Tuesday, October 6, 2015


When I was doing the first self-edits to Bryony, I often read the following advice: show, don't tell; more verbs, less adverbs and adjectives.

I've since learned that good stories have a good balance of show and tell, and that sometimes well-placed adjectives and adverbs prevent clumsy construction.


In so many cases, an emphasis on "show" and "verbs" creates more vivid scenes than "tell" and "adjectives." Even when telling, a "showy" tell does a better job of telling than plain old telling.

I'm relearning the value of voice.

In an excerpt from Before the Blood I'd read to WriteOn Joliet a few weeks ago, one person wanted more character description. The basic physical characteristics were present in a previous chapter; reiterating them seemed redundant. I added them, I took many of them back out.

But she was correct in that the secondary characters in that chapter didn't have enough substance to them. The answer, I'm finding, is not in more description, but in action that shows the description and in fine-tuning their distinct voices.

I believe that if the author strips away everything but a quote, that voice should be so crisp, a reader will immdiately know who said it because it will "sound" like the character.

Certainly this is harder than tacking on some adjectives.

So guess what I was doing last weekend?

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