The Eppies

EPIC is an organization of electronically published writing professionals, and every year they hold a contest to determine the best electronic fiction published during that year. This time around, RIO STAR, the second of my Patty O'Donnell novels, has been chosen as a finalist in the Mystery category in the 2007 Eppie Awards.

If you guessed that I'm excited, you're probably right. ;D

It will be March 10 at the EPIC convention before the winners are announced, so I've got a while yet to sit on my hands and wait. In the meantime, I've got plenty to do writing wise.

Till next time...


Making it real--Showing vs Telling

If you've been writing for any length of time, you've probably heard the admonition to 'show, don't tell'. What exactly does that mean? And why should it be of concern to writers?

In fiction, you want your reader to feel a part of the action. "Telling" is a mere recitation of the action. It informs the reader of what is happening in the story, but at the same time it holds the reader at arm's length, refusing to let them in any way experience what's happening. "Showing" involves inviting the reader into the action, though vicariously. The experience can be anything from close to extremely intimate, depending on if you're writing third person or first, and on how deep into a character's thoughts and emotions you're willing to let your reader get.

Telling is a straightforward statement of what happens. For instance, one might write:

Ardith left in an angry huff.

This gives you the essential details. But it doesn't pull you close to the character. How angry is she? And why is she angry? It's a bit dry.

Showing might look more like this:

Ardith spun away and half ran across the parking lot. She jerked the door of her silver Mercedes open and climbed in, slamming it shut again as she inserted the key in the ignition. Her hand was trembling, and tears of anger blurred her vision. How dare he treat her like this? The engine started with a roar. She flung the car into gear and pulled away, her tires spitting gravel. Pings of rock hitting metal told her she'd showered his car with them. She smiled, unable to suppress a surge of vindictive joy. Served him right.

The second version pulls you tighter into the character's pov, how she felt, what she thought, and shows you what she did and why. You now know that this unnamed man made her angry enough to cry, and that she's vindictive enough to be happy she left pockmarks in his car's paintwork. Yes, it takes a little more work than simply telling does, but the reward is a more interesting experience for your readers by making the character and situation a bit more real for them.

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December once more

Ugh. Where has this year gone? I must have slept through most of it--doesn't seem it should have gone by so quickly.

The big winter storm brought snow and cold temperatures, along with the requisite cars off in the ditch. Had to buy tires for the hubby's SUV last week. Talk about making your hair stand on end! Cost over $600, and that was with a $148 discount. The worst of the storm went around us, which we were happy about because our heat is all electric, and we don't have a fireplace. If you'd like to see a shot of what the area of snowfall was, this satellite image will be of interest to you. (Sigh. The image is now in the archives. The link will take you to the site, but you'll have to look in the archives to find it now, because I know nothing of putting photos on the blog.)

One side effect of the virus I had a couple of weeks ago is that, after two days of basically fasting because I couldn't stand the thought of eating, I started reacting to foods that I shouldn't have been eating anyway, so it's jump-started that diet I've been meaning to start. It's amazing how bad some of those things were making me feel, but the cumulative effects of all of them kept me from realizing just how bad it was. Feeling much better, thinking much better, getting more done.

My new heroine, Kira, has been a bit slow talking to me, but she's finally making herself known. I've got her story started, and want to get moving on it, because Patty's next story is starting to come together as well. An effect of the diet, making my brain work better? Maybe. Makes me wonder why I didn't do it sooner.

In the meantime, I'm trying to think of another writing subject to post about. Maybe next time.