I just had a light bulb moment in the size of the world’s largest easter egg. Seriously – do you see how huge that is? Now – if they would have used a pink ribbon, that would have been nicer – just sayin’.
But seriously. I’m working through Margie Lawson’s Empowering Character’s Emotions. I’m only in Lecture 1 (second time around). But she made a comment that hit me like a bag of bricks.
“Writers do not have to interpret most of the nonverbals for the reader. They don’t have to say why the character is blinking more rapidly – or write that character X probably shifted in his chair because the topic made him uncomfortable.”
Don’t get me wrong. I already knew this. It’s nothing new. But .. in context of getting ready for edits and plotting a new story … it became clearer to me.
We hear so much about tell vs show. We all know how wrong it is to always be telling. Yes, there are times we need to tell the reader why the character behaves the way they do … but only when it further serves to bond your reader to your character.
I’m going through a chapter right now where I am getting rid of all the ‘explanations’. Granted, there aren’t that many, but … HOLY FREAKIN MOTHERLOAD OF CHOCOLATE … when I delete the ones I do have, it makes the scene pop more. LOVE IT. (yes, I was yelling).
Why don’t you try it. I double dog dare you. Take one scene and highlight all the telling you do after you’ve just showed. Then try to take it out. Doesn’t it look better? Doesn’t it read better? Your pace faster?