Learning From Every Day Life

Few months back, I sent my manuscript to an editor and I got it back with lot of encouraging words and some areas where I need to ‘Show Vs Tell’.
As a first time author with no literature background, I am hell bent on ‘learning as I write’. This is taking me longer to complete my first novel, but I know I am working on my foundation as a writer and it is more gratifying.
After having studied the basics for ‘Show Vs Tell’, I still wanted more clarity for content to flow to me naturally in relation to my characters. During my normal course of day to day activities and meeting I tried to find cues but noting was as clear as a scene that made things crystal clear for me…

 

I am sure many first time authors will agree with me when I say, I find sometimes that the best writing coach is life. Lessons learnt from everyday life are seldom forgotten!
For a week, I scrutinized most of my conversation to analyze where I was telling and where was I showing, still it was not very clear. I wanted clear examples and not from books!
Today was memorable. A new team member had joined and I went out for lunch with her and 4 other team members. I noticed the body language and language of all. ‘Give me a drag’ – said one to another as the newcomer looked on and learnt the casual comfort level between the two.
As she looked on, the two girls were discussing the menu. ‘You will have what I tell you. I want the steak. Share it with me.’ She absorbed that one dominated the other to the point of taking complete control including the choice of food. I was looking at the group from her perspective.
Instead of me sitting and telling everything about each team member, she actually could see. We all showed her in that one hour. A team member turned to me and said, ‘No use asking you. You will not eat Fish, Mutton, Mushrooms… does that leave anything worthwhile in the menu? Anyway whatever you order, I am sure more than half will be left when we leave’ very effectively it showed that I am extremely picky in food and have a small appetite without actually saying those words. And it also showed the very close bond I shared with that girl.

 

A very meaningful lesson absorbed well today. Seeing from the perspective of the new girl, it helped so much to learn this important lesson of fiction writing…
We as authors have a way of life.  I for instance, sometimes experience life in scenes in front of me, around me and sometimes am so absorbed in my own thought process, that I feel I am a part of some ‘fiction’ myself…. Sometimes it baffles me. Sometimes it’s enriching.
I think what helps more is to just sit and observe people. Anywhere. People study, helps. In a coffee shop, at a party, gas station, restaurant, anywhere. Grasp what we learn from their actions. How people we don’t know, give away so much by their actions and words.
Now, it’s time review a scene of my book and change the ‘Tell’ to and ‘Show’ !!