Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A New Spin on “Show, Don’t Tell”: How Writers Can Be as Memorable as Their Words


          Most us of have heard the saying, “You’re only as good as your word.” Does that also imply that you’re only as memorable as your word(s), too? Does it matter whether you matter as much as the matter you write? Maybe you’re fine with remaining anonymous, letting your words supersede your self. But most writers have more ego than that; it’s not a bad thing, but a fact. If you’re like me, you write words because your inner graffiti artist wants to leave a mark upon the world, to draw eyes to unexpected views that represent you to others and make them remember you.
[that was my graffiti, yes]

          You have surely been advised to “Show, don’t tell” in your writing. Well, here’s how to apply that adage to yourself, as author, to be as memorable as your words:

  1. Show your respect for words via precise word choices, no matter how many revisions it takes to find them.
  2. Show your respect for your readers via subtlety and conciseness, to honor their ability to interpret and their appreciation of precious time—both of which are disregarded by superfluous words and overwritten descriptions.
  3. Show your depth of observations and psychological insights by developing characters that seem realistic and evoke empathy from readers.
  4. Show your wit via well-paced, cleverly worded phrases that carry readers along, rather than force them to follow.
  5. Show your intelligence via apt analogies, thoughtful symbolism, and insightful observations.
  6. Show your style via figurative language that reflects images the way you’d post pictures on Instagram to reflect your personality.
  7. Show your values via your fictional characters’ successes and failures, qualities and faults, their coping methods, and their various points-of-view.
  8. Show your personal path in life by noticing and accentuating the thematic threads that run through many of your writings.  
  9. Show your artistic influences via your allusions.
  10. Show your understanding of your readers by choosing age- and/or genre-appropriate matter to unfold.