Showing & Telling: Learn How to Show & When to Tell for Powerful & Balanced Writing

Overview


Write vibrant scenes and essential summaries

"Show—don't tell." How many times have you heard this standard bit of writing advice? It's so common in writing courses and critiques that it has become a cliche. Writers are often told to write scenes, dramatize, cut exposition, cut summary—but it's misguided advice. The truth is good writing almost always requires both showing and telling. The trick is finding the right balance of scene and summary—the two basic components of ...

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Showing & Telling: Learn How to Show & When to Tell for Powerful & Balanced Writing

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Overview


Write vibrant scenes and essential summaries

"Show—don't tell." How many times have you heard this standard bit of writing advice? It's so common in writing courses and critiques that it has become a cliche. Writers are often told to write scenes, dramatize, cut exposition, cut summary—but it's misguided advice. The truth is good writing almost always requires both showing and telling. The trick is finding the right balance of scene and summary—the two basic components of creative prose.

Showing and Telling shows you how to employ each of these essential techniques in the appropriate places within a narrative. You'll learn how to:

  • Write scenes and cut exposition
  • Compress time and summarize background information
  • Create graceful transitions
  • Effectively inject interpretation
  • And more!
Complete with examples from bestsellers and interactive exercises, this comprehensive guide offers an in-depth look at scene development, the role of reflection in storytelling, the art of summarizing, and how to bring it all together.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582977058
  • Publisher: F+W Media
  • Publication date: 5/5/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 666,988
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurie Alberts is the author of 6 books including 3 novels: The Price of Land in Shelby, Lost Daughters and Tempting Fate. She has won several awards, including a Jame Michener Award. She teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Section 1 Making Vibrant Scenes

Chapter 1 The Purposes of Scenes 8

Chapter 2 Types of Scenes 12

Chapter 3 Scene Structure 34

Chapter 4 Tools of the Scene Trade 40

Chapter 5 The Sins of Scenes 87

Scene Exercises 92

Section 2 Creating Essential Summaries

Chapter 6 The Uses of Summary 96

Chapter 7 Reflection 125

Chapter 8 More Tools of the Summary Trade 141

Chapter 9 The Sins of Summary 155

Summary Exercises 161

Section 3 Combining Scene and Summary

Chapter 10 Using Summary to Set Up Scenes 164

Chapter 11 Inserting Summary in the Midst of Scenes 173

Chapter 12 Inserting Scene in the Midst of Summary 178

Chapter 13 Scene, Summary, and Pace 181

Chapter 14 Following a Scene With Reflective Summary 188

Chapter 15 Balancing Scene and Summary 188

Chapter 16 Transitions 194

Chapter 17 Beginnings and Endings 199

Scene and Summary Exercises 210

Appendix A (Story Sample): "Russia Is a Fish" 211

Works Cited 243

Index 246

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 28, 2011

    Not what I'd hoped

    To say that this book is not recommended is not to say that it was of no use at all. I did find some small bits hidden away here and there that I do not doubt may help my writing. Though a writer must be aware of the hubris of thinking himself a know-it-all, still I thought some of the information obvious.
    Also, the author uses a lot of scenes from short stories/novels as examples of whatever topic she is on at that moment. The problem is that she tends to either exaggerate the value of the information given (several times she claims the slightest oddities mark someone a candidate for the loony bin), or claim the scene shows the reader details about story or character, but are actually details that could go a good many places, and which she has only because she read the entire story or novel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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