Sunday, June 16, 2013

Show Don't Tell

I recently finished a book about witches but was puzzled why the author defined things like athame and Book of Shadows instead of describing them.  The one thing I did take away from reading the book is that I need to do some research and bring out Kelly's powers more in future stories.  I need to know how to do certain things, like how to do Tarot readings and help her use her newfound witch powers for good.

I also decided that instead of saying "show don't tell" for stories, the new saying is "Describe don't Define."  As a children's author, we are told to not talk down to the readers and I felt like I was being talked down to by this author when she defined things instead of describing them.  I felt like she assumed we were stupid and not knowing of the things associated with witches and that is why she had to define them for us.  I think as a reader, I'm typically going to read things that interest me and that I do know something about or that I may be writing about.

I don't read sci-fi because it doesn't interest me; I'm not big on a romance but if there is romance in the story, I'm not turned off by it; I enjoy things like Suspense, Thrillers, Mysteries, some paranormal and children's genres.  I'm not into werewolves or vampires but enjoy good ghost stories and some witch stories.  If the witch story isn't evil and has an element of what true witches are, I'm okay with it. 

As far as showing goes, you want the reader to picture in their mind exactly what you are describing and how you see the object.  Witches' athames are different as are their familiars and Book of Shadows.  Some witches have psychic powers and some have the ability to read Tarot cards with accuracy.  Research what it is you want to use in your stories and describe for your readers but don't talk down to them. 

Think of a story you've read recently and if the author has described or defined things throughout.  Did you feel talked down to or that you were not knowing of the items in the story?  Did the author do a good job of making you see the objects in your mind?  Do you read a particular author more than others because they use a lot of description in their writings?  Leave a comment with your thoughts on the subject of "Describe don't Define."  -  See you all in the postings - E :)

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