Weeding Out the "Telly"

Posted on May 1, 2009. Filed under: concise writing, prepositional phrases, show don't tell |

No, not Brit TV. So often, we do a fantastic job of showing our character’s attitudes and emotions. Then, just in case our reader doesn’t get it, we tack on a stale, tired description that is telly and uneeded. An example of this: He grimaced in pain. How many folks do you know who grimace in pleasure (except maybe my cat)? Or how about: She tore through the corridor, and glanced over her shoulder to see who may have been following her. Most of the time, it’s not difficult to spot these telly additions. Look for prepositional phrases, that is words such as “to,” “in,” “after,” “before.” These phrases are often added by the writer who worries the reader won’t understand what is being acted out.
Writing Tip for Today: Look for prepositional phrases tacked on after “showing” the reader what’s happening. Cut off the phrase and reread it to see how much you’re missing. If the action isn’t clear, try using more specific or active verbs that pinpoint the action for the reader without all that “telly” explanation.

Advertisements

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Older Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 360 hits

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: