Improving Myself

I’ve been working hard at improving my fiction writing. One thing that all writers will tell you, it seems, is the difference between “showing” and “telling”. I’ve had some help from authors I’m connected to through various internet means (technology is wonderful) and some other less professional places like http://www.reddit.com/r/writing.

Unfortunately improving myself means I have to rewrite almost everything I’ve made in the past, but in a way that is great because if I went back to read that stuff I’d probably be embarrassed about it. Plus, this is a “time sink side hobby” for me, so does it really matter?

I haven’t bothered to bother any real authors to find out if this is a really good example of showing versus telling yet, but I hope I’m on the right track. Let me know what you think.

Telling:

With a single mighty motion the stick rose out of the water and the creature connected to it placed it’s foot between two of the team members with a single stomp. The wave of water soaked all three Wilden and knocked two of them on their backs.

Showing:

A wave rose up from the pond water; overshadowing the group and crashing down on top of them. The three Wilden dug their toes into the dirt and leaned in toward the wave. The water hit their bodies like a tumbling wall of stone; threatening to rip the fur from their bellies and skin from their face. The water pushed Theo back, digging his feet even deeper into the ground, turning his face red and tender, and sapping the energy from his body. He looked to his left and to his right — he was alone.

You’ll notice the showing example is much longer but it should bring the reader into the world more; whereas the telling example just gives you the facts, often “breaks the fifth wall”, and lacks in details. Sometimes those details can be too much though, so it’s a really fine balance.

It took me three days to change that paragraph (a couple hours worth of real, in-seat, work total), but that’s mostly because I really was struggling with it for some reason. Showing a wave form from a pond and impact a group of creatures just really stumped me. I took the part out where the foot impacts the ground. I liked it but I couldn’t’ make it fit. maybe I’ll put it in the story later on.

Let me know what you think – good or bad. If you have any additional insight too I’d love to read it.

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