Telling Tuesday. Reminiscent of those days in school when I looked forward to seeing what everyone brought to show and inspired by an article on WriteToDone.com, called “How to Show (Not Tell): A Writing Lesson from John LeCarre.”
It is one of the best articles I’ve seen on the rule all writers know–show, don’t tell–because it doesn’t just tell us how not to tell, it shows us some of LeCarre’s very own examples.
” . . . descriptions can set the scene, convey the inexpressible, and turn the reader into a witness, instead of remaining a mere bystander.” — Mary Jaksch, author of the article
Each week, I’ll give a “telling” prompt, and invite you to show us, to make us a witness, not a mere bystander.
This week’s prompt came to mind when I watched the first snowflakes of the season fall yesterday morning:
It was snowing.
I’ll go first. This is an excerpt from my manuscript, Broken Dolls. In this scene, on the anniversary of her father’s death, 10-year old Sachi has been running from something all day, trying to keep a thought from coming to consciousness. Here’s part of that scene:
She started to run, as if she could escape the thought. But it was too strong this time. There was nothing to drive it away. It burst into her mind, full force. She stopped. Breathless.
If you hadn’t begged Papa to take you to the park that day, he might still be alive.
Tears burned her eyes. It was her fault. She covered her face with her hands, hoping darkness would hide her from the bitter realization. It didn’t. There was no escape from the flood of emotion. The dam had burst.
Mama had warned them—told them it wasn’t a good idea to go to the park that day. Papa had probably agreed, but he took Sachi anyway.
It was her fault.
If she hadn’t dragged Papa there, those boys wouldn’t have found him. And if Mama and Nobu blamed those boys, surely they blamed her, too. It all happened because of her. Her fault.
I’m sorry, Papa.
Something cold tingled on her hands, trickled down her collar. She took her hands from her face and opened her eyes.
White flakes drifted all around her. Landed on her eyelashes. Her nose. Her tongue.
Snow! Her first snow.
Your turn! I’m watching and waiting to experience your snow scene.