Thursday, May 27, 2010

Showing, not telling

As I've been working on the edits for my soon-to-be-published novel, one of the things my editor has knocked me for is telling instead of showing. In romance writing, it's all about how the characters are feeling. It's much more effective to take the reader right inside the character's head, rather than simply to say, "Leah was angry. She was beginning to think Brad might be lying to her about the money." Saying that characters seem, realize, think, are beginning to, or are starting to is a huge pitfall for me. It's a detached way of talking about characters. One of my editing tricks is to search for instances of think, thought, seem, and similar words and eliminate them when possible. At least 75% of the time, there is a better way.

In this case, a better way would be to say, "Could she trust Brad? He had lied to her before. Too many of the things he said about the money didn't ring true. What kind of a fool did he think she was?" This method also avoids use of the dreaded "to be" verb (not saying "Leah was angry.")
Any other editing tricks to share? Problem words and phrases that you search for during revision?


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