some great writers are not necessarily great storytellers, why some people who can craft beautiful prose can not necessarily tell stories that grab me-- and, conversely, why some people whose writing isn't "perfect" can suck me into their stories instantly. The great artists aren't always the one's who win at Pictionary. Sometimes it's the clever stick-figure that gets the image across efficiently, and that's what wins the game.)

cross posted with "Children of the Night"

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