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594 Posts tagged with the self_publishing tag
2

I read my novels out loud as I write them. I am normally a very reserved person, but when I'm reading dialogue or particularly emotional prose, I let loose and zero in on the moment. It's actually quite liberating. It's kind of like a mental massage. Beyond that, here are three reasons you should be reading your work out loud:

 

  1. Consistent tone: Reading your book out loud as you write can help you establish a consistent tone throughout the book. Unintentionally switching tones can take a reader out of the story and cause them to eventually give up on your book. Hearing yourself give voice to the story keeps you on track.
  2. Connection to characters: Alone, in the privacy of our writing space, we are all actors at heart. We hear the voices of our characters clearly in our heads. When we are far from the shackles of inhibition, we read their dialogue out loud, and we feel the emotions our characters are feeling on a much deeper level. We connect with the story like never before. In a sense, we are living the story out loud. I find it very powerful.
  3. Effective editing: Reading your book out loud is a great self-editing tool. Editing your own work is hard because you know the story. There is a tendency to unintentionally gloss over mistakes because, in your mind, you've been there before. You know how the story goes. You just zone out. That’s okay. It's human nature. Reading a story out loud helps you zone in on those mistakes because they will very likely trip you up.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Keeping a Consistent Tone

Reading Out Loud

907 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, editing, writing, tone, characterization
0

Every day?

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 16, 2017

 

I'm about to give you advice that will blow your mind. I guarantee I will make some writing gurus and experts mad with what I'm about to suggest. This is about as controversial as you can get when handing out advice on writing. When this blog is posted, I'll make a concerted effort to stay off Twitter to avoid the barbs and figurative arrows.

 

Are you ready for this? OK, here we go. Don't write every day. What? Am I crazy? Have I sold my soul to the bad-writing cabal? How can I say such a thing?

 

I should add, "if you don't want to." Let me be clear, I don't think writing every day is a bad thing. I think it's great for those writers who flourish under that kind of strategy. I simply want to point out that it's not the only strategy. Some authors take breaks between writing sessions. Some of those breaks can last for weeks or longer.

 

My point is if writing every day isn't your style, don't force yourself to do it. There' nothing less productive than trying to write when you're just not feeling it. It has the potential to do more harm than good. It can ding your confidence each time you sit at a computer unable to find the inspiration to write. It's okay to wait for the inspiration to hit you before you write.

 

We are individuals. We have different approaches to writing. Don't feel obligated to adapt to anyone else's writing schedule. Find what works for you, and leave the guilt behind.

 

-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Should You Write Daily to Write Well?

 

My Writing Rules, Which You are Free to Ignore

370 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, writing_strategies
0

Have you ever wondered about the best time of day to write? Can something like that even be determined? After all, everyone is different. Some of us are more productive in the morning. While some of us are more productive in the evening. Still, can a scientific study reveal the best time to write? The answer is, sort of.


According to researchers Mareike B. Wieth and Rose T. Zacks, there are times of day when an individual is better at problem solving. Problem solving requires creativity. Creativity is the engine behind storytelling. Here's what they found:


Morning people are better at solving problems in the evening and night owls are better at solving problems in the morning. Yes, that does sound counterintuitive. What gives? It turns out, we come up with our best creative solutions when we are tired and unable to focus on any one aspect of a problem. In essence, we are freed up to see a problem from a broader perspective, and we are able to find solutions we would have overlooked had we been in our most focused state.


So, while your focus will help you commit to the task of writing, it can interfere with your creativity. The answer to what time of the day is the best time to write may be that there are two times of day. There is a time to allow distractions and tiredness to guide your creativity, and there is a time to craft a story based on the ideas you acquired during these periods of creativity.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Write o'clock

Is the early bird more creative?

1,044 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, best_time_to_write
2

 

I have advocated for indie authors supporting indie authors many times before on this blog. The general idea is to reserve a day of the week to promote the work of a fellow indie author. The question is what day of the week works best for this type of activity.


The vehicle to promote an indie author is clear. You will be using social media. Which social media outlet is up to you. There are a lot to choose from, and many of you probably use several social media sites to make connections with readers.


