Do You Show or Tell in Your Writing?
It is often difficult to assess your own work, but there is a way to see what you are doing.
Colouring! Yes really, grab yourself some coloured marker pens or coloured pencils and prepare to be enlightened.
I heard of this concept during a presentation that Natasha Lester author of The Paris Seamstress made during the Rockingham Writer’s convention. This is how she explained her system. By the way, this applies to all popular commercial fiction but not so much to literary fiction.
Action – Coloured PINK
Thought– Coloured YELLOW
Transitions—BLANK -NOT COLOURED
Back story-Coloured ORANGE.
She suggested colouring action and dialogue first to show you the balance of those,
Ideally, they should be most of the page, at least 60% but not in huge blocks of colour. Interweave with other aspects of the story.
Doing this enables you to SEE what you need to change, to add or subtract.
If you feel this may be too confronting you can always photocopy two or three pages from a book and try it with them.
Your goal is not to emulate them, your goal is to see whether they get it right or wrong and to improve your own writing. The only person you need to compare yourself with is the self of yesterday are you learning, growing, progressing?