I hope you all managed with the exercise in “Show, don’t tell” today! There are lots of resources on this topic and I encourage you to have a look around for articles and blogs for pointers on how to improve your writing using this tactic.
Here is but one:
I want you all to think about how a setting can even “show” the atmosphere you’re trying to create. For instance, if you’re trying to develop tension in your narrative essays, there are many ways to go about it without stating “It was tense”. Sometimes, developing your setting in a particular way can help do that work for you.
Have a look at the following extract. It’s from Bryony Rheam’s This September Sun (2009).
[So I was trying to think of a terrible pun for this blog post. Best I could do was “This September Pun”. Weak sauce. I’ve spared you all.]
“December came. Hints of unrest and further economic instability breathed uneasily through parched, rainless days. I had never known such a dry end of year. Storm clouds gathered often, then dispersed. At night we tossed in sweat-drenched sheets and woke exhausted in the early morning heat. I slept with just a sheet to cover me and the windows open on the clear star-filled skies. The wind hardly moved and often, when I couldn’t sleep, I would go and sit outside and think, the night thick and warm around me. Talk of people emigrating hung above us like the sky that stretched white-blue and unrelenting, a never-ending migraine”
What can you say about how the setting produces a particular effect? Are vocabulary choices working to help it along? What is being indirectly said?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts!