Monday, June 22, 2009

Show Don’t Tell: Silent Pictures

Recently, I watched a friend’s silent video of what was happening at the moment inside her store during business hours. A young woman inside the store approached an older woman and they spoke. The young woman twirled her car keys. Soon, she slumped her shoulders, and she looked around and chewed her gum. The words casual and bored came to mind. The older woman at one point turned her back and smiled at something the young lady said. That smile reminded me of one I reserved for when my children have said something a little off the wall.

The two carried on more conversation, and I noticed they favored each other in appearance. Hmm, this is showing me a new clue. Then, the young woman kissed the older one on the cheek. Aha! Could they be related?

When I asked my friend about it later, and had described the young woman, my friend said yes indeed they were mother and daughter.

That whole silent movie scene taught me a bunch about “show don’t tell.” I had a wonderful lesson, for free I might add, and one that caught me by surprise in my otherwise busy schedule. A nice writer’s realization.

If you are like me and tend to go into too much telling, turn off the sound on a movie and you’ll see what I mean. I plan to watch something from time to time without sound, just to keep my bearings about this whole overdoing of “show don’t tell” in my writing.

By the way, don't forget to people watch from afar. That's another wonderful way to learn from body language.

I hope you’re enjoying your first days of summer. And keep an eye out for ideas during next winter's writing, so keep a note pad and pen handy.

Until next time . . ., blessings to my readers.

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