Show don’t tell

Three months ago for the first time I read flash fiction 100 words. Recognition of the work of Harvey Stanbrough title, followed by S. Dragon Tales Joan Popek, (author of ezine which publishes flash fiction; The Popper Gazette). The story begins mid-action, fast paced, and surprising ending. This genre offers a reading experience just flash story of the eye (well, really a moment).

Who would have thought that the resulting impression settles for days. I thought I had fallen in love with this genre. So, as someone who likes to write fiction, I decided to try to write flash fiction. The result, as could my friends read in my flash fiction blog.

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Beginning to write my first flash fiction entitled ‘Recruitment’ I thought would be easy. Write a story in 100 words really matter easy. Proven preliminary draft can be completed no less than 20 minutes. The result should not be asked. That’s the worst I’ve ever written fiction for life. Quite decent serve as an example the case of treason against the most important principles in the writing of fiction; show, don’t tell.

“One day, a young man joined the recitation of a religious group. The leader of the extremist jihadist ideology impart to the whole congregation. Brain pilgrims managed to wash, except the young man. The young man felt in his heart that it’s wrong understanding. According to him, no group has the right to force the truth and blame their class outside. He then decided to get out of the group right away.”

Flat. It is hard to find people willing to spend his time reading the story chronologically. Besides the story above looks like Investigation Minutes.

Accustomed to writing short stories at least 1500 words, made me conclude, if you tell the reader is the best way to outsmart the restrictions a maximum of 100 words. Impossible it seems show to the reader with a mental picture dramatizes the atmosphere, described the scene, animate characters, as well as activate the scene.
Or maybe, this is the challenge? Maybe this is where the art writing flash fiction?

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Reading flash fiction Recognition Harvey Stanbrough & Dragon Tales by S. Joan Popek, was dragged into a situation that is being told. The story runs interactively. Plot dramatized. Emotions express straightforward character. The scene was so alive. Overall it was able to show its author into less than 100 words. Without specific descriptive sentences, they succeeded brilliantly applies the principle show do not tell. Continue to why I failed?

The reason, I’ve been wrong from the beginning to understand what the show, do not tell.
Understanding of the show do not tell is often confusing. The average fiction writer and buzzed-dengungkan know the importance of the use of this principle. The problem many beginning writers wrong sort of understand it myself. Just like most fiction article writing tips that are scattered in the blogosphere, who interpret it as a way to portray a character through specific list; face shape, habit, gesture, expression, nature, characteristics, etc., or describe the physical details of the scene; beautiful mountains, ocean view, furnished rooms, etc.. As if presenting the details of the facts auto show.

Indeed, the display means to make the reader active and was present into the atmosphere of the story. Displaying allows the reader experience the story through actions, words, thoughts, senses, and feelings of the characters, rather than through the summary, description and exposition of the narrator

Displays are cinematic. The words were like cameras that highlight the immediate scene that occurs. Here the author functions neutral as a cameraman. Displaying fragment by fragment without involving themselves directly. Cameraman avoid intervening reader. The authors are reluctant to let his character says ‘I’m mad at you’, but shows the anger the character through behavior / actions of people angry, like a flushed face, furrowed brow, breathing fast, hitting, or throwing plates, etc.. The author worked objective tub cameraman showing image after image, and let the reader interpret its own series of drawings as an integral whole story.

That is why, why look odd glaring ridiculous scenes in almost all Indonesian soap operas, where the figure is highlighted character was alone (with mouth closed), but suddenly heard a voice (narrator) that inform the content of thoughts / feelings of the characters to the viewers. Ironic.

Utilizing the advantages that can visualize the contents of cinematic mind with images of emotion, expression, gestures, actions and dialogue of each character, show don’t tell the exact principle inherent in itself in a cinema. Viewers easy to digest the story through pictures. Yet it was still an amateur film director chose immediate notification method on the content of thought leaders wearing narrator voice. Here we can see the director who fails to visualize the way the story, then select a shortcut, notification, notifications. Make the viewer, these tables of contents of the character’s mind.

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In order to rectify the mistake, I chose to sit under one of the best in this field. Ernest Hemingway. One technique the application of shows, do not tell Hemingway into short stories, especially when viewing the settings, that is to borrow the eyes / perspective of one character, either through a scene or action. Description of a location not spoken directly by the subjectivity author. Hemingway chose to bring the character to that location beforehand. Karakterlah involved – or involved in direct-location / setting. Characters interact physically with the situation through action or movement. Such as, scenic shore shown by the touch of your foot above character soft sand, hair blowing in the breeze ripples; nose inhaling the smell of sea salt, etc.. Rarely we find a long rambling sentences about the scene in Hemingway’s works.

Describe the setting without the presence of characters in place and time the incident again stuck it allows the author to inform the reader. When a view or a room painted, even with near-original details through word processing techniques & racik sentence high-level, real writers still attempt to inform readers, not the display. The absence of the characters depicted in the location that makes the reader away from the story. The reader is human. She needs to present the story in the form of a man (the character) is also being seen these sights,

Creative writers will let the reader discover for himself what was the author attempted to show, when watching a character acting or dialogue. The reader would rather watch actors portray an event, a stage, rather than listening to a performer standing on stage monologue describing characters, setting, conflict, plot from beginning to end (Zzzzzzz .. zzzz …)

Harvey Stanbrough & Joan Popek understand this technique. Harvey Stanbrough for example in the recognition, choosing to use dialogue display the story. Church as occurred scene depicted through the character of a congregation is to confess to a priest dibilik recognition. There is no detailed description of the church, about the confession booth, the priest clothing, etc.. In fact the word ‘church’ is not listed at all. There are only a dialogue between two people from beginning to end. But people who read may feel as if it were in a church a sacred, quiet, beautiful and solemn.

Like a lover, the reader does not want to hear fiction writers say ‘I love you’. The reader wants the author to make it happen in the form of action & deeds. So what are you waiting; show, don’t tell !


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