Today I have a tip from the lovely Christie Wright Wild, aspiring picture book author. Please visit her blog Write Wild after you read her fantastic tip below.
Show and Tell
In writing, we don't have a battle of the sexes, but a battle of pansters and planners. For those of us that might have a hard time with "show, don't tell," try "tell, then show" first. All you have to do is tell someone (your best friend, the blank page, will do) and then slow it down by adding details afterward. Rewrite it as if you can see on the screen.
Sometimes it helps to write a brief summary of what happens, the major plot points, the ending (or at least a few ideas). On paper. Then go back and show to your heart's content. For a novel, the telling might only be two pages. Or twenty. It's just a simple map. A guideline. A sketch. The route can always be changed. The scenery can always be added. Planning doesn't have to be a formal outline. You can write a one-sentence summary for each chapter, or a simple list of some of the main action that needs to occur. It's a lot easier to tell a few pages and show 50,000 words than it is to show 50,000 words without ever telling much of a story.
So the next time you hear "show, don't tell," think about "tell, then show." It will certainly make writing a query a whole lot easier. And that's a lot shorter than twenty pages!
-Christie Wright Wild