Monday, December 12, 2011

Show, Don't Tell

Lesson #1 for a writer: show, don't tell. Meaning, involve the reader's senses and get her imagination working for you, rather than going blah-blah-blah at her. It isn't as easy as it sounds.

The ArtsCenter in Carrboro had an open house yesterday. It gave those of us who will be teaching there in 2012 a chance to mingle with prospective students. I will teach a class called In the Act (of Writing). I sat at a table with two other writers and we smiled to encourage people to wander over and chat.

The movement teacher had a video of herself dancing. The stained glass teacher had her light box and was demonstrating. The sculpture teacher had a dramatic and fine example of his work. The music teacher was playing a keyboard. The acting teacher showed how to choreograph a fake fight on stage. And the whole time, the tap dancers were practising. They sounded like so many amplified sparrow heartbeats. Lots of showing, lots of senses, lots of fun.

All we writers had, besides our smiles, was telling. Oops.

For next time, I'm thinking we'll need cheese cake, wine and dark chocolate. Let's see the tap dancers compete with that!

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