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Sunday, October 11, 2015

James Lee Burke and show, don’t tell

“The evening sky was streaked with purple, the color of torn plums, and a light rain had started to fall when I came to the end of the blacktop road that cut through twenty miles of thick, almost impenetrable scrub oak and pine and stopped at the front gate of Angola penitentiary.”
― James Lee BurkeThe Neon Rain

cj Sez: Every adjective works with the verb in that sentence to carry the action forward. The reader is on the road with the character, sees what the character sees, and ends up where the character does. A fantastic opening line to draw in the reader, and a wonderful example of show, don’t tell.

That is not to say that poetic words don’t have a place in a novel. Burke uses them also, and they still show what he wants his reader to see.

Write your descriptions, tell your readers everything, then re-write everything in a way that shows them. How to do that, you ask? Read, read, and read some more. Get familiar with how your favorite author handles the task. It just takes practice …writing and re-writing and re-writing and re-writing, and . . .

I’ve had a few of those. (Makes for elephant hide skin.)

Hope you’ve had a chance to read Choosing Carter. Let me know what you think, okay?

Thanks, and that’s it for today. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

Choosing Carter (Pub: Crimson Romance) (Amazon)  (B&N)
Deadly Star (Pub: Crimson Romance)  

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