在创意写作系列的第一篇文章中， 创意写作文学士(荣誉) 课程领导 杰克·麦高恩博士 explains the theory of '展示而不是讲述' 而且 how changing the way we write can allow a reader to experience a story through thoughts, senses 而且 feelings rather than through an author giving great quantities of background information or context (this is sometimes called exposition.)
The phrase 'Show Don’t Tell' is thought to have been coined by the Russian Playwright Anton Chekov in a letter to his brother in which he said: “Don't tell me 月亮 is shining; show me the glint of lights on broken glass.”
The "glint of lights" paints a picture for the reader rather than just telling them that 月亮 is shining in the sky. 在实践中, a 'Show Don’t Tell' exercise asks you to think about how much work you are doing for your reader 而且 how much work you're letting them do for themselves.
有时, the best writing allows us to make some guesses or connect the dots rather than just having the author tell us what they're trying to say. This kind of writing makes the reader feel part of the experience 而且 makes the story more immersive 而且 engaging. This idea was also used by Ernest Hemmingway in his analogy of the iceberg:
读者可以猜到水下有什么, whilst you show them only the tip of the ‘iceberg’ within your writing.
“如果一个散文作家对他所写的东西有足够的了解, 他可以省略他知道的事情和读者, 如果作者写得足够真实, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water”
When we think of our favourite Gr而且ma there are lots of adjectives we could use to describe her. These words are all really great for telling our reader about the character that we're trying to write 但 how could we show our reader that she's kind, 甜美体贴?
Maybe we could describe what she is wearing: A bright white fuzzy cardigan with a smile always on her face or, 也许, we can describe her singing in the garden or baking a fresh batch of our favourite biscuits because she knows we are coming to visit?
These descriptions let our readers guess all the characteristics without us having to tell them that “she’s really nice, 支持和甜蜜.”
This exercise will help you practise 'showing' rather than 'telling.' Writing the list is simple on the surface 但 has hidden meaning beneath it.
这个清单不需要很长. 上面应该有5到10个东西, 但, behind the things on the list there should be a story that the reader can piece together.
- or, it can be anything else you can think of that might help you to hide a story
You might have 购物清单 where the reader can guess that there might have been a nasty breakup involved 而且 the list maker is having to adjust to the end of the relationship. 这可能是这样的:
或者，为孩子们的生日聚会准备一份购物清单怎么样? It may be one out of place item that is hinting at how stressful the birthday party has been to organize. 这可能是这样的:
Remember the trick is to show your reader the story without telling it directly. There is no need to say “Organising the party was very stressful” they should have enough information to connect the dots 而且 be engaged by the story that emerges.
Do feel free to experiment with the writing prompts 而且 if it takes you in a different direction, 那太好了. 研究ing creative writing is all about widening your horizons 而且 experiences 而且 trying out unfamiliar approaches, as long as an exercise is productive for you 而且 your writing that’s the most important thing.
This is the first part in our Creative Writing Exercises blog series to help you improve your writing 而且 to act as inspiration. 新巴黎人入口的 创意写作文学士(荣誉) course offers chances to explore these ideas 而且 many more in greater depth under the guidance of published authors.
All views expressed in this blog are the Academic’s own 而且 do not represent the views, policies or opinions of the 新巴黎人入口 or any of its partners.