Monday, March 23, 2015

A Step in the Write Direction--March 23, 2015--More "Show, Don't Tell"

A Step in the Write Direction
March 23, 2015

Update: In my Jesus Calling reading for yesterday, the author’s theme was “Rejoice.” Right, I thought. It had been a difficult day—the first Sunday I sat in church without my husband by my side. Then later signing birthday cards with only my name brought me to tears, especially the one to my daughter, signing it just “Mom” instead of “Mom and Dad.” Then I realized, I can rejoice—in the 54 wonderful years we had together, in the fact he’s now free from pain, and in knowing where he is now. Later while proofreading a book on doubt, the author encouraged us not to dwell on what we didn’t have the answers for, but in what we did. And again I realized the facts I did know:
·        Jesus loves me
·        He forgave my sins
·        He died in my place
·        He rose again,
·        And, because He lives, I can face today and tomorrow and the days following.

Thought for Today: "Temptation is the devil looking through the keyhole. Yielding is opening the door and inviting him in" (Billy Sunday, evangelist and baseball player—1862-1935).

Song for Today:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!
            (Bill Gaither)

Laugh for Today:
What happens when you fall in love with:
·         A chef?  He spices up your life.
·         A chauffeur?  In his eyes, you take a backseat to no one.
·         A telephone operator?  He reaches out, touches your heart, and you always have a special connection.
·         A clockmaker?  He always makes time for you.
·         A pastry cook?  He spends all his dough on you.
·         A shoe salesman?  Your sole is lifted up.
·         A jogger?  He's there for you when you're run down. (Gospel Greats newsletter, 2/10/15).

Writer’s Tips:             More “Show, Don’t Tell”
Show Through Dialogue:
First Draft:

“Goodbye, dear,” Janet Collins bent down to kiss her husband. “I’ll try not to be too late.”

“Okay, honey,” Jim replied. Turning his attention back to the television program, he didn’t notice how his wife’s shoulders drooped as she walked out the door. But as he heard her start the car engine and back out of the driveway, the old feeling of guilt returned as it did every Sunday night. He tried to brush it away.

After all, he went to church with her every Sunday morning. Why was she always so disappointed when he wanted to stay home at night? He was tired. Lately he’d had to work on Saturdays and even some Sundays at the office to finish up a big government contract. Janet knew that. And she knew how lucky he was to still have a job when many of the other engineers had been let go. (“Weighed in the Balance,” Donna Clark Goodrich, Standard, 10/17/76.)

My rewrite, giving same information, but using dialogue:
“Goodbye, dear.” Janet Collins bent down to kiss her husband. “I do wish you would go with me.”

“I go with you every Sunday morning,” her husband replied, barely looking up from the TV. “I’m tired.”

“You’re always tired lately.” Janet picked up her Bible. “Ever since you got your promotion, you don’t even make it on Sunday mornings sometimes.”

Jim turned impatiently in the swivel rocker. “You know we have that big government contract to finish.” Before his wife could answer, he went on, “And you know how lucky I am to still have a job when many of the other engineers have been let go.”

“I know.” Janet’s shoulders drooped. “I’ll try not to be late.”

As Jim heard the car back out of the driveway, the old feeling of guilt returned as it did every Sunday night.

* * *

This is “showing” rather than “telling.” The dialogue not only moves the story along, but also introduces us to Jim and Janet and shows the conflict between them. Note the absence of “he said” and “she said.” We can tell who’s talking by their action.

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich

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