Show Me The Writing!

by Kimberly A. Cook                   (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

A primary rule for all writers is to show, not tell. This is harder than it sounds. We can’t tell readers about a scene, as storytellers we have to figure out how to show them what we mean. An amazing example of showing without telling is the last scene in the current movie, The Descendants.

Finally saw it last weekend. Great film. Bring tissues! Besides the humor and tears, I felt the last scene is masterful in the art of showing, not telling. Have to buy it on DVD so I can watch it over and over to see what other “shows” I might have missed. Layering characters, plots and turning points is an art form in writing and screenwriting.  It’s so nice to find films and books which do it well.

One author suggested taking screenwriting classes to learn how to punch up fiction dialogue. My screenwriting classes gave me a bonus when the three act structure provided me with the perfect way to plot fiction books.  Overlaying the screenwriting teachings from Syd Field’s The Screenwriter’s Workbook (page 47) with the Hero’s Journey work from Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey, third edition (page 8), I was set. We know when a tool clicks for us. 

Trial and error is how we improve our craft and grow as writers. Writing is the other way. We have to actually do it. Amazing how some of us still try to avoid that part at times, myself included. But then we happen to see a movie or read a book which impacts us with excellent craft. The work gives us fuel for the fire in our muse to get our stories right, to touch reader’s hearts.

What book or movie has influenced you?

1 Comment

Filed under Writing Biz

One response to “Show Me The Writing!

  1. Thelma & Louise! Syd Field analyzes what works about it and why in his book “Four Screenplays.” It was Callie Khouri’s first movie script and redefined the rules for road movies.

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