Monday, September 26, 2011

4 Methods of Showing not Telling

1.  A single painting decorated the faded mauve wallpaper. The painting was of Marcy's father painted when he was in his twenties. Her mother had often commented on how handsome he was at that age always with a far off look and a bright gleam in her eyes. She did not do so anymore. If she remarked at all about the painting, which wasn't often, it was usually to ask who that man was.

In 5 sentences we know something of Marcy's mother's style, her current medical condition and the history of her relationship with her husband

2. She turned quickly startled by her revery interrupted and there he was as beautiful as ever. She stared, working her mouth open and closed saying nothing for far too long. She had slipped into that silly girl's shoes at the sound of his voice. Realizing she hadn't said anything, she blushed. She hadn't blushed since he had left her and this one made up for old times. She felt hot in spite of the October winds.

This is Marcy meeting an old beau. Notice he is described as beautiful rather than handsome. This is a word a lover would use vice a friend or stranger. We know how she feels about her state of mind as a younger woman. We also get clues as to her love life since their break-up and the torch she still holds.

3. She felt him draw a large breath that caught midway. A hot tear struck her forehead and rolled down the bridge of her nose. Marcy slide her arms wide and wrapped them around this stranger and lover.

Missing here is that Marcy had expressed her anger of being left behind and then an intimate moment as she leans into him. But it is easy to see with the catching breath and a single tear his lingering feelings toward her. They are both caught up in the memories they had and although they are strangers today they feel their way back to the time they were lovers.

4. “Come to me,” She looked to the dark sky and howled again.
The wolf let out a small whine and licked his nose. this woman's soft words and howling reached into his vengeance hardened heart and softened it.

Anyone who has owned a dog knows the meaning behind a small whine and a nose lick. This wolf was confused and we get a strong sense of the past and present with the altering of his heart.