Monday, April 5, 2010

The SHOW ME State-You've gotta live there

Does anyone remember when I said, three months ago, I was writing a series on revising a finished manuscript?
I sure wish the answer was NO so I could forget all about that.
Unfortunately, I’m afraid someone will remember, so here is lesson THREE.
Here’s what I look for as I give a book a final read through.
1) Grinding action to a halt--Read about that HERE
2) Consistency—Feel free to review that HERE
3) Telling
4) Dialogue tags
5) Comedy
Today, I’m writing about—Telling
Here’s the thing about telling. I do it a lot on the first pass. In fact I PLAN to do it a lot. Maybe you’ve heard me say here that I tend to shy away from tough scenes, procrastinate, go back to the earlier part of the book and fiddle with it, revise it, all to avoid a new scene that I know I’m going to do wrong and have to fix. Then, when I finally FORCE myself to write it, I have to give myself permission to do it badly, just plow through, set up the foundation and the frame of the house but don’t put siding on or windows and certainly don’t do any landscaping.
One of the ways I force myself through is with telling. I simply tell what happens. Well, that’s all fine to get it down the first time but of course I can’t leave it like that.
The scene that comes to mind is from Montana Rose. If you’ve read it, there’s a scene where Cassie has been dragged by a horse and is all scraped up. Red gets upset because he doesn’t like her doing the outside chores when she’s so vastly pregnant plus incompetent. So they argue and Red forbids her to do any more outside chores until after the baby is born.
When I first wrote that scene it was two paragraphs long.
All telling.
When the book came out it was five pages long.
If I had it to do over again, I’d have had the horse actually drag her.
Now I look back on that and wonder why I skipped such a juicy opportunity.
I wish I could show you the old and the new. But the old is forever deleted and you don’t want five pages to read today—you’re busy people. But I’ll say that to me ‘showing’ means acting the scene out on stage. I picture it happening live. Characters moving, dialogue, the furniture, food cooking, the smell of the log cabin and the winter breeze and the frying chicken. That’s showing. It’s four dimensional height, depth, width and time. And has the five senses. Telling is flat. Characters should always be talking, the senses of the reader should be engaged.
The thing I love about showing versus telling is showing takes way, way more words. If I’ve got a book that is too short, I can go in and find telling spots, (some of them are okay) and show them instead, act them out. It’s the right thing do it, but it has the added advantage of lengthening your manuscript greatly.
Telling is one of the main things I look for when I’m revising a manuscript. No matter how much I learn it seems I can always be trusted to lapse into it.
Any questions? Maybe I’d be better at answering questions than explaining to begin with. Just know that if you’ve got paragraphs of your manuscript unbroken by dialogue and action, then you’re telling. Internal musing is telling. Backstory is telling. It’s all dead, dull and needs to be ripped from your story and cast into the dust bin of history. If you do that, tell me how the dust bin smells and how your shoulder aches after you’ve done the ‘casting’.
I’m getting ready to send out another newsletter. Yes, I know, that’s painful for all of us. But I’ve got a book releasing in May. Go sign up for it. HERE
I’ll draw one name from my subscriber list to win a copy of Wildflower Bride, coming in May. If you're already subscribed no need to subscribe again. You're in.


Kav said...

Mary, I'm really finding your revising tips extremely helpful. In fact there's so much good advice on seekerville that I'm happy to delve into it while I procrastinate writing those difficult scenes! Thank you for enabling me. :-)

I just started reading Montana Rose -- one chapter in and I can already tell it's going to be another Connealy page turner. I'll keep an eye out for the horse dragging scene and try to imagine it as two paragraphs!

I think I'm beginning to grasp the difference between showing and telling...but I do have a question about backstory. Say you have a character with a past and you're revealing it bit by bit through the book by his/her memories. Since it happened in the past, that would make it backstory, right? Is there a way to turn it from telling to showing? Like making it into a flashback which is kind of happening 'live' in his/her mind? Or is it better to have those memories come out in dialogue?

Rose said...

Hi Mary!

Sometimes I think it's hard for a writer to know they're 'telling' until they put the scene or chapter aside and then re-read it. I can always spot it then because the paragraph(s) doesn't make me feel anything. Which just 'shows' how important it is to revise.


