Even with a few books under my belt, I still struggle with showing versus telling, especially in beginning drafts.
So I bought Show & Tell In A Nutshell by Jessica Bell. I'm a huge fan of books that show concrete examples. I like to see how something is done. And Jessica's entire book is just that--tons of examples.
Here's one example from the book:
My mother got drunk again last night and passed out on the sofa. She looks like a disgusting street bum and the house smells like vomit and cigarettes. (telling)
I watch a glob of drool vibrate in the corner of my mother’s mouth with every breath of air that struggles through her sticky cracked lips. Strands of stiff bleach-blonde hair, clumped together and matted below her ear, look petrified with dried vomit. Her fingers twitch. She has two black nails from when she jammed them in the hinge of the alcohol cabinet door. She groans. One eye opens. A vibrant crystal blue bordered with a yellowy, bloodshot white. (showing)
See the difference? If you want actual examples in a workbook type format, then this book is for you.
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Not only is this pocket guide an excellent learning tool for aspiring writers, but it is a light, convenient, and easy solution to honing your craft no matter how broad your writing experience. Keep it in the side pocket of your school bag, throw it in your purse, or even carry it around in the pocket of your jeans or jacket, to enhance your skills, keep notes, and jot down story ideas, anywhere, anytime.
Purchase the paperback:
$4.40 on Amazon US
£3.99 on Amazon UK
Purchase the e-book:
$1.99 on Amazon US
£1.99 on Amazon UK
$1.99 on Kobo
About the Author:
The Australian-native contemporary fiction author and poet, Jessica Bell, also makes a living as an editor and writer for global ELT publishers (English Language Teaching), such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.
She is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and co-hosts the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek Isle of Ithaca, with Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest.
For more information about Jessica Bell, please visit:
I love Jessica (and her writing too). Even more fun is that I know the book and passage that example comes from.
Awesome. What I love finding are example of great telling because when I read a published book there's a lot more of it than aspiring writer's think. The key is knowing when and how to use it telling vs showing. One thing, I'll be constantly learning!
Too true, Laura!
Matt,high five for Jessica!
You. Are. Awesome. :-) Thank you! Laura, you are so very right. I state this exact fact in the intro of this book, too. Matt=(HUGS)
I enjoyed Jessica's book, too. It worked well with another book I have. They complimented each other perfectly. :)
Jessica is the smartest, and this topic is certainly one that I have lots to learn about.
And you have once again led me to a book I must buy! I totally agree with actually seeing examples. I need that too--especially with a topic such as this! Thanks!
Showing instead of telling would definitely be what I would struggle with when writing a book. It's still on my life list to do that at some point, but I think I have a long way to go before I feel ready to tackle that. At this point, I'm just happy to have re-started regular blog posting.
ooo that is so good! i am going to focus on that in my next edit round!
i will have to get that book!
I've heard such great things about this book. I need to get it. Thanks for reminding me.
Great stuff. I am guilty of rushing into scenes by telling. Must. slow. down.
Books like these with concrete examples are SO MUCH help! Jessica is a wonder!! :)
This book is made of complete awesomeness! The writer, too. LOL Jessica is such a sweet and talented soul. So happy for her! Great resource.
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