Tell, Don't Show
by Sandy Tritt
The first rule of writing is show, don't tell. But let's
face it -- if we showed everything, our novels would run tens of thousands
of pages -- and readers would die of exhaustion. So what do we do? We must
decide what information the reader needs. Just because we know everything
about our characters and just because we spent weeks researching, it isn't
necessary to share all this with our reader. We must choose only the
details we need to authenticate our story and omit everything else.
NARRATIVE is telling what
happens. This is useful when the acting out of the story (by dialogue and
action) does nothing to further our understanding of the characters and
isn't important enough to give all the details.
EXPOSITION is explaining
why something happened or gives background information.
One of the most difficult and most crucial elements in
story-telling is knowing when to give the play-by-play action and when to
back off and summarize. Play with this. If a scene doesn't hold your
interest, maybe it is better to summarize it in a sentence or two and go
on to something more important. However, if it is a pivotal scene in the
plot or critical to our understanding how our character reacts in a given
situation, go for it. Give us action, give us dialogue, and let us
experience and savor every single moment of it.
(c) copyright 1999 by Sandy Tritt. All rights reserved,
except for those listed here. May be reproduced for educational purposes
(such as for writer's workshops), as long as this copyright notice and the
url: http://tritt.wirefire.com are distributed with the pages. For use in
conferences or other uses not mentioned here, please contact Sandy Tritt
for permission and additional resources at no or limited charge.
- First ten pages free, and, for a limited time, all additional pages at
$2.75 per page (regular price, $3.50 per page). Just mention Publishing
New Writers Newsletter (May, 2002).
- Critiques by Sandy Tritt
- Unlike most editors, I consider my role to be a mentor or a coach.
Instead of just telling you what is wrong, I explain how to correct the
problem, and I work with you to teach you how to write effective prose.
More than 50% of my business is repeat business, and I relish
establishing long-term relationships with other writers.
- Treat you with respect and compassion. All criticism will be of the
"constructive" sort. My purpose is to improve your writing, not to
destroy your confidence.
- Mark your manuscript, correcting grammatical and spelling errors and
suggesting alternative wording where appropriate, line-by-line.
- Highlight areas that are especially well-written, so you will know
where your strengths are.
- Where appropriate, offer suggestions for plot development, character
development or other areas that could be strengthened.
- Return a two-to-four page written analysis of your work. This will
include evaluation of: plot, setting, characterization, dialogue,
special effects (flash forwards, flashbacks, etc.), voice, point of view
and any other areas particular to your work.
- If appropriate, recommend reading or resources to strengthen your
areas of weakness.
- Answer any questions you may have via email.
- Provide my telephone number for a personal follow-up, if you desire.
For Sandy's success stories, see
Write Sandy at firstname.lastname@example.org
(See Sandy's article above.)
Lynette's creative Writing Website
(type both lines in one)
Go Back in Time!...
our new all - immersion Life of Jesus (Part 1) from David C. Cook
III. You'll become a true believer. Visit...
is dedicated to the memory of David C. Cook III.
This Just In – From Paul the Apostle
By Kurt Schuller
inspired work recreating
New - AuthorMe
This month we launched a new service in
reader feedback - an opinion survey.
Those authors willing to share the cost
can arrange for readers to comment on
opening, language, plot,
conclusion, credibility, unity, detail,
balance, and strong and weak points of
When you purchase an AuthorMe writer
survey for your manuscript, we place a
link to the survey above the text. We
then provide a private,
password protected link enabling you see
view survey results - a summary as well
as individual responses (including
email addresses of respondents who are
willing to enter that information.)
I remain thoroughly pleased about the feedback/kudos I received from a cross section of your
readers who read "Spring Fever."
Surprised “Spring Fever” had
that effect on those outside of my circle of friends who tend to like
everything I write, though they do give me honest feedback, etc.
Your survey gave me more insight of how others outside my circle of
friends perceive my work and in what areas I need improvement, all of
which will help me to continue to polish my writing. The survey: AN
INVALUABLE SERVICE and USEFUL TOOL FOR ANY WRITER!
Writing is a Stress Reliever
By Sean Nugent
Medical studies show that 70 percent of illness is emotionally induced.
We as humans have a tendency to push ourselves to the outer limits of our
physical and mental capabilities. I have found that we also allow stress
and emotions to build up to the point we burst like a jack-n-the-box
consuming us, weakening and making us more susceptible to illness.
But there is a way to relieve and reduce that stress, increasing your
health and making you less likely to get sick.
Many people have asked me "Sean, how can I relieve and reduce my
emotional stress so it doesn't consume me." The answer is simple:
write poetry or make a journal; the simple act of writing is the miracle
drug for stress. By writing we allow that emotional stress to flow, reducing the
pressure that it puts on your heart and mind.
Poetry is the heart's blood flow of emotions upon a canvas of white
creating a masterpiece of art; it is the freeing of one's soul from the
emotions that consume the mind in every day life. It is the writing of
thoughts unto paper in verse that releases the pressures of the world and
puts to ease your mind with the gentle breeze of Mother Nature's breath.
