Shannon Donnelly is with us today to talk about her upcoming OCCRWA online class, Show and Tell, an Interactive Workshop. Take it away, Shannon!
Thanks Alina. Weâ€™ve all heard â€œshow, donâ€™t tellâ€ and there is value in that advice. If all you do is tell a story, how does the reader participate with his or her imagination? However, a book is not a movie. While a movie requires everything to be shown (or an often awkward voice-over to be added if itâ€™s not showing enough), a book has the luxury of being able to use narrative. And thatâ€™s where I usually get folks who are utterly confused.
Merriam-Webster gives us the root for narrative/narrating as the â€œLatin narratus,past participle of narrare, from Latin gnarus knowing; akin to Latin gnoscere, noscere to know.â€
This means any writer of fiction needs not only showing but telling as well. Whatâ€™s the secret in knowing when to show and when to tell? This is something Iâ€™ll be covering in the May workshop, but here are a few tips:
– Where are we? (Place and world â€“ the reader needs to be placed into the scene, otherwise itâ€™s confusing to the reader. Do not throw your readers into the deep end without giving them some help.)
– Who is here?(An introduction to the characters, particularly to the main characters for that scene, and for the story.)
All this needs to be woven together, stitched in with careful threads, not dumped on the reader in big clumps. Or, to put it another way, feed the reader your tellingâ€”your narrativeâ€”with a teaspoon, not a soup bowl.
– Your characters in actionâ€”scenes are always stronger when you show a character expressing emotion with physical reactions.
– Your characterâ€™s emotions through words. Dialogue should never just be there to advance the plot or you end up with a character that seems stiff on the page. Just as you want to show emotions through actions, you also want to show emotion through wordsâ€”this includes what someone avoids talking about, too.
Her Regency Historical Romance, Paths of Desire, can be found as an ebooks on Kindle, Nook and at Smashwords, along with her Regency romances.
While I celebrated the book, I also lamented that this author might never be embraced by the mainstream despite her talent. Why? Because Anyonymous-9 is what I call an X-treme novelist – a writer who does not poke at parameters, but boldly shreds them. Think Tom Wolfeâ€™s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and his brand of hysterical realism. Hunter S. Thompson and Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas. My favorite, Anthony Burgessâ€™ Clockwork Orange. The X-treme novelist is often ignored, ridiculed, or, even worse, published only to languish in a no-manâ€™s land of genreless books.
**Conrad Johnson is the pseudonym for John Byk. Check out his live contemporary author interviews on 2012 Writers Alive
This workshop focuses on passive voice, nominalizations, vague -ing words, and weak verbs. These problem areas spell rejection because they rob your writing of energy and clarity. MM Pollard, English teacher extraordinaire, will show you how to fix these fatal errors BEFORE you send your manuscript to an agent or editor.
During this 4-week session, students will receive 12 lessons with practical homework assignments and personal feedback. For each topic, MM will define the problem and the provide techniques for identifying, evaluating and correcting your own work.
And, for those who post all the homework when itâ€™s due, MM Pollard will line edit 1,000 words of their writing for all things English. (She does not edit for story elements like character development or point of view. Those topics she leaves to published authors.)
As one student stated: First I want to thank you for an incredible class. You made grammar so much fun. Your lessons were beautifully laid out. So clear. Because you explained not only what the rule was, but the reason for it, I GOT it and want to write more so that I can apply the lessons.
As a line editor for Black Velvet Seductions, MM Pollard has read many entertaining and thought-provoking stories. She has also found some common mistakes in punctuation, grammar, and usage.
Inspired by the saying: â€œGive a hungry man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he never goes hungry again.â€ MM conducts workshops for Savvy Authors, Writers Online Classes, Novelists at Work, Orange County Chapter RWA, as well as in her own virtual classroom. Her goal is to teach writers what they need to know about English grammar, usage, and punctuation so that they wonâ€™t need an editing service to correct their mistakes in these areas.
An English instructor for fifteen-plus years, MM loves teaching and she loves words. Sheâ€™s a certifiable language arts geek. One of her hobbies is collecting grammar books. She has always been fascinated by words and by the way we arrange them to tell others about ourselves, about the world around us, and about worlds we create in our heads.
Visit the MMâ€™s Writersâ€™ Blog at http://queenofenglish.wordpress.com
This is a 4-week online course that uses email and Yahoo Groups. The class is open to anyone wishing to participate. The cost is $30.00 per person or, if you are a member of OCCRWA, $20.00 per person.
Sign up at http://www.occrwa.org/onlineclassMay12.html