Mar. 12 Writing Prompt

As another week draws to a close, we continue our look at breaking writing rules.

We have one final “rule” to look at today and it is a big one. I am sure you have heard the phrase “show don’t tell?”

This is one of the biggest writing rules out there and apparently, if you do not follow it, you are doomed.

Now, here I am telling you to go and break it. But I don’t want you to just bend it a little until it cracks. I want you to snap that bitch in half and splinter the shards.

If you are going to break the rule, you first need to understand it, right?

The phrase basically means to use fluff and filler. You want to describe the things the reader should see instead of flat out stating what it is.

For a small example, you don’t just say “Becky sat on her couch. The couch was fluffy and gold in color.”

Instead, you want to write something like, “Becky plopped down on the goldenrod sofa, the cushions billowing around her, absorbing her into their soft embrace as she sank into their depths.”

Fluffy Comfy Couch
Telling me there is a big fluffy couch and showing me how fluffy it is are two different things.

A more common example, is a possible quote from Anton Chekhov. He supposedly said “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

I like this rule. If followed correctly, you definitely turn the movie projector on in the readers mind. You can show them exactly what you want them to see and get to a larger word count in the process.

However, if you get carried away, you can quickly go from showing to writing prose and poetic lines. This, as you know by know, is something I hate. If you do not agree with my, that is fine. You are entitled to your wrong opinion.

The point it, though, that showing instead of telling is a great way to engage your reader, pad your word count and offer a real and inviting world.

If you want to harness this power for good, though, you need to learn to write without it.

And that brings us to today’s writing prompt.

March 12

Create an entire scene without using any showing elements. Tell only.

This prompt may be more challenging than you think. If you are accustomed to writing with flowery words and describing scenes, you will find this more difficult.

Facts only. No fluff. No filler. Just write what we see (or should see) and give us, as your readers, enough to go on without being superfluous.

Think you can manage that?

After you complete your scene, post it in the comment section below and let us see your mastery of the telling world.

As you know, you can’t be great at part two, if you haven’t mastered part 1.

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