Writers Don’t Always Show

Sometimes they just tell.

Don’t believe me? Well, then check out this interview with New York Times bestselling author, Lee Child. You can’t go wrong listening to the advice of a New York Times bestselling author. 🙂

Personally, I just go by my gut feeling. If I feel like showing would work better for a particular scenario, I show. But I won’t hesitate to simply tell if I feel that showing would get in the way of storytelling.

My book, Guards Gone Wild!, is a collection of short stories about my adventures in the private security industry. As such, it contains scenes where I diligently perform routine security work. If I show in detail every instance where I greet a visitor to my building, Guards Gone Wild! will become a lengthy (and boring) textbook about security work.

On the other hand, certain scenarios must be shown in detail to add colour and depth to the story. Such as fights, for example.

There was this one time when a couple of delinquents tried to snatch my walkie-talkie away from me. I could, I suppose, simple tell you what happened. Like this.

“One of the boys tried to grab my walkie-talkie but I foiled his attempt.”

But that would make me a lazy and uninteresting writer. So I went with:

“One of the boys, the bigger and heavier of the two, made an attempt to grab my walkie-talkie from me. A lunge in my direction with one hand stretched out, like an overeager hand shake. I twisted my body away and kept one hand protectively on my walkie-talkie, the way a T.V. cop might palm a sidearm in his belt holster. “

Now, you get the picture! 🙂

Sometimes rules are meant to ignored and sometimes you follow them because they are there for a reason. But how do you know when to do what? Gut feeling. Go by your gut feeling, which you develop by reading A LOT of books.

Now, get thee to a library!

Teck Y. Loh



About Security Guard

Level 99 Security Guard

Posted on May 10, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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