Saturday, October 17, 2009

Show, don't tell

Show, don't tell, is one of the cardinal rules of good writing. I've known that for years, kind of in the back of my mind, but somehow I'd kind of forgotten what it meant until I was reminded of it by a friend at a writing group last week. Instead of, for example, saying, "He walked into the room and sat down," it's better to describe the guy and the room using as many descriptive words as possible. This rule will help me immensely when I'm doing Nano, which is all about writing as many words as possible as quickly as possible.

Here's what I'd like to know. I've just finished posting Ark Ship here. Clearly it's not a finished product; it needs work, hell it needs a new title, but what I'm afraid of is that for a majority of the story, I "told." I'm considering doing a total rewrite, because I think the concept of the story is sound, but the execution may be weak.

If you've read Ark Ship, please tell me if you think I'm "showing" or "telling" you the story, because clearly that's an area where I need improvement.

Or, if you think Ark Ship is a work of staggering genius as it is, then hey, I'd like to hear that as well.