Saturday, May 26, 2012

Need an honest critique on showing vs. telling

I know a lot of you are off enjoying this wonderful 3 day weekend, but I really could use an honest opinion.
This is the original paragraph from the middle of the book;

    It’s been two weeks since….Chris shakes her head trying to clear the image out, while telling herself, “Everything will be fine.” She has to go open the store today. It will be her first day back there since that tragic night. The owner gave her Brandon’s shift and hired someone new to take her evening shift. She looks in the mirror one more time. Her eyes are puffy from crying non stop it seems and it’s hard to hide the dark circles under your eyes no matter how much makeup you put on. Brent and mom have been telling her it’s too soon, but her rent’s going to be due in two weeks, and someone’s got to pay it.

And this is the possible revision;

    It’s been two weeks since….Chris shakes her head trying to clear the image out, while telling herself, “Everything will be fine.” Knowing she has to open the store today, she starts clenching and unclenching her hands. Even though the store owner has put her on the day shift she still feels the nervous twinge deep inside.  Brent and mom have been telling her it’s too soon, but her rent’s due again in two weeks, and someone’s got to pay it. Taking one last look in the mirror before walking out, Chris dabs a little more powder on the dark puffy circles under her eyes, hoping to hide the effects of her sorrow.
What do you think?


  1. Okay, just my opinion. Please take what you like and discard the rest.

    I'd italicize her thoughts. and

    The rest I would put in dialogue. The way it's written is telling. If you put it in dialogue you can show more. i.e.:

    Chris took one last glance in the mirror. Her eyes, still puffy from crying, now held reflections of her sorrow. She picked up the compact and attempted to cover the dark shadows beneath her hollow stare. Mother knocked on the door and called to her.

    "Chris, dear, are you all right?"

    "Yes, mother," Chris said. "I'm getting ready for work, that's all."

    Silence filled the air. "Brent and I think it's too soon. You need time."

    Chris stood before the mirror and clenched her fists trying to ease her anxiety. After a deep breath, she answered, "Mother, I have no choice. I have to open the store today. My boss was kind enough to switch my schedule to the day shift. I have to show. Besides, my rent's due in two weeks, and I'm nearly out of money. I have no choice," she repeated.

    Another pause before the sound of her mother's footsteps echoed down the hall. Chris took another deep breath. She opened the bathroom door and began the mile long walk down the hall.

    --- Like I said, just my thoughts. You can move things around or reword as you see fit. Hope this helps. My blog may be able to assist as well. Thanks! Dee Ann

    1. Hi Dee Ann Wow that is great! Would you want to edit and revise the rest of the book for me? I love how you worded it, but Mom and Brent aren't there with her, so I can't do the dialogue with them. Headed to your blog now!

  2. Hi K. It is a good progression from the first one to the second. But, it could go further. I agree with Dee Ann in the sense that the dialogue helps, but if Mom and Brent aren't with her, maybe write it as her reflecting back on at least part of the conversation they had. For here to feel like that, they had to have said something as some point to make her feel that way.

    Another option, is to get her to work and then have her actions and attitude displayed or discussed at work by her co-workers or boss, if there are any.

    It is hard to make suggestions on a small section.
    Editing is annoying, but if your story gets better each time, so worth it.

    BTW, I am reading Kyle & Kelly this weekend. It will be my last book I read before jumping into JuNoWriMo next month. I am at "The Birthday Party." So far, really good.

  3. Hi Sydney Okay I can do that, reflect back on their conversations or I can have her discuss it with Brent because that is actually the next part, but... My biggest problem with this book, well all of my books in my opinion,is they all have the story, the dialogue,and the descriptions and I can get you from the beginning, to the middle, and to the HEA, but I tend to tell and not show. In fact you will probably notice it in Kyle & Kelly also. Oh well back to editing and revising and see what I can come up with!
    Have a great weekend Sydney

  4. I think you are on the right track, but could show even more than you have. And cut anything that is unnecessary as the showing tends to make things longer. If it isn't essential, cut it.

    This is a great excerpt of writing - fun time to find your blog. I look forward to following your progress :)

  5. Hi Tasha
    Yeah I'm trying. The story's there, the dialogue is there, and the descriptions are there, but it's the wording and trying to tighten it up and working on showing instead of telling.
    Question, Are you any relation to Jeannine Quist Seegmiller?
    Oh and I am now following your blogs!


Leave a comment. I'd love to hear your viewpoint