Sunday, September 20, 2020

Step Five Paint A Picture. Don't Tell

                Paint a Picture   Don't Tell a Fact. 

This is the part of writing I think is fun and challenging.

When I pick up a book to read, I want to experience the story and not read a report on what the characters said or did.  To do this, the characters need to act out the story and show me their emotions.
The readers want to see pictures in their minds as they read. How do we do this? We make our pictures with our words.  We use the sense of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and feeling.  This sentence gives the facts: she took the mud off her shoes.   The following sentences shows the reader what happened. Taking a stick, she scraped the slimy mud from her shoes.  I see the stick, the mud, and shoes in this last sentence, and I almost feel the slimy mud.  Yuck!
How about this? She felt cold. Isn't it easier to relate to the character with the following sentence?  She rubbed her hands over the goosebumps on her fridged arms to warm them.
We need to show what the character did.
ALSO, we need to describe the emotion and not tell it.  For instance, we would not write Janet was angry, but Janet stomped her feet and pounded on the wall with her fist.  We know what Janet did and felt.
Dialogue can also be used to show emotion.  "Don't patronize me," she said.
"Darling, you are my sunshine," Jim said.
The main characters should show an emotional level and possible growth by the end of the story.
Watch people in your world and see what they do when they are happy, sad, excited, tired, etc.  Write down what you see to use at a later time.  Write down how you react in different situations.  When you read a book, notice how the author shows you the action and emotion of characters.  Write down the ideas.

I promised, in the last blog, to write a story as a beginner.  It will be short and in parts to show different information I have been blogging about.  I want to do this as if I were you trying to start climbing the writing elephant for the first time.  I will make mistakes, some on purpose, and likely some not on purpose.  Here goes.
I chose to write fantasy as I am not familiar with that genre (style of the story).  I am a beginner.
We all have seen garden gnomes, so I decided to write about gnomes, the real ones, not the much bigger statues.  As I do not know anything about gnomes, I am doing some research.  It is not as much research as I would do with an unfamiliar topic. I did enough to write sentences to be illustrative of the writing ideas presented in the blogs.
At the beginning of my writing years, I did not know about POV (point of view), so I won't consider that until later in my story.  I will start off with characters, settings, and some conflict.  I will write a few sentences in the bare bones, and then I will rewrite the sentences with the Show, Don't Tell.

Might be Gnomes and Troublesome Trolls

The mouse brought a slipper to the bed, and Algot got up.  She put the slipper on and found the other one and put it on.  She petted the mouse's head. She put water in the tea kettle and added dried leaves to the little fire in the stove.  Then she headed for the bathroom.

Ansgar heard his wife putting the kettle on and sticks his feet out of bed.  He put on his pants, shirt, boots, hat.
Algot leaves the bathroom, and Ansgar enters.  Algot wakes up the twins and begins to make breakfast.

NOW: SHOW DON'T TELL
The small gray mouse dragged the fluffy slipper to the alcove bed.  He scratched lightly at the wood. Algot opened her eyes, yawned, stretched, and said, "Thank you, Squeak.  I'm up.  She pushed the warm quilt down. Reaching out, she scratched Squeak's head.  She slipped the cozy slipper on and then searched for the other one.
"There it is. Squeak, you need to put your youngest baby in your nest under the table.  Did he crawl in there by himself?  Children! After putting on her slippers, she filled the tea kettle with water from the kitchen pump and set it on the stove.  Some dry leaves were added to the little fire, and she shuffled off to the bathroom.
Ansgar yawns and stretches before he gets out of the alcove bed he shared with his wife.  Rubbing his eyes, he looks about and sees his clothes where he left them the dawn before.  He yanks on his brown-green pants with suspenders,  slips his head into his blue smock shirt, and tugs on his birch-bark shoes.
Ansgar enters the bathroom.  He combs his white hair and beard and washes his face.  He lifts his red peaked cap from the hatstand and places it firmly on his head.  His bulbous nose twitches as he smells breakfast. 

I haven't written the conflict yet—another time.