Writing Tips For Novelists – More on Showing Versus Telling – The Conundrum Further Defined

Sometimes Telling is More Effective than Showing

An author and scholar for whom I have immense respect added fuel to a long simmering fire by stating in a recent book of hers on writing that too much is made out of Showing instead of Telling. To paraphrase one of her points, she writes that the avoidance of telling leads to a confusion that causes novice writers to think that everything should be acted out. And to quote her, “There are many occasions in literature in which telling is far more effective than showing.” 

Agents and Editor are the Harshest of Critics

If everyone wrote as well as this woman (she has over two dozen titles to her credit), or the brilliant mostly classical authors and their literary works she cites in her book, who could argue? And that is the rub. Especially for someone trying to become published for the first time, and who is having his or her manuscript viewed by the harshest of critics–book agents and book editors. People who are seemingly searching, as if with an electron microscope, for the most miniscule detail to warrant rejecting material.

Don’t Wave a Red Flag – Avoid the Dreaded “Been’s”

In the real world of an author fighting tooth-and-nail for his or her manuscript to receive a fair hearing, the writer has to provide a narrative that does not wave a red flag–or even a yellow one. Nothing can kill a book quicker than if it is perceived to be written in a passive voice, which is most often indicative of scenes crafted in a Telling rather than Showing form. Other than breaking up too many uses of “was” or “were” by substituting an occasional “had been” or “have been,” it is important to avoid the “been’s” and therefore the passive voice narratives that Telling has a tendency to engender.

If a Choice, Overwrite Show Rather Than Tell

While it is 100% correct that many times it is advisable to Tell instead of Show, for most authors pursuing a major royalty publisher, it is much better to have overwritten Show than Tell. Let me put it this way: I’ve never heard of anyone being rejected for the former, but very often for the latter. So while the ongoing Show versus Tell debate may whet some appetites for eschewing the argument altogether, writers need to incorporate as many accepted elements as possible into their material, and Showing (and the active voice is supports) is considered a component of quality prose writing in the overwhelming number of instances.

Coming Soon: Writing Tip for Novelists – Beware When Action Does Not Constitute Movement

Robert L. Bacon

Finding The Best Elderly Care For Your Loved One

We all have older people in our lives that we love very much. In time, we will all be faced with aging and will, as some time need help ourselves. Finding good elderly care takes patience and research. Leaving someone who is fragile in the hands of strangers can be difficult so it is important that we do the homework necessary in finding the best assistance possible.

Many times our older loved ones are in need of extra help that we simply can no longer provide for them. Sometimes this results in having to relocate them to a health facility that may have medical personnel on staff to take care of their needs. Other times, they just may need to be cared for during the day while others in their life are working. Deciding on what the best choice for your loved one should be discussed with them, if at all possible, and with other family members to get good feedback and the support that one will need during this time.

If the choice is to find daily assistance for your loved one then there are some options. Looking for an adult day program is nice because they have somewhere to be during the day that can keep them involved with others. This will keep their minds active and their social skills up as they will be actively involved with others during the day.

If the concern is a full time living situation may be in order, than there are going to be many other decisions that will need to be made. This is the time to involve other family members and get their opinion and feelings on where and when to allow your loved one to be placed in a home or nursing facility.

At this point, it is time to determine the kind of assistance that your family member may need. This will take a little evaluation on the family’s part. Assess if they can do any care on their own such as toileting, bathing, taking their own medications, things like that. If they are somewhat independent and you are not looking for a living situation, then finding a day program for them to attend or a helper to come into the home during the day may be the proper choice. Talk to other family members, and talk to the one needing the assistance to see what they would like.

If it will be a living situation, then you may have to take a few tours of different facilities to decide where the best one is. Make sure that all your questions are written down because this is an important time to find out all their policies and regulations. Do research online and find out what others have said about their services. The family will want to be comfortable with the decision being made.

Talking to your loved one is a good idea if they are able to be logical about the decision being made. It is important to have their input, and if at all possible, their permission when placing them somewhere. This could be a very difficult time so be patient and try to communicate clearly with everyone involved.

Making a decision about who will be providing elderly care for someone you love can be difficult. The important thing is to be alert, informed and involved with everything that is happening. It is important to place someone you love in good hands.

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