A journal is the same as poetry except it is the free flow of thought
in no order or sequence. A journal is meant for your eyes only and lets
you feel freer to write without holding back and worrying about rhyming
Both help to release and relieve the stress built up in your life. They
each are a unique way of expressing your emotions and feelings so that
they don't stay inside and consume your mind.
The simple fact is someone who writes a journal is more likely to be
happy, and someone who writes a poem is more likely to see the world in a
different light. Someone who does both is less likely to be sick and more
likely to live a near stress free life. For writing is a stress reliever
and happiness maker.
Sean is a college freshman who loves to write
This is Dianne Ochiltree's
site for children, parents,
teachers and writers for
young readers. Dianne is an
author of books for young
readers (birth to teenage)
and she is also a children's
book reviewer. She's been
writing professionally for
over 25 years---about 18
years in public
and the last 7 years as a
children's writer. Dianne
has two books published to
date, with Scholastic and
with Simon & Schuster.
http://tritt.wirefire.com The Inspiration for Writers website offers help and encouragement to writers of all levels. Tips and Techniques give practical advice about frequent writing blunders. The Writer's Prayer, inspirational quotes, and essays about the writing life add insight and inspiration. The Fiction Showcase offers short stories for the reader's enjoyment. And, for those serious about improving their writing skills, manuscript critiques and coaching services are available. Visit http://tritt.wirefire.com today!
Writer Promote Thyself
by Lynette Rees
Okay so you’ve written a couple of poems, articles or short stories.
You may even have had them published somewhere on the Net or in print.
Have you just left it at that and hoped that your work will ‘just speak
for itself’? There are ways to gain shameless promotion at little or no
cost to yourself.
• Set up your own website
can pay to have your own domain name if you like e.g.: “Lynettescreativewriting.com”,
or you could do as I have and set up my own free website. There are
quite a few sites that offer you the chance to do this with no charge.
With some of them you don’t even have to have any knowledge of html
programming, it’s all done for you. You could set up a simple one like
I have to promote my published work. I use this one to send the url to
editors when I submit an article for publication, so that they can view
my online clips:
could even set up your own creative writing site, which would be
especially helpful if you haven’t had anything published as yet. Who
said you can’t publish your own work? You would then have the advantage
of being able to include the url when submitting work online to
editors. If you’re feeling really ambitious you could send out a
regular newsletter to tell friends and family what’s new at your site
e.g.: This month’s short story, article, poem etc. Here’s an example:
only draw back to this sort of a site is that you have no control over
the advertising displayed there. Putting up with a banner that reads:
“7 days of great sex” at ivillage.com is worth it to have a free website
of your own!
Where can I find these free places to set up my own simple site?
Here are three places I know of that are easy to use. There are
probably many more. The only requirement that I’m aware of is that you
sign yourself up as a member first:
• Create a signature for yourself
Most e-mail programs like Outlook Express, Yahoo and MSN have a facility
that enables you to do this. I usually have a signature that gives me
the opportunity to provide a link to my latest article. I frequently
change my signature for any new work I’ve had published, e.g. I may
change my signature weekly: from a short story I’ve had published
online, to an article at another site, to a creative writing class I’m
• Join an online writers’ support group
belong to an online yahoo writers’ group that's made up of over 1,000
writing mothers like myself. Some are stay at home mothers, others work
full or part-time, some are authors and a few are editors of print
magazines and websites. This can be a good opportunity to promote our
work. Whenever we have something published we announce it by e-mail to
the entire list, to give the other members a chance to read our article,
story or poem. There are many creative writing lists at Yahoo, check
alternatively you could join an online newsgroup such as:
as you can see, there are ways to promote your writing. May be you
won’t be the next Stephen King or Jackie Collins, but at least your
writing will get noticed and more importantly someone will read it!
Read... Two-bit Dancing
Life's an onion. Not a new concept—Usually, what we reveal to others
about ourselves adds flavor, distinction…making us appear just a bit more
exciting. Assume for a moment, that someone is peeling your life apart,
onion layer by onion layer. Are you still adding flavor? Distinction? Is
at the heart of the onion really a heart? Is it, then, the onion crying —
or the one who’s peeling…?
Angela Louie, mother of a teenager and a disabled child, is entering a
fine hotel while fidgeting with the business card of an escort service —
lapse of common sense? Hanson Lee Ascano is a computer genius working for
a prestigious firm — he also dances in an exotic night club a few nights
each week. Tom Lawson is taking on what should be a routine investigation
to reunite a parent with his children — instead, it rouses monsters.
For more info, visit... http://www.twobitdancing.com/
About the Author
Evelyn Schneider was born and raised in Germany. She has written
"almost anything from plant-care tags to television sitcoms." She lives in
San Diego, California.
She says, Two-bit Dancing was inspired by a television talk show, and
laughs. Then, serious: "The true inspiration came many years ago while
visiting a police fair. I was a teenager then and should have been
impressed by the latest crime-fighting technology. But what remained in my
soul where the images of cubicles upon cubicles filled with photographs of
children -- not victims of some far-away war but sons and daughters of
modern families: burnt, starved, locked away.