There is data out there that lets you know when the most active times are for all the social media sites. Because there are so many of them and because some of them service very specific demographics, it's hard to find a consistent day of the week and time of day that will be best to promote your selection for indie author of the week. Rather than try to force a square peg into a round hole by finding a time that caters to all of them, here are the best times to post to get the most views for some of the more popular social media sites. Choose the one that best fits your social media strategy.


  • Facebook: Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
  • Twitter: Wednesdays at noon and between 5:00-6:00 p.m.
  • Instagram: Mondays and Thursday are the best days of the week, and the best time is between 8:00-9:00 p.m. Specifically, folks say to avoid posting between 3:00-4:00 p.m.
  • LinkedIn: Tuesday through Thursday from 7:00-8:00 a.m., at noon, and from 5:00-6:00 p.m.


Remember: creating buzz for other indie authors can build credibility for all indie authors. Get out there and share the indie author love.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Supporting Indie Authors

Living the Indie Author Dream

792 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, social_media
0

To lie vs. to lay

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 29, 2016

 

When I was in high school people used to say "laying out" when referring to catching rays at the pool or the beach. At the time I remember thinking they should have worn sunscreen, but it didn't occur to me that they also should have said "lying out." But now I know better!


I still hear this mistake frequently, so I thought it was worth a blog post about the difference between lay and lie.


To lay requires a direct object (you lay something down/out):


  • Every morning I lay the envelope on the desk so he can see it.
  • I always lay a towel on the floor to prevent water from getting all over the bathroom.
  • It's smart to lay out a plan of action before every game.


The past tense of to lay is laid:


  • Every morning I laid the envelope on the desk so he could see it.
  • I always laid a towel on the floor to prevent water from getting all over the bathroom.
  • She laid out a plan of action before every game.


To lie doesn't have a direct object:


Every evening I lie on my bed and think about grammar.

Even though it's bad for her skin, she lies out in the sun.

She needs a game plan to keep her team from lying down and losing.


Now here's where it gets confusing--the past tense of to lie is lay:


  • Every evening last summer I lay on my bed and thought about grammar.
  • Even though she knew it was bad for her skin, she lay out in the sun for hours every day.
  • Despite the game plan, her team lay down and lost.


To summarize:


  • Today you lie on your bed.
  • Today you lay your head on your pillow.
  • Yesterday you lay on your bed.
  • Yesterday you laid your head on your pillow.


I realize what a head-scratcher this can be, so if after reading this post you want to go lie down and lay your head on a pillow, I won't blame you!


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Grammar tip: how to use gerunds correctly

Grammar tip: have gone, not have went

379 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, grammar_tip, lie_vs._lay
0

Do you have a mailing list of readers who enjoyed your writing? If so, good for you! Whether it's through a newsletter program or email, reaching out to your fans is a good way to keep a connection with them. The question is, what do you tell them?


In my semi-regular newsletter I include one piece of "news." Here are some examples:


  • Photos of my events such as book signings, book clubs, speeches or panel discussions
  • News about upcoming translations of my books
  • News about sales milestones
  • Promotions for signed copies (this is good to do around the holidays for gift ideas)
  • Photos of fans holding up my books at home or at stores (they send them to me sometimes!)
  • News about distribution agreements, e.g., in certain bookstores or wholesale clubs
  • Awards my books have won


In each newsletter I also include links to my recent blog posts as well as a note about my consulting services. I also encourage my fans to tell their friends about my books, so I can afford to keep writing them.


While I like to keep my newsletters strictly about my professional life, some author friends of mine have chosen a more personal route. One recently sent out a message about her engagement, while another tackled her feelings about the presidential election. Yet another addressed with humility how hard it was proving to be to get people to buy her book.


There's no magic formula for any of this, and every author's pot of potential "material" is different. So play around with it and see what works best for you. And if/when you begin working on a new book, include your fans in the process! I once had my fans vote on two cover options for a book, and it worked out so well that I'm considering asking them to vote on the title of my next one.


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Make it easy for readers to find you

The power of a personal connection

966 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, marketing, writing, promotions, newsletters
2

 

Bad habits are hard to break. I tend to write hurriedly, and as a result, my first draft can look like it was written in typo-English. And then there are those occasions when I read everything I have written to that point before I start writing. A habit that often leaves me with very little writing time. I also have a habit of talking openly about what I'm working on, sometimes revealing spoilers.

