Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to publish a children's book - showing

We talked about writing. We talked about writing a lot. We talked a lot about writing. Now let's talk about showing.

I am not talking about showing other people your writing. Not yet. I am talking about a golden rule of writing.

Show don't tell.

This is a hard one and I struggle to comprehend it all the time. I think the best way to SHOW you what I mean is to TELL you.

Version one:
Last night Sera sat at the table for three hours because she refused to eat her peas. We asked her nicely, we begged her, we promised her treats if she would just eat the peas. She refused. We finally gave up when Daddy fell asleep at the table. Then we gave her a bath to clean her off.

Pretty boring, huh? I told you everything, but I didn't show you what was happening. This is almost an outline. Let's try to show the same story. We will use dialogue and other writer-y tricks.

Version two:
Last night was a really long night. We sat at the table for over three hours.
"Eat your peas," said the kindly mother.
"No, no, no" said the baby girl with a chuckle and a shake of her moppet head.
"Please eat your peas," said the patient father.
"No, no, no" said the baby girl with a chuckle and a shake of her moppet head.
"Do you want a cookie?" asked the mother, attempting to trick a smarter being.
"Cookie?" said the little girl.
"Just eat your peas first," said the mother, thinking she had won.
"No, no, no" said the baby girl with a chuckle and a shake of her moppet head.
Frustrated, the mother looked to the father at the other end of the table.
"zzzzzzzz"
"Honey, wake up"
"I'll start the bath," the father said, knowing the fight was over.

Okay, still not a very exciting story, but this shows you what is happening, not just tells you. Supposedly you can do the same thing without the dialogue. This is a bit harder for me. But I hope this helps any amateur writers who look to another amateur for guidance. (fools, thought the blogger with a chuckle).

Note: This is a completely fictitious story. We, as parents, would never be foolish enough to try to feed peas to a two-year old.

0 comments:

 
Web Pages referring to this page
Link to this page and get a link back!