Show, Don’t Tell
by Yeny Maria Rowley
“Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty”
(Job 5:17, NIV).
I appreciate the feedback I receive from writing critique groups. I treasure the fellowship with other writers who build me up with their edits and observations. They keep my manuscripts rooted in the Truth.
The suggestion that challenges me most is to show more and tell less. This enables the reader to experience the story.
This skill proves tough to develop. Telling the reader, “She was happy” takes less effort than to showing the reader her happiness by her action. “She skipped all the way home, grinning from ear to ear,” allows the reader to experience the feelings of the character.
As another example, I could revive the boring phrase, “the old house” by writing “the house slouched in a weed-choked yard.”
Notice how the Bible shows various attributes about Mary that the author didn’t tell us about her soul. Mary traveled with Joseph approximately 100 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem when she was almost nine months pregnant to register for a census (Luke 2:4). Who would sign up to travel in such conditions? Mary did. She showed submission to her soon-to-be husband.
Before that, the angel appeared to Mary to tell her she would conceive and give birth to a son and she was to call him Jesus. Mary answered by declaring herself the Lord’s servant (Luke 1:38).
These two examples show Mary’s willingness to submit. Her submissiveness attracted God’s favor (Luke 1:30).
As writers, do we let correction overwhelm us when we show our defensive and resentful side? This could cause us to miss God’s favor.
Or, like Mary, will our spirits show enough submission to attract the Holy Spirit to impregnate us with God’s perfect modifications for our writing?
Father God, thank you for blessing us through your correction. Help us to show submission to your ways instead of telling you why we believe ours are better. May we attract your favor as we walk towards you in our wordsmithing. Eclipse our ego with the glory of your perfect will over our craft. In Jesus’ name, Amen.