Storytelling NOT Storyshowing

Today I’m blog-hopping again with Romance Writers Weekly and the question on the bloghop today is from Leslie Hachtel who’s asked us: “What do you love best about your writing? Like the least? And what are you doing to fix the things you don’t like?” Thanks for dropping in from Fiona Riplee’s blog (or if you haven’t, don’t worry! It’s a bloghop so just keep following). 


One of the hard and fast rules of writing is “show, don’t tell.” For me, this is difficult. My writing background is all about telling, not showing. I talk more than I should. I have been a speech-writer, business writer, technical writer which you may think lend themselves to showing but they really don’t unless you wallow-up in rhetoric. I like to tell.

Storytelling NOT Storyshowing

What is my protagonist wearing? Who knows? Who cares? 

Apparently, a lot of people.

I must here confess a terrible thing: when I read, I skip description almost entirely. And guess what? When I write, I do the same. And always have done.

So for someone like me who makes great use of Kindle’s Word Runner feature…. you get the idea. What I like about my writing is the dialogue. I love to write dialogue. And most of my books (four down, six in the hopper waiting to be finished) are dialogue-rich. So dialogue-dependent that you’d think I’d stick to writing plays and scripts, or doing stand-up (done them all). But reading a play or a script is hideous. They should be performed. Doing stand-up is wonderful and when the kids are older, I’ll go back to comedy… but for books, not so great. It wears the reader down.

So dialogue-fetishism is great from a navel-gazing self-indulgent perspective. Fabulous, actually, if my sole purpose is to amuse myself.

For my readers, not so much. I think that’s why blogs suit me so well. People can only tolerate mouth-running for about 1,000 words. Tops.

Got it, Need it, Got it, Need it

Long have I dreamed to find/cajole/bribe one of my description-talented author friends to collaborate with me. No kidding. Because I don’t really view my books as my personal babies, I’m all about that village raising that kid. I have really and truly asked author friends if they’d consider a swap: I’ll hand off my dialogue-rich book for them to flesh. Similarly, for them I’d kick up their dialogue.

So far, no luck.

Having said all this, another sticky wicket for me is the editing process. I love to edit. I tend to slash and burn. But what I want my editor to do on my books? Just do the edits yourself. Don’t write notes and tell me what to fix. Don’t redline anything. Just do it. Because by now, I’ve moved on. That’s great in the sense I can crank the book out and not agonise over it, bad for the fact that I am just pleased to find an editor to do the rewrites. The end. Most editors I’ve worked with will write back where I need to fix x, y, and z. By this point, I just want to move to the next project.

This hearkens back to my old days in the corporate world: I did a lot a project start-up. Got the teams together blah blah blah, did the GANTT charts and processes blah blah then I hand the thing off. Buh-bye. I’m good with the blank page, let’s say that.

But once it’s filled, I’m full.

Thanks for joining me today! Next stop is Leslie Hachtel’s blog which can be found here. Or here. Or here. Kidding. It’s all the same link. 🙂


What I’m Reading these Days

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu

NCV, The Devotional Bible, eBook: Experiencing The Heart of Jesus by Max Lucado

Dispelled (A Null for Hire Novel Book 1) by Terri L. Austin

Next up? Books by Larissa Reinhart, Pamela DuMond, and Linda Joyce.

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