Lisa Karon Richardson said...

Mary, do the same exact thing. A difficult scene sends me looking for means of procrastination. (If anyone needs ideas, just let me know!) But if I let go of the pressure to make it perfect I can typically do it. I would much rather revise a poor scene than write the stupid thing in the first place.

Audra Harders said...

Coffee's on!

And buscuits and gravy!

And breakfast burritos!

Monday morning is there is no sustenance. Don't know what this world is coming to.

Mary, I write in chunks like that, too. I give myself permission to *tell* the scene in a couple of paragraphs, then go back and live it out. I start with dialogue, helps move the action along.

Good morning everyone. Have a great week!

Ruth Logan Herne said...


Kav, Kav, Kav.....

Honey, I know you gave me a GREAT REVIEW on WINTER'S END but that no way, no how gets you out of making coffee. Seriously.

I mean, girlfriend. Come on.


Big, BIG SIGH....

But luckily I brought along my new Keurig brewing system (you see it now on Green Mountain Coffee commercials!!!!) and I've got Kona blend, Emerils Big Easy Bold, Gloria Jean's Butter Toffee, French Vanilla, Vanilla Caramel and Vanilla chai from Cafe' Classics...

Jump in, grab a mug (no foam cups, oh no, not here... Good brew tastes better in ironstone and stainless steel ONLY) and sit back while Mary teaches us all she knows.

Should take all of a minute and a half. YAWN.....


I brought a platter of delicious strawberry stuffed croissants, layered with whipped custard, banana cream pie and someone left all of their jelly beans and fruit slices from their Easter basket, so I'm throwing them into the mix as well!

Ruthy (no longer anonymous)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Audra beat me in with food.

I blame the earthquakes in CA for that.

Kav said...

Sorry, Ruth...but I'm not a coffee drinking gal. I do however love to indulge in hot chocolate...favouring white hot chocolate with whipped cream on top these days. Does that count? Especially if the calories don't?

Pamela Mason said...

You know, one of the reasons I come to this blog (besides the food...I mean, fellowship) is your teaching. Not just any teaching, mind you, but Been-There-Made-That-Mistake-Threw-It-Away- teaching. Which just, somehow, makes me happy. Because it makes me think, I CAN DO THIS! Because I thought I was doing it all wrong, but if Mary Connealy does it this way, so can I!

Helen Gray said...


I do live there!!

And I've been practicing the art of my state.

I think I'm getting better at it.

I'm way too regimented. I stick to the path and write the book straight through. Only once or twice have I ever jumped ahead and written a scene. And then I had to almost completely rewrite by the time I got to where they fit. So I don't do it any more.


Julie Lessman said...

Mary Said: Internal musing is telling. Backstory is telling.

Oh-oh, I'm in trouble.

I tend to use both, not liberally, mind you, but enough that contest judges would call me on it from time to time. I know it's not right, but I do it to satisfy my appetite for getting inside the hero/heroine's head. In fact, I tend to put so much dialogue in my books that when I revise, I actually go back in and put in MORE internal musing (or internal monologue as I know it) because I feel, at least for me, that it deepens my character and gives me (and hopefully the reader) an extra dose of insight.

But Mary's right, anything out of balance will hurt your story -- even TOO MUCH dialogue, in my opinion, although nothing will kill it faster than blocks and blocks of print without white space, which is what "telling" (i.e. internal musing/backstory) does.

Great blog, Mare, and I cannot WAIT to get my hands on Wildflower Bride!!


Debra E Marvin said...

I had a scene to edit this weekend that was all tell. Problem was--the scene was very intense. I was enjoying a nice relaxing weekend. How do I get my head wrapped into my character when she is going through debilitating fear?

Anyone want to describe how they do this? I think of it as readying for an acting role. How do we call back on those moments to help us show the intensity? It was the closest thing I had to feeling blocked, because it was so flat on the paper and I couldn't bring it to life.

And now, don't go and tell me to take a flying leap out of a plane or somethin'...

Lindsey said...