 

I have a lot of bad habits as a writer. But, I am of the mind that it doesn't matter. I almost always finish my journey, which is a completed manuscript. I turn an idea into a story and a story into a book, undergoing rewrites and frustrations along the way. I'm sure that I even put up obstacles that require me to navigate over and around.

 

My habits, the obstacles I create, the mistakes I make, are all part of my writing process. And as clunky and irritating as the process can sometimes be, it works for me. I'll always study the craft of writing and try to improve what I write. But how I write, the rituals that make up my own personal madness, I'm not likely to ever change.

 

Don't listen to critics or naysayers who try to tell you that you need to change your writing habits. I'm here to tell you that if you can finish a novel using a writing process, no matter how unconventional it may be, that's your process. It informs your style. It's yours. Embrace it without apologies.

 

-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Are writing rituals good or bad?

 

Writing tip: stay committed to the process

 

823 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, writing_habits
0

When it comes to author blogging, there are two questions I hear more than any others:


1.    What should I blog about?

2.    How can I get people to read my blog?


Regarding the content of your blog, that's up to you. For the most part, I like to blog about grammar, book marketing, and the writing process itself, but other authors take a more personal approach and share details about their daily lives. Those who write nonfiction often blog about the topics covered in their books to present themselves as experts. For example, the author of a book on personal finance might blog about the best way to prepare taxes, while a cookbook author might share yummy new soup recipes for the cold winter months. A general rule of thumb is to provide interesting, helpful content at least 80 percent of the time. The rest of the time you can promote your book launches, promotions, etc.


Once you have the content of your blog figured out, a great way to get people to find out about the blog itself is to link it to Goodreads and your Amazon author page.  Here's how to do both:


For Goodreads:


1.    Navigate to your Author Dashboard and click "Your Blog"

2.    On the far right, click "edit blog settings"

3.    Paste in the RSS feed address next to "external blog URL"

4.    You can confirm your blog's RSS feed address here (If you don't know where to find your RSS feed, read this)

5.    Check or uncheck "show full post" depending on your preference, and click on "Add Feed"


Here's how my blog posts appear on Goodreads.


For your Amazon author page:

1.    Log into Author Central

2.    On the top left, click "Author Page"

3.    Halfway down the page you will see a section called "Blog"

4.    On the right side of the section, click "Add Blog"


Here's how my blog posts appear on my Amazon author page.


As with most book marketing strategies, there's no magic formula for success. But if you can get people to come to your website through your blog, you have a better chance of getting them to buy your book!


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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More Easy Book Marketing Tips

Book Marketing Tip: Be Resourceful

1,408 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, promotions, marketing_tip
5

Be weird

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 12, 2016

We writers can be weird. Frustratingly so. Gloriously so. Happily so. If you find yourself sitting alone in the dark, thinking, "Man, am I weird or what?" Never fear. You are not alone. Here are some literary giants who let their freak flags fly.


  1. Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road at a furious pace. The book poured out of him so quickly that he didn't want to take the time to remove and replace paper from his typewriter. His solution? He taped sheets of paper together and created a massive scroll. When he was done, he had the audacity to submit the scroll for publication. It was rejected…for years…because Kerouac refused to submit it in a more editor-friendly form.
  2. Dan Brown reportedly hangs upside down to help him think more clearly. He calls it inversion therapy.
  3. Flannery O'Connor faced the blank surface of her wood dresser during the two hours a day that she wrote to avoid any distractions.
  4. Truman Capote claimed he could only write while lying down. He called himself a horizontal writer.
  5. Maya Angelou would rent a small, bare motel room in her hometown in which she would write until two in the afternoon.


If you have unusual writing habits, take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone. Weird, quirky, slightly mad, that's what we writers do. We are constantly stepping into made-up worlds that are teeming with good guys, bad guys, and danger at every turn. That requires a measure of weird.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Writing the Hemingway way

 

Bad writing habits

910 Views 5 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, writing_habits, famous_authors
1

You have a story to tell. It's your own. You've either lived an interesting life that is full of intrigue or tragedy or inspiration, or you've experienced an event that either made you or broke you. Whatever the circumstance, your story must be told. The problem you are faced with is whether to write an autobiography or a memoir.


Yes, there is a difference between the two. Here's an explanation of both to help you decide which category best fits your story.


