Literary Agent Nathan Bransford wrote a good post on "show not tell" last week. I am reasonably sure I am aware when I am telling and not showing in my own writing. When critiquing I frequently point out instances of telling, eg, when the POV character is described as sad or unhappy. I also often point out instances of the author writing "he felt like" or "she looked at", where writing what he felt or describing what she looked at would do away with the need to tell of that action.
I still tell in my writing. In the novel I am working on, where the characters take a logical sequence of steps to set up their lives on a newly terraformed planet, every now and then, to speed the story along, I tell the reader a summary of what has happened between shown scenes. I might tell them how they did put in the building's foundations before a scene where I have them putting up the walls.
I've just read the national bestseller lists for last week and Stephenie Meyer's novels are back on top again, she has numbers 1,2,3,5 and 10. Her sales might have been given a boost after her novels where banned from some school libraries in Victoria for being too "racy".
I am still slowly editing chapter eight of Stalking Tigers, with the amount of time spent on it decreasing last week. Having tired eyes and blurring vision doesn't help.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Last week was one of the most stressful in my life. My father, who has the early stages of dementia, had a hernia operation on Monday. His health is not that great so the operation was not without risk. The operation went well, but at 11.30 that night I was awoken by knocking at the back door. I opened the door and it was my father in his PJs and dressing gown with an intravenous needle in his arm. We found out later that he had also removed a catheter, before shuffling out of the hospital about one and a half kilometres away. I asked him why and he kept on saying, "there was nobody there". The pain killers were obviously making his dementia worse. A call to the hospital found them frantically looking for him. They had called the police, who arrived a few minutes later and took him back to hospital. My father's deteriorating mental state is a huge and saddening worry.
On Tuesday I went to the dentist to have a crown put on a tooth. Unfortunately, as the dentist was putting it on, he noticed another problem, so I have another trip to the dentist in a few weeks.
Wednesday I went to an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) and found out about the cataracts that had mysteriously developed on my eyes. I was in for a couple of shocks. Firstly, the unsympathetic doctor said that there was less of a chance of success of removing the cataract form my left eye than the usual 95 out of 100. Why, I am still yet to find out as I was freaking out at that stage. Then I found out the cost - about $1850 for both eyes done in a public hospital in Benalla 50k's away, or $3700 at the private hospital in Wangaratta (the same private hospital my father had walked out from). Or I could wait 9 months on the public waiting list. I opted for the Benalla public hospital, with the left eye due to be done on the 21st of October.
After I got home, I fumed about the ophthalmologist's attitude, but unfortunately there is only one in Wangaratta, perhaps only one in the surrounding region. When my eyes cleared from the examination's eye drops, I read the information pamphlet given to me. I then wanted to know why me as cataracts don't usually become prominent until people are in their 60's, and that is over a decade away for me. I also wanted to know why my chances of success were worse. It is not as if I am unhealthy, in fact, I reckon I would be fitter than 80-90% of people my age as I swim three kilometres three times a week and lift weights three times a week. I also walk a lot. I rang the ophthalmologist on Thursday, but he, of course, was in surgery. He still has not rung back. I did get some answers from the receptionist, but not to the above two questions.
On Thursday I did some research on cataracts on the web that provided me with little reassurance.
On Friday I woke up with diarrhoea - probably due to stress - and missed work.
So I had a wonderful week. But surprisingly, I did more editing of Stalking Tigers last week than I did the week before. As they say in the not classics: go figure.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I wasn't as tired last week so I spent a bit more time editing Stalking Tigers than in previous weeks. Perhaps my goal at the moment should be to increase the amount of writing/editing/reading I do from week to week. I actually did some fiction reading too.
I went "inactive" on critters.com and I am surprised that I haven't been booted from OWWW because of my lack of critiquing. I have decided to devote my critiquing energy to KSP, but I won't be doing much until after my eyes are fixed. I continue to worry about my appointment with the eye doctor this Wednesday.
Stephenie Meyer's run of having the top four selling books in Australia has finally ended, with Kathy Retchs now holding the number one spot, followed by Meyer and then Richelle Mead (with another bloody vampire story). Meyer then has four to six. This could be only temporary as her sales will probably increase after some Victorian school libraries banned her novels for being too "racy".
I hope for more positive posts in the weeks to come.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Ridiculously tired last week. Went to bed at 6.30 on a couple of nights. If I had not figured out that I am a bit stressed at the moment, then I would be worried about it. Stressed about my cataracts; stressed about work, where ongoing renovations see the place in an orgy of disorganisation every morning; and stressed about my father's up coming hernia operation (my dad's health isn't great).
My father's operation is in just under eight days, so hopefully my stress levels will reduce after that. I see the eye doctor two days later and who knows what that will do to my state of mind. But the renovations just go on and on. So it would appear that I am not going to get much writing and editing done over the next couple of months.
I am about half way through editing chapter eight of Stalking Tigers. No critiquing or fiction reading last week.
At least the Lions won.