Show. Don't tell.

The other day, I asked my sister to critique a sci-fi story I had started writing. Like you do (right?), I sent her the piece half expecting to be patted on my back and told it was close to perfect. I mean, she is my sister. I have seen her eat boogers on a dare. How much hate and venom can she have in her heart? 🤨

I should have known better! You give a booger eater a piece to belittle and just watch her blossom into Michiko Kakutani.

Once my breathing settled and my ears cooled down again - do your ears too get hot when you are upset? - I had to admit that she made some interesting points 🤔.

As a parvenu writer, I am guilty of a few rookie mistakes. Case in point...


But this isn't even the worst of it. See if you can pick up on it.

Here is what I wrote in this fictional world I was building. It describes the effect of excessive Meditation on people. 'PFC' stands for pre-frontal cortex.

Brain scans had shown that the PFC had started taking over instinct. The first symptoms were the most innocent. People started dawdling in front of dessert debating themselves into a standstill whether they should just reach out and grab a donut or mind their weight.

My sister suggested a great alternative which not only conveyed the idea of analysis-paralysis but did so while moving the story forward. Here's the cut-rate Michiko herself...


Much as I don't want to admit it, her method is way better😡. It introduces the idea of Ennui and analysis paralysis. It tells the reader that systems have been put in place to get people out of their own mental fog. It's just a smarter way to raise the level of story-telling. But whatever! She still ate boogers as a kid!🤢

The Upshot

On the one hand, today was supposed to be fiction writing day where I was going to write chapter 2 of my Opus #1 - Evolution. On the other, the first person to give me feedback has already shown me a better way to move my story forward.

Since I don't have the energy to go back and revise chapter 1, I did the next best thing. I am writing a post for all you parvenu, upstart, novice, rookie writers out there. Show. Don't tell. Your readers will thank you. And Michiko won't eat you for breakfast...she likes boogers.

Show. Don't tell.
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