Autobiography: You've had an interesting life. From the day you were born, to the day you sit behind your laptop to write your story, your life has been filled with twists and turns that could, well, fill a book. Your story is told in chronological order, and there is strong possibility that you have achieved at least some notoriety.


Memoir: A major event or series of events has caused a turning point in your life. You have no notoriety, but the struggle and/or triumph you've experienced has given you a perspective that you feel compelled to share. In many ways, regardless of when this event happened in your life, it's a coming-of-age tale or an emotional awakening. And the telling of your story doesn't necessarily happen in chronological order.


While most retailers lump autobiographies and memoirs together, it is important to know the difference as an author. If the whole of your life doesn't offer something out of the ordinary, don't tell it. Focus instead on the changing event that made you who you are.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Presenting Fiction as Fact Can Be a Slippery Slope

Claim Your Genre

707 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, autobiography, memoir
3

I love historical fiction. To me, it's just a fun genre to read. I've never dabbled in it as an author, but here are the five consistent elements I've noticed as a fan of historical fiction over the years:


  1. Know the facts. I don't just mean casually. Know the tiniest detail. If you're not sure on a particular detail, dive deeper until you find the answer. Historical fiction is a category that sends readers to their nearest computers to look up information on their own using their favorite search engines. They are going to essentially check your work. Be diligent.
  2. Know the fiction. Every major event in history worth writing about comes with a heavy dose of conspiracy theories. It's just part of the human condition to create suppositions that help us deal with outcomes we have trouble accepting. We complicate things because the truth just doesn't make sense. As a historical novelist, you need to know the conspiracy theories that came about as a result of your historical event. Play with incorporating elements of the conspiracy into your story. Keep your readers guessing. Have some fun.
  3. You have no favorites. The acts of a historical figure may have drawn you to the story, but don't let your admiration prevent you from creating a three-dimensional character that is as flawed as he or she is heroic. Don't sit in judgment of any of your characters.
  4. Don't explain things. It is so easy to use heavy doses of exposition when writing a historical novel. You, as the author, get caught in the trap of trying to bring the reader up to speed on the where, why, when, and how of every incident, but it's not necessary.
  5. Know the shape of your story. Decide early on if you want to write a novel that features characters shaped by a historical event or a historical event shaped by your characters. The answer will come from your research, but whatever you decide, keep this structure in mind because it will set the tone of your book.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Rethinking history

Too much exposition

1,776 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, historical_fiction
0

 

National Novel Writing Month is here again. Are you participating? If so, the best piece of advice I can give you is to set a daily word target and stick with it.


I've never written a full novel in just one month, but I did once write one in six weeks. I got it done by setting a daily word quota and not letting myself stop until I reached it, no matter what. If you let the word count slide one day, that can quickly turn into two days, or a week, and then before you know it you have just a few days to finish the entire thing. If you're the kind of person who can power through at your desk for twenty hours and still function, then by all means, do what works for you. But my brain doesn't work that way. For me, chipping away day by day is the only way to go. It keeps me engaged, fresh, and enjoying the process.


The folks at NaNoWriMo suggest 50,000 as a target word count for a full-length novel. Divided by 30, that's a daily word count of 1,667. If you have a demanding day job and prefer to do the bulk of the work on the weekends, there are several ways to slice and dice the math to create a schedule that best suits you. The key is to:


1)    Create a word count schedule you can follow

2)    Follow the word count schedule!


That's really all it comes down to. Writing a novel is a lot of work and will be mentally challenging, but if you really want to do it, you can! There's no magic formula other than sitting down at your computer and letting your imagination (and fingers) take it from there. Now get writing!


