As writers, we sometimes find that we must use our craft in a number of ways to earn money. For example, I do copy-writing and editing to earn money alongside other endeavors to make my living. In doing so, I find myself following the habits of an academic writer when I am working on a fiction or a poem. This can often flatten my work and quite frankly make the reader close the book or leave the webpage for something more entertaining.
In academic writing we must often times tell the reader things—it`s more of an educational venture. When we are writing a short story or some other form of creative writing we need to show the reader rather then tell them.
Telling the reader:Joe was angry with John and he suddenly grabbed a book from the table and threw the book across the room and said “I`m angry John.”
Showing the reader:Joe stood over the table, staring into oblivion, his eyes wide open, his brow furrowed. Suddenly, he grabbed a book from the table and threw it across the room—“Damn it John!”
In both cases the reader realizes that Joe is angry with John. In one case, it is very canned, emotionless, and boring. In the other case, the reader feels the emotion building and is just as surprised by Joe`s angry outburst as John probably was as he ducked the incoming book.
I write about this because I struggle with “showing” the reader all the time. As I write and re-write I am constantly looking for sentences that I can change to convey emotion rather than stating the emotion.
God bless, WP