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How to show.. not describe

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How write cinematically

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How to show.. not describe

  1. 1. HOW TO SHOW …AND NOT TELL… EVERY TINY LITTLE DETAIL!
  2. 2. SHOW VIVID IMAGERY IN SHORT STORIES… Use specific, concrete details / names: An example from Upon a Mystic Tide: “Sitting in her old, red rocker, Miss Hattie turned on the large, antique radio behind her. Big band era music drifted through the kitchen, and she softly hummed along with it. Her head bowed, she studied the embroidery in her lap. She was sewing the Seascape Inn logo onto a new batch of crisp, white napkins.” In this example, the specific and concrete details are: the red rocker, the large, antique radio, embroidering napkins, the big band music and humming. More specific and concrete details… • Don't write tree. Write oak. • Don't write emotion. Write fear or sorrow, guilt or shame. • Don't write dog. Write Doberman, or Yorkie. • Don't write chair. Write rocker. Write cinematically. Write vivid images that create pictures in the reader's mind just like the scenes you see in a film
  3. 3. • A narrative is simply a story. • A story which shows something that happened to somebody! • A story simply and vividly shows the detail of someone’s individual experience… or the representation of an event. • A narrative can show a ‘story’ that spans: 5 minutes…15 minutes… half- an-hour… a day… or even centuries! • For the purposes of your assessment task – your narrative will be a ‘short story’. A short story must only span a short period of time. Please… don’t try to write an epic adventure (eg: Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit etc…) For instance… SO… OK… BUT, WHAT ABOUT THE NARRATIVE?
  4. 4. WRITE “CINEMATICALLY” Option #1 – start with SOUND! ke-Slap. ke-slap. ke-slap. ke-slap. I heard him before I saw him. ke-Slap. ke-slap. ke-slap. ke-slap. The “ke-slap” of leather soles on faded linoleum echoed down the corridor. One ebony-shined leather shoe appeared at the far end of the corridor. Then another. The pair marched rhythmically forward. A shapeless white coat swung almost-apologetically from sad shoulders. A collection of pens dragged on the breast-pocket. Is that a mustard stain on the lapel? Stained fingers clutch a clip-board. The other hand swung like a pendulum of fatigue. I noticed a plaited-leather bracelet knotted at the wrist. A single strand of leather had escaped. Frayed and free. The straps of the plaited leather clung together. But it was clear. The leather plait was fragile.
  5. 5. TASK: Your turn… RE-WRITE THE PASSAGE with same sound… but, with different a character (which then creates a different setting! ) EXAMPLE: “ke-Slap. ke-slap. ke-slap. ke-slap. I heard her before I saw her. ke-Slap. ke-slap. ke-slap. ke-slap. The “ke-slap” of sharp stiletto heels striking marble echoed down the corridor. One blood-red patent-leather stiletto appeared at the far end of the corridor. Then another. The pair swung confidently toward us. A __________________-___________________coat draped arrogantly from _____________ _________________. A single ‘CHANEL’ pen gleamed smuggly from the ____________________. Is that a _______________________ ______________ embroidered on the lapel? Her ______________________ clutch an __________________________. Her other hand swung like a _____________________ ____ ______________. I noticed a ___________________ _________________ ___________ on the ______________ wrist. The __________________was striking in its simplicity. The delicate bracelet was strong and geometric - like a battalion of dress-soldiers in formal salute. The stones of the ___________________clung together in precise order. But it was clear. The _________________ was fragile.
  6. 6. Knock knock! “Who’s there?” “Tanuki” “Tanuki who?” “Don’t be stupid. Tanuki. Himself.” “Oh, I see. Well, where did you come from, Tanuki Himself?” “From the Other World.” “What other world? “The one before this one, idiot. The World of The Animal Ancestors.” His voice could have been shoveled from a gravel pit. “Ah so. Excuse me then, honorable animal ancestor. How did your get here?” “Parachuted in. It’s strictly forbidden, of course. Against the rules. But what the hell…” The farmer opened the door and looked past his visitor. He Looked around for signs of equipment, for a silk canopy (specifically) and some kind of harness. “Never mind that,” growled Tanuki. “Well, what is it you want here?” “To drink rice wine” “Sake?..... “ Write cinematically… Option #2 – START WITH A CONVERSATION (DIRECT SPEECH)
  7. 7. Write cinematically… Option #3 – start with “showing” the smells of a setting / character / event The heady scent of Jasmine hung heavily in the air. The faint aroma of espresso and freshly-baked bread wafted from the kitchen and out through the Olive trees. The girl in the white dress stepped as lightly as a morning cobweb through the rows of ripening tomatoes. Suddenly, the perfumed air was putrefied by the acrid stench of diesel fumes. TASK: RE-WRITE THE PASSAGE (ABOVE) – BUT CHANGE THE SPECIFIC NAMES AND NOUNS SO THAT YOU SHOW A SETTING IN: 1. AUSTRALIA 2. A TROPICAL ISLAND 3. ENGLAND

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