Mary I have to tell you your tips are just so helpful, I have been worried to death about not filling the pages, and now I realize why I was telling not showing!
And the example of watching it all happening as if on a stage and getting every dimension of the story.
I have never thought of writing that way, it really helps me to see what I need to work on. Thank You!!:)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Mary! At least you have a system. I don't have a writing system or a revising system.

Can you believe my internet server is having problems and I can't send any emails!!!??? I can't tell people that Zondervan made a trailer--a little mini movie starring the model on my book cover--for The Healer's Apprentice? And I don't know how to put in one of those link thingys that Mary is so good at! I know this probably won't work, but here's the link:
and if that doesn't work, you can go to and click B&N Studio, then click Book Trailers and find The Healer's Apprentice in the list.

Casey said...

This was great for me, Mary. I really struggle with telling and I recently got my edits back from my wonderful coach. All telling. Ugh. Maybe she isn't so wonderful. ;) Just kidding, she is great!

But anyway, I really struggle with flirting with that fine line between inner thoughts and telling. Any suggestions would be GREATLY apprecaited. I will check back in. :)

AND THANK YOU I remembered your last post and found this one invaluable. :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kav, baby, white hot chocolate with whipped cream... Oh mylanta, I'm SO THERE, girlfriend!!!


And Pamela.... We've killed a lot of trees in Seekerville. Unintentionally, of course, but dead's dead. Mary kills more than her share and then makes Ivan plant more, like THAT FIXES it or something. Pshaw.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Deb, since Mary's not here yet, let's tackle this and Kav's thoughts... Mary won't mind. She LOVES when I steal her time since she does it to me ALL THE TIME...

I think you can use what Kav suggested to bring a part of the backstory to life.

As long as you only do this when absolutely necessary, it works effectively for dropping the reader into traumatic past, or an old scene revisited without front-loading and/or info-dumping at the beginning of a book. Anything we overuse becomes less effective (and Mary's great at balancing this, by the way, although it KILLS me to admit that publicly.)

And like Julie, I like to thread snips of internal musing/introspect in after the story is done because I know I tend to go overboard with either too much or too little in the first draft.

But for real trauma, nothing beats either having the traumatized person (usually H/H but not always) either TELL the story (eliminating long internal passages) or have them flashback, thrusting them into the middle of the moment with no way out.

I actually used both in Winter's End (Did you know that's the name of my first novel, available NOW!!!!) because one led to the other. Eventually.

Ruthy (in serious mode for once)

Mary Connealy said...

Kav, I'm a big anti-backstory girl. It's just the plain honest truth that almost all backstory is dead, dull. The reader is not engaged, the story is on hold while you do it.
I just actually wrote a 'flashback' scene and I'm not sure it it'll survive the final revisions. But at least with a flashback you can SHOW it. Act it out. Otherwise, I'm a big fan of telling almost all the whole entire backstory in one half sentence tidbits, usually as tags on dialogue.
I actually believe almost all of us do this already, but we then go in at RETELL it as a big backstory dump. So not only is backstory dead, it's also boring because you tell us everything twice.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Rose. I know what you mean about it being hard to spot. The more inexperienced the writer the more complicated it is, too. It's just something you have to learn, struggle with, wrestle into submission.
And when you say you can spot it afterward, that's a terrific way to put it. That explains why I can't do it right the first time, I think. I just can't quite see it unfolding.
I wonder why that is?

Janet Dean said...

Great post, Mary!! And very appropos for me as I'll be revising my wip soon. Looking for telling and ways to up the emotion. Revising always grows my word count. Thank goodness!

Debra, I don't know about Mary, but I have to get "into" the scene to write that kind of fear. I slow things down and add details and reactions. By the time I'm finished, I'm a wreck. LOL

Audra, love biscuits and gravy. Thanks!


Erica Vetsch said...

And here I was thinking you were going to talk about Missouri! LOL

I'm revising an old manuscript, and boy howdy, did I do a lot of telling. The tough part is, I'm up against a wicked tight word-count, so I'm having to revise carefully so as not to go over.

Mary Connealy said...

