Wednesday Words: Show, Don’t Tell

It’s the last Wednesday in August. AuGoWriMo–the unofficial writing challenge B.E. Sanderson and I have been doing–ends next Monday. I’d hoped to have NIGHT WISH finished. I don’t think it will be. Still, I’ve made progress. I’m closing on 50K words and decided to up my final goal to 60K because I have a whole bunch of snippets in search of full scenes. That’s both the good AND bad news. Still, I finished Chapter 13 yesterday. I’m telling you this because I can’t “show” you the fruits of my toil until the book is completed. I can, however, share this snippet. The #1lineWed theme is Show (not Tell). I hope this snippet shows you a bit of what is going on. To set it up, Wiz brought Gen to the compound and sort of dumped her in his room for…reasons. Now there’s a party and she’s not too inclined to join the merry-making outside in the courtyard.
I made it all the way to the front doors. The glass almost vibrated from the noise. Flames now danced in a fire pit in the center of the space and people gyrated around them. I scanned the crowd, looking for Wizard but couldn’t find him. My hand rested on the door’s push bar but for the life of me, I couldn’t put enough pressure on the thing to open the door.

“You just gonna stand there all night?”

I jerked and whirled to face the woman who’d snuck up on me. She eyed me up and down, taking in my appearance. I returned the insult. She wore heavy motorcycle boots, faded jeans that fit her like a glove, a red long-sleeved T-shirt with a Harley emblem on the front and that ubiquitous leather vest I was becoming far too familiar with. Long dark hair framed her pretty face and her brown eyes crinkled at the corners.

“You must be Wizard’s civilian.”

Civilian? What did that even mean. Evidently, my confusion showed because the woman continued. “Civilian is just that. Regular people who aren’t in the life.”

“Ah. Then, yes. I am most definitely a civilian.”

“And a bit overwhelmed, yeah?” She grinned and winked. “C’mon. I’ll help you find Wiz.”

Before I could protest, she hooked an arm through mine, pushed both of us through the door and all but dragged me over to the grassy area and the chaotic scene. She found a picnic table with space to sit, parked me on the bench and disappeared. So much for helping me find Wizard. Within moments, she was back with two plastic cups filled with beer. She handed me one and pointed her finger at me.

“Stay. Don’t talk to strangers. I’ll be back as soon as I find Wiz.” Then she was gone.

Don’t talk to strangers? Everyone here was a stranger and I had no reason to speak to any of them. I glanced around trying hard not to make eye contact with anyone. I didn’t see Wizard anywhere. A good-looking man sauntered my way and I quickly stared down at my beer hoping he’d take the hint. He didn’t. He straddled the bench. I could feel his eyes on me.

“Nobody’s ever gonna mistake you for a sweet butt.”

I jerked my head to stare at him. “A what?”

“A sweet butt.”

Shaking my head, I leaned away from him. “I don’t even want to know what that is.”

He grinned at me. “That’s because you’re Wiz’s civilian.”

Why did that term now sound so offensive. I was too aware that I didn’t belong here but they didn’t need to keep pointing it out to me. I’d gotten the hint and I planned on bolting back to my nice, normal, civilian life at the first opportunity.
I hope you enjoyed it. Show vs. Tell is a big thing in writing. Writers, is there anything your characters are doing you want to show us? Readers, is there anything you want to tell us about what you look for in a book? Do you want description? Action? Dialogue?


About Silver James

I like walks on the wild side and coffee. Lots of coffee. Warning: My Muse runs with scissors. Author of several award-winning series--Moonstruck, Nightriders MC, The Penumbra Papers, and Red Dirt Royalty (Harlequin Desire) & other books! Purveyor of magic, mystery, mayhem and romance. Lots and lots of romance.
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2 Responses to Wednesday Words: Show, Don’t Tell

  1. Ooo, good one! I’m so anxious to read this book, you can’t believe.

    Gah, I don’t have anything I could show you that doesn’t show a lot of other things I’m not willing to let loose with yet. Maybe this will work…

    I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn she’d planned for her own end.
    “Is this like when you save an old pan just in case you might need it down the road someday or is this akin to hearing a tornado siren in the distance and gathering supplies for a trip to the basement?”
    “Somewhere between, I expect. No worries on the horizon, but I can feel the clouds gathering, ready to turn green.”
    I touched her hand. The veins gracing its back were more visible than they had been when I was young, but they still seemed like strong hands. Maybe, if I looked closer, they did appear more gnarled than before. The bones in her wrist a little more pronounced than they used to be. She didn’t sit as straight as she used to. A little more sag, a little less tone to everything about her.
    “I didn’t realize.”
    “When you’re young, you don’t think about these things. The people who have always been in your life will always be in your life and that’s all there is to it.”
    I’d passed my fiftieth birthday only months before, so I sure as hell wouldn’t call myself young, but youth is relative. Sara was approaching seventy. Gerard had been sixty-five when she’d lost him. And I hadn’t thought about losing either of them. Truth be told, I hadn’t thought about either of them in the years before Gerard’s accident. They had been fixtures in my life for so long, I took their continued existence for granted.
    Maybe if I’d been around, I would’ve noticed the affects of time on them both.

    It’s a mystery of sorts that I’m working on now that I’m done with Cinder Ugly.

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