Classroom: Show, don’t tell

I’ve done it. I’ve finally signed up for an online creative writing course!

Ideally, I would have goneĀ for a physical classroom course, but since I’m still breastfeeding and I don’t want to pump (mostly due to laziness), I decided that an online course would be the answer for now.

Right after enrolling, I was nervous. I now have to commit and make time to study and do assignments! While taking care of the two kiddos! Can I do it??

Well I’m glad I did it anyway. I’ve completed the first week, and I’m more excited than ever.

Again, writing has a lot of similarities with acting. One of the things I learned last week was ‘SHOW, DON’T TELL’.

In acting, actors are not encouraged to think of our characters in terms of their emotions, because it’s just too subjective and hard for us to portray. Instead, we should always think in terms of our characters’ wants and actions. Do, rather than be.

Interestingly, that works for writing too!

We are to use ‘concrete words’ more instead of ‘abstract words’. Concrete words refer to things we can observe with our senses – ‘run’, ‘yell’, ‘green’, etc. Abstract words refer to feelings and emotions – ‘sad’, ‘angry’, etc – which are subjective and hard to observe.

If we use too many abstract words, it becomes a case of ‘telling’, and readers lose interest. To help the reader journey with us into the moment, we should always go with concrete words whenever possible, which helps us to show, not tell.

Besides that, the other notable lessons are:

Telegraphing vs foreshadowing, no backstory, kill your darlings, write in active and not passive.

Just jotting those down here for my future reference.

I never thought I would say this, but I am really enjoying being a student once again!




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