I spent time with Lisa last week. She SAVED ME, along with some other nice, nice people, when I was homeless. (well, except for the beautiful bed and breakfast of course).
But still, Lisa really took me around Amish country. I'm so glad we had that day, plus I went to church with her and so many terrific Christian people. Humbling to see the service so many give to the Lord.
I'd like to think my writing is a ministry and a service to the Lord. But it's pretty fun for me. No chance of getting malaria or going hungry while I'm writing.


Mary Connealy said...

Kav, you can eat whatever you want in Seekerville, but you have to bring enough to share.

Since it's imaginary food, I'd think that's the least you can do, darlin'.

Mary Connealy said...

Good morning, Pamela. I'm so glad, HONORED really, that my suffering adn imcompetence can be a comfort to others.

Somedays that's all I've got to offer.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Mary, The best news you gave me today is that its okay to tell tell tell in that first draft. Then go back and revise.

I can really see tells in other people's writing but find it more difficult to do in my own. Probably because I know in my head what I'm seeing. So figure its there on paper. sigh.

But great words of wisdom this morning.

Thanks Audra. Love biscuits and gravy. And no more lent. So I can indulge. yum

And you hot chocolate lovers--have you tried all the flavors Land O Lakes puts out in hot chocolates. yumm. And one of them is white chocolate.

Mary Connealy said...

Helen, your comment sounds like you're feeling BAD about writing the scene ahead then having to almost completely rewrite it.


The best writing is re-writing. It's part of the process. It gets better every time. And that work you did before, even if it eventually all gets through out is, to me, sort of solo brainstorming. You trying to work out the plot, when it goes a different direction and what you have gets jettisoned, don't think of it as wasted time. It was something you needed to work through.

Mary Connealy said...

Julie, whatever you're doing, keep it up. I love your work.

And you're absolutely right that dialogue can be too much. We all do musing. We all do backstory. My gosh how many times have we gotten judges comments back that say, 'too much backstory'. Then we fix it and get another set of judges comments that say, 'I need to know her better, tell me where she came from.'
Or some such thing.

It's alllllllllllllllll about balance. My life as a teeter totter.

Mary Connealy said...

Debra, those intense emotional scenes are so hard. Just like what I'm saying about telling. This is what I mean about avoiding the moment, procrastinating. You know you've got so much to accomplish in a scene. You know it's going to be hard to get it to really DO what you need it to do.

It sounds like you've got the foundation in and the story framed up. Now you need to fix it. It might help to move on, get away from it a little, proceed with the next scene, then go back. Then just start tinkering with it. I think you'll find tons of changes coming to you without a lot of suffering. (well, maybe a little). Fix it, then go on again, then come back and fix it again, figure on revisiting a really crucial scene many times. And each time it'll get better.

Vince said...

Hi Mary:

Wonderful post. I agree with you in a majority of cases but...

I believe that ‘showing’ and ‘telling’ are not good in themselves. The individual merit of each depends on the quality of the reader’s reading experience. If the reader is ‘hungry’ for backstory, then backstory exposition will be gobbled up and well appreciated. A little ‘tell’ can go a long way.

Remember Joe Friday, “just the facts, ma’am.”

If telling were bad, there’d be no story tellers.

The same goes for ‘internal monologues’. The right internal monologue can advance the story while creating doubt as to how a character will make an important future decision. This can increase tension. Just consider the doubt Hamlet creates with his monologues. There is no way to ‘show’ this level of doubt.

The real test between ‘showing’ and ‘telling’ is which provides the most rewarding reading experience. It’s not about writing rules: it’s about how the story ‘plays’ in the reader's mind. Don’t let the rules take your eye off the ball!

Every husband’s POV: “Just drop the dramatics and tell me what happened.” :)


Mary Connealy said...

Melanie, you use MY BLOG DAY to promote YOUR BOOK and you don't even include a live link.

But I'm here for you darlin'.
The Healer's Apprentice

I am NOT exaggerating when I say this may be the coolest trailer of all time.

Seriously, this is ACTED OUT. Like Zondervan HIRED ACTORS. Filmed it.

It is a stunningly affective trailer-a real mini-movie.

