Monday, September 18, 2006

Lesson 2: Show and Tell cont...

Hey we made it to Monday! The CFBA had a great weekend. Squat, the book that we did a blog tour for last week is still in the #2 position on Technorati's Popular book list, as of the time I am writing this. Wahoo to the CFBAers!

Today we are continuing editing lessons from the book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King.

These lessons will be shortened overviews of the chapters and by no means should be a substitute for buying the book. I'm rereading but not posting a lot of good stuff!

This is the second lesson of two days of Show and Tell. Blogger ate this post on Friday!

We left off talking about using action rather than narration. Of course, there will be times when you need to resort to narrative summary, especially if you're writing a historical novel or science fiction, both of which usually require conveying a lot of information to your readers before you can touch their emotions.

Even though immediate scens are almost always more engaging than narrative summary be careful when self-editing not to convert all your narrative summary into scenes.

Narrative summary is used to vary the rhythm and texture of your writing. Scens are immediate and engaging, but scene after scene without a break can become relentless and exhausting, especially if you tend to write brief, intense scenes. Every once in a while you'll want to slow down to give your readers a chance to catch their breath.

Narrative summary can give continuity to your story on a larger scale. It is also useful when you have a lot of repetitive action. For example, your writing about a track star participating in several races. If you show all of these races as immediate scenes, they all start looking alike! But if you summarize the first few...have them happen off stage...then the one you eventually show as a scene will have real impact.


How often do you use narrative summary? Are there long passages where nothing happens in real time? Do the main events in your plot take place in summary or in scenes?

If you do have too much narrative summary, which sections do you want to convert into scenes? Does any of it involve major characters, where a scene could be used to flesj out their personalities? Does any of your narrative summary involve major plot twists or surprises? If so, start writing some scenes!

Do you have any narrative summary, or are you bouncing from scene to scene without pausing for breath?

Are you describing your characters' feelings? Have you told us they're angry? irritated? morose? discouraged? puzzled? excited? happy? elated? suicidal? Keep an eye out for any place where you mention an emotion outside of dialogue. Chances are you're telling what you should show. Remember to R.U.E.

What is that? R.U.E. I'll add that part in...tomorrow! Mhwahaha!

Here, occupy your time with LOL...checking out these!

World Domains
Everyone knows that if you are going to operate a business in today’s world you need a domain name. It is advisable to look at the domain name selected as other see it and not just as you think it looks. Failure to do this may result in situations such as the following (legitimate) companies who deal in everyday humdrum products and services but clearly didn’t give their domain names enough consideration:

1. A site called ‘Who Represents‘ where you can find the name of the agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name… wait for it… is

2. Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at

3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at

4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at

5. Then of course, there’s the Italian Power Generator company…

6. And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales:

7. If you’re looking for computer software, there’s always

8. Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their website is

9. Then, of course, there’s these brainless art designers, and their whacky website:

10. Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at


  1. David Meigs said...
    lol - those links look familiar.
    Bernita said...
    Gordon said...
    This makes me want to quit wearing a speedo.

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