I’m doing the Show & Tellworkshop online again for OCC–not sure it’s good that this seems to be a perennial favorite. However, I took a year off from giving this workshop, and that was good–time always gives perspective (and new things to say).
The interesting thing about this workshop is that most folks get how to “tell” a story, but don’t get that good “telling” takes as much work to craft beautiful prose as does good “showing” (or action). In fact, I sometimes think a beautiful narrative passage is even more work. This is a difficult concept to teach, because, it’s like music–you have an ear for it (language or music) or you don’t. If you don’t there’s no teaching it.
It’s also interesting in that so many writers are hung up on having been told to show more that that’s all they want to focus on. And the real trick to learn is not just to show, but to show the RIGHT things. It’s not the details, the actions, that make a character–it’s the right actions.
The other interesting thing will be to see what mix is in the workshop. There are always more than a few lurkers, which is cool, but it’s not like a classroom where you can look at the quiet ones and know which ones get it and which ones are struggling. There are a few teacher’s pets who do every assignment and ask tons of questions but I sometimes have the feeling they’re too focused on doing it ‘right’ and that can defeat the point of learning. There are the difficult ones, because email as a form of communication can leave much to be desired, and sometimes I wonder why these folks signed up for anything since they just seem to want to do things their ways. And then there are the surprises. That’s the best part of any workshop. We’ll see what this one brings.