Show and tell

It’s not that I object to grammar. It has its uses. Nor do I think the many standard diagnostics of creative writing are flawed. No, all of that has its place. What bugs me is the breathless, unexamined espousing of these “rules” and “maxims” by those whose writing would probably be better if they loosened it up a bit. (When someone says that The Elements of Style is a must read for every aspiring writer, I’m pretty sure that person doesn’t know how often Strunk and White not only broke their own rules but didn’t even understand the grammatical constructions they blathered about. In their four famous examples of passive voice that should be avoided, three of them aren’t even in the passive voice, but old S&W didn’t seem to know this.)

Which is all prelude, of course, to what I really want to write about in this post. I’ve figured out what is wrong with chapter 6 of my novel in progress. I, ahem, tell rather than show. Yes, I’m using one of those maxims, but in this case it’s not because I am conditioned to say it without thought but because I have examined the material and find it to be true. My protagonist is going down the wrong path, blinded by his pride, but rather than give examples of this, I simply state it. Quite a few times.

So with this diagnostic in mind, and with a re-reading from chapter 1, I should be able to get my rewrite past this bump in the road and onto the open freeway of creative expression. (Okay, lost control a bit there.)

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Explore posts in the same categories: Humble efforts, Rants and ruminations, Sleep of Reason

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