Amel’s session on Showing AND Telling

I admit I have a problem.  I talk excessively during my sessions.  And honestly, I was impressed that six people actually turned up at two as I requested.  Write club is actually getting some serious writers, I say.  But counting all the spirited discussions, we still started writing only at three.

Here is the session material that I created from the first chapter of Monica Wood’s brilliant book, Descriptions, Elements of Writing.

Here is a gyan glimpse. Our first forays into writing begins with someone telling us that we need to show more, and tell less.  Somewhere along the line, the mantra changes to show don’t tell, which gets us into the manic frenzy of describing everything and giving the reader a sensory overload that goes something like fifty ways to show rage without using the word rage.  But yes, too much telling can flatten your story. And too much showing can overwhelm it.  But we can make telling fun and non-boring, and learn to show the right things.  Its a lot like dressing (Wink, Wink)

I was immediately impressed with the change in the style of some of the writings.  Ranjan came up with a fantastic piece about the colonial tensions in the minds of Tamilian sons of soil, with some really good descriptions and sensory detail.

A new comer wrote a touching tale of a man trying to reconnect with his son after the estrangement of his wife.  He ended with a bang, with a memorable line from the son, “Dad, you’re eyes are wet.”

Santhosh wrote up quite the detective thriller, with 1500 words, which he was quite reluctant to read.  But wow….it did keep us guessing.  I personally loved the ‘Indian housewife who reads too much Agatha Christie’ character profile, who discovers her butcher butchered to death, and runs home terrified, yet more or less un-rattled, going about with her now meat-free cooking plans.  When the police comes to her doorstep, we were all in for some interesting twists.

Guru came up with a surrealistic Jihad piece.  Again, another piece that I am personally happy about because of the good change in the writing style.  His writing was to the point, highlighting the perfect elements, the spectacles under the Afghani turban of the mentor, the 8-year old rushing to his mentor’s room in the middle of the night, his mind made up finally.  And when the morning beckons, the mentor is in for a shock. For this is no ordinary child.

Shikhar‘s piece launched in a very classical omniscient style, with an description of a strange leg-shaped lake as seen from a descending plane.  “She’s mine.” Roy says from his rickety chair, referring to the lake, “I made her.”  With that delicious hook begins a bitter sweet story set in a wonderfully described hamlet of poor farmers struggling with water shortage.  A very Indian theme delivered in a very European tone.

Finally, here is the surprise piece from Karthik, who didn’t read at write club, but sent his piece along.  About a fiendish tribe, that punishes their sinners by tying them to the railway tracks on moonlit nights.  He writes from the point of view of an adulteress, recounting her eerie last night. Read Where is Ellen.

We weren’t able to find a host for next.  Will I continue to talk another hour? Or will Ranjan save the Saturday?






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