I'll bet this sells a lot of books for you, Melanie. And The Healer's Apprentice is a terrific story. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Mary Connealy said...

It should take a MINUTE AND A HALF!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????????

EXCUSE ME, RUTHY??????????

The thing is, Ruthy may be right about me having a minute and a half worth of stuff to teach, but here's the trick, I can make it last for HOURS. The glory of being a writer. I can go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on whether I have anything to say or not. :)

Mary Connealy said...

And, since Melanie slipped her book trailer in, why not Ruthy?

Shameless Plug for Ruthy's Book --what was it called? Spring? No, Winter's End. The same thing really. Spring. Winter's End. Whatever

Mary Connealy said...

You're welcome, Lindsey and I really hope what I said is helpful because sometimes, honestly, I feel so imcompetent.

When people way they love my books, all I can do is shake my head and hope they don't come to their senses.

Mary Connealy said...


When you're working through those old manuscripts, what I really, really LOVE is realizing I've gotten better.

I see what I did and know I can make it sooooooo much smoother now. So much more alive.

And yes, so much LONGER.
Good luck with that.

Mary Connealy said...

FYI on Melanie's trail link....scroll down a ways to find it.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Mary!!!
It's just that I have NO EMAIL today! I can't email a single person and tell them to go look at my beautiful trailer! All day it's been this way, and the day's half over! I'm seriously thinking of suing my internet server for lost marketing time.

Okay, not SERIOUSLY. Just thinkin'.

Mary Connealy said...

Vince you're right that internal musing can be a very good look into someone's mind their feelings, their reactions.

But, if your book begins with a heroine, taking a six hour car drive to visit her dying sister and we get ten unbroken pages of her thinking of everything in her life that brought her to this point--there's just no way to say it but that is WRONG. Hamlet isn't really 'thinking' To Be or Not To Be, he is talking out loud. It's a PLAY. So that's action. Consider instead if Hamlet was sitting there THINKING To Be or Not To Be while the audience chafed wondering what was going on.
The audience would soon leave the theatre, or throw your book against a wall.
Not a perfect example, But you get that we need action, right?

Kav said...

Not wanting to take away from your thread, Mary, but you did post the link to Melanie's book and I'M SO EXCITED!!!!! I was jumping up and down and Yahooooiiiinnnnnngggg only to discover it's not available until October?????? Whimper. That's like a whole spring and summer away! But very cool trailer, great book cover and the book itself sounds delicious...I can't wait!!!!!!!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Kav, I don't know you, but can I just say? I love you!


Actually, I think they are going to get my book out in Sept. It's not for sure yet, though. I know that's a long time away. :-(

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I need a lesson in live links...

Since Mary sent me to Amazon, they have the cover up of Waiting Out the Storm...

Oh my stars, such a sweet, sweet book!!! "Skeeter" is on the cover, she's the littlest kid from a family fraught with problems after Daddy embezzled money from innocent people and then killed himself...

Hmm... Sounds dark. And yet.... It's SO not dark. Mostly. I mean look at that little girl???? Doesn't she look like, normal? And the puppy, a Maremma pup, a dog that guards sheep... Great puppy, right??? And the sheep? What on earth bad can happen with all those sheep around?

Nothing, I'm sure!

Copy and paste this and go see this charming cover. Oh mylanta, I just love it!!!!!

Mary Connealy said...

Oh for heaven's sakes, Ruthy. We have talked about this before.

Ruthy's soon to be released novel, Umbrella--no, cancel that. Uh....Waiting Out the Storm

Kav said...

LOL -- I clicked on the new link, Mary and I have to say that the cover of Ruthy's new book is divine...and now that I know there's even a dog in it (something that was missing in Winter's End, I might point out) I will be anxiously waiting to read it too.

And just so you don't feel left out, Mary, I'm reading Montana Rose right now AND I put in a request at my public library for all your scrumptious books AND they're ordering them all in (yes, I know they didn't have the sense to order them when they were first published -- but we're way up here in Canada, so what can I say?) AND some of what I asked them to order has come in already AND AND AND there are mega waiting lists for them already!

Now to bring this all back on topic I know that I can approach all your books with the utmost confidence that there will be no 'telling' scenes.

