Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Writing Exercise 03: Show Don't Tell

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(Note: This is a unit of "Schreibaufgabe.de")

THE CHALLENGE
"Show don't tell." - What does this mean? Instead of just naming the feelings of a protagonist, you better show your reader the actions that can be caused by those feelings.
Write a half page of text and then edit the text with focus on tells. Where have you written shallowly? Replace the tells with shows.

QUESTION
This challenge gave me more trouble than I'd expected. I realized I'm a person, who likes to orientate on VAKOG. In my opinion, it's (another) good way to express your character's feelings, if you write, what he/she sees, hears, feels, smells and/or tastes in a particular situation. I think, if you describe those things, your reader is not only in the 3rd position of a viewer, but straightly in 1st position of the character. So, the reader could more identify with him/her, instead of just viewing the outside reactions. Sure, these are important, too, to keep the story going on, but in one particular situation - like the challenge was demanding - it's hard for me to stay on plain outside descriptions.
So, I guess this time my outcome is quite topic failed.

MY OUTCOME
Have you ever heard of Pavlov's dog? The Russian physician Ivan Pavlov found out, that he could make his dog salivate when it hears a bell ring.
Well, every springtime something similar seems to happen with Tessa. When the first motorcycles of the year appear on the roads, she automatically has to think of her first lesson on a heavy motorbike:
The good thing was, there were no thoughts about all that practical stuff, she was already used to bikes. For two years she was riding scooters and light bikes, so this moment was familiar and new at the same time.
She mounted the bike. Thank God she was a tall woman, so there she stood, one foot to the ground, the other beside the gear. The heavy bike between her legs, she let it slightly swing, could feel the heavy weight of the engine. One thing was sure, if she ever lose balance and send her bike to the ground, she alone will never be able to lift it up again. Despite, the weight felt good. It was a promise for pure power. A twisting ball was growing in her guts, filled with anticipation and excitement. Her pulse was rising and her breath quickening. With a last check on her leather gloves, she bended over and started the engine. Some little turns on the gas ... Yeah, what a sound! A loud roar of a wild animal. As the cycle underneath her started to vibrate like a big cat's purr, pure adrenaline was poured out. Under her helmet her smile got wide, her eyes became a feverish, glowing glance. Preferably she would have danced for joy, but she knew it was better to concentrate, she had hell of respect of that engine. Now she released the clutch, lifted her leg. A generous turn on the gas and the bike accelerated instantly. Wow! This was better than roller coaster rides, much better! It was you, who had the power, to speedup the engine. She liked the way how the wind pulled on her leather clothes. And as the tank warmed under her body, she felt one with the bike. Together they flew over the streets. Even those nasty gas fumes were now the smell of freedom. Only if you make the experience of riding a heavy bike by yourself, you could truly feel and understand the meaning of a true Easy Rider! She would never forget and always know.

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Continue with Exercise 04: Names Is For Tombstones

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