Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tuesday's Inspiration - Anton Chekhov

"Don't tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass." Anton Chekhov.

This was one of the hardest things I've learned. When to show and how to show. It's those little details that make a reader look at the story one is writing and makes them remember. They will often buy other stories. Why is it hard to bring the senses into a story, As children we are told stories and the telling is generally just the facts. Part of the reason is that children's stories are often presented with pictures. This is a form of show. As an author one must take that picture and turn it into words to bring the picture into the reader's mind and imagination.

A writing friend of mine pointed this out in a long ago critique session. I read a scary scene with the villain creeping up on a character. I wrote she heard the sound of footsteps behind her. My friend said "That's okay but better let me hear what she hears. The lines became something like this "The scuff of leather on the sidewalk sent chills along her spine. "Who's there?"

That's the difference and what Anton Chekhov meant. Do you go through your stories when you're editing and look at passages to see where you can show rather than tell?

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