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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How to Write a Novel in a Month

Productivity vs. Perfection

1,047 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writing, nanowrimo, writing_month
0

The rewriting steps

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 21, 2016

Most authors hate rewrites. I know because I used to be one of those authors. Over the years, I've learned to break down the rewrite process into manageable steps, and it has made the ordeal less of an ordeal. I actually love rewrites now. It's an opportunity to dive deeper and really explore character and plot. Here are the steps I've learned to incorporate into my rewriting process:

 

  1. Give it some time. Don't attempt to rewrite a first draft that took you weeks or months to write immediately after you type "The End." Give yourself some space. I recommend four to six weeks. Fill in the downtime by starting a new project. You need to gain a fresh perspective, and you only do that by weeks of distractions.
  2. Do a reader's read-through. Don't take notes or make corrections. Just power through reading the first draft as is. Soak in the story and characters without your editor's hat on.
  3. React and record. After the first read-through, sit down and write your gut reaction to the material. What worked? What didn't? What do you need to cut? What do you need to expand on? Be detailed. You should have pages of notes at the end of this process.
  4. Now read the material as an editor. Correct, cut, reshape at will. Be brutal. You are not the writer. You are the editor. Don't hold back.
  5. Write a post-rewrite outline. You want to see a sketch of the story to make sure it's coherent and compelling in the broadest possible terms. You should get a good overview of the story using this strategy and find any holes before the next step.
  6. Get feedback. The next and last step is to hand your rewrite off to pre-publication readers to get feedback before you publish. Be on the lookout for consistent criticisms. Particularly pay attention to feedback on elements of the story that you weren't sure about. Overall, trust your gut.


Rewriting is easy when you break it down in steps. Looking at it as one laborious task can be daunting. Take a breath. Give yourself some space and take it one step at a time.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Reward Yourself

Rewrites: Make the Hardest Changes First

953 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, editing, writing, rewrites
1

We are approaching 2017, and we still don't have flying cars and food replicators. Nope. The utopic Jetsonian future has yet to become a reality. And yet there have been advancements in the last 10 years that have been truly inspiring--a lot of them in the publishing industry. We can now read books on our smartphones. We can carry devices that weigh less than an average sized children's book that hold thousands of titles. We truly are living in a golden age of indie publishing.


The one thing that hasn't changed is that the best way to sell books is through word of mouth. Recommendations from friends and other trusted individuals is the number one way readers discover new books to read, and it's not likely to be supplanted by another method any time soon.


Your job is clear. Engage your readers. Find the influencers in your group and let them know about new reviews, upcoming events, awards, etc. The more information you feed them, the more they have to pass along to their spheres of influence. You're not bragging or begging for attention. You're keeping highly persuasive members of your volunteer sales force informed.

 

Your goal is to find as many of these influencers as you can. The best way to do that is to be an active member within your genre's community. Find groups online and even locally that discuss other books in your genre and/or films, and be a valued member of that community. Once you get to know all the personalities, you'll know who to enlist in your volunteer sales force to be crucial cogs in the word-of-mouth campaign.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

 

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What Ignites Word of Mouth?

 

A Marketing Tool You Control

 

1,250 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, self-publishing, writers, genre, social_media, engage, influence
2

 

If you're an author, aspiring or published, chances are you've heard of "show vs. tell," but that doesn't necessarily mean you have a solid grasp on what it means. At times I struggle with the concept myself, as evidenced by the "Stop telling!" comments my editor makes on the early drafts of my novels.


I recently read a book that helped me understand why it's so important to show and not tell. Throughout the novel the author explicitly told me how the characters were feeling or what they were doing. As a result I found myself thinking, "Why is the author telling me this? Does he think I'm too dumb to realize that on my own?" Following are some specific examples, with some details changed to protect the author's identity:


  • "What are you doing here?" Sheila exclaimed in surprise.
  • "Hey, that's not fair," Carl said in his own defense.
  • "You'll understand once you meet him," Nora explained.
  • "I had no idea," Roger said in astonishment.
  • Randy's jaw dropped in disbelief. "No way," he said.


See how unnecessary the italicized parts are? Good writing makes it clear that characters are astonished, or explaining something, or in disbelief, without having to tell the readers as much.


See how much stronger those same sentences are when we take away the telling and, in some cases, add in some showing?


  • Sheila gasped. "What are you doing here?"
  • "Hey, that's not fair," Carl said.
  • "You'll understand once you meet him," Nora said.
  • Roger's eyes got big. "I had no idea."
  • Randy's jaw dropped. "No way," he whispered.


The above examples let us readers use our brains to figure out what is going on, and that's a much more enjoyable experience than being told what is going on. Keep that in mind when you"re working on your next project!


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Use Beats to Show, Not Tell

Show vs. Tell: Do You Know the Difference?

941 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, showing, telling, show_vs_tell
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