And thanks for your clarification re. backstory and flashbacks etc. I see major rewrites in my future.


Teri Dawn Smith said...

Mary, What do you think about building to a point where the "backstory" gets forced out? Either the character gets pushed to the point where she blurts it out or something happens and someone says "this is enough, what's up with you?"

Just wondering.

Mary Connealy said...

Teri, I used to remember that all romance novels had a big 'telling' moment when the backstory all got forced out. It was usually further toward the end of the book. I always loved that. That 'confessional' moment when all the hints alluded to through out the book were finally laid bare. I just really don't like it front loaded, mainly because you need to jump into your story with action. Explode your story. Pick a big moment.

Even if that backstory moment comes if the hero/heroine are talking it through it's more lively than if she's thinking it through.

Mary Connealy said...

Melanie, isn't the actress in your book trailer the same one on the cover of the book?

I just think that's really a HIGH level of marketing, a great effort on Zondervan's part, a big financial committment. I'm really impressed. If it's NOT the same girl, the one they used looks really close.

Debra E Marvin said...

so, what you're saying Ruthy is that you did not actually practice with live rats to get the emotions right in WINTER'S END?

Thanks Mary, I agree, I'll have to keep going back to this scene. I've got Debby's newest suspense 'up on deck'. That should help too!

BTW, Melanie's new trailer is probably the coolest thing ever.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Same girl in the trailer as on the book cover, Mary! She's so beautiful, too, just perfect to be my Rose. LOVE HER!!! LOVE ZONDERVAN!!! GOD is SO GOOD!

Pepper Basham said...

Since Winter's End is fresh in my mind, it's a good example of a perfectly placed backstory explosion. Ruthy gives the reader hints throughout the entire book, but has a defining moment where the story is...well, forced out. The reader get to experience the pain of finding out the truth along with the hero. It's nicely done.

Pepper Basham said...

sorry, I didn't know the computer sent the first copy. My bad.

But shouting accolades of Ruthy's book is worth repeating, right? ;-)

Mary Connealy said...

As a general rule, I'd say putting RATS in a book is always, always WRONG.

I HATE RATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But trust Ruthy to use rats.


Mary Connealy said...

Pepper, don't worry about posting the same thing multiple times.

It's not the least bit annoying and it can happen to anyone.

Mary Connealy said...

Pepper, don't worry about posting the same thing multiple times.

It's not the least bit annoying and it can happen to anyone.

Mary Connealy said...

Pepper, don't worry about posting the same thing multiple times.

It's not the least bit annoying and it can happen to anyone.

Mary Connealy said...

Pepper, don't worry about posting the same thing multiple times.

It's not the least bit annoying and it can happen to anyone.

Pepper Basham said...

I love you, Mary.

The laugh was needed.

Virginia said...

Hi Mary, I am still looking for the Husband Tree and I will find it sometime. I have never read your books before so I am really looking forward to it! Your blurps always make me laugh out loud!

sherrinda said...

OOooo, I have been waiting on the edge of my seat for this installment!!! So was this the last one or is there more to come?

I'm bad about telling, but I have to say, I LOVE your system. I am still editing my first story and am having such a hard time. This gives me LOTS of encouragement!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Melanie, I SO love that book trailer. I'm totally and completely serious, how wonderful is that and THEY PUT MONEY INTO YOU????

GO "ZZZZZ"!!!!

Deb, actually I'm on a farm so rats are like our bff's... Think "BEN"....


Every farm kid has a rat or two as a friend, doesn't he/she???

If not, please don't tell my children. Ooooops.

Ruth Logan Herne said...


Rats happen.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

And Pepper, multiple shout-outs about me, Winter's End, Waiting Out the Storm, world peace, frappuccinos, and chocolate are ALWAYS welcome, honey.

Especially on Mary's dime.

But you WITNESSED that she actually gave me a live link. I'm so happy now.


But you continue the shout-out honey, because obviously Winter's End impressed you.

A lot.

As it should.


Mary Connealy said...

Virginia, do NOT be afraid to throw a temper tantrum in a book store. I've heard they respond well to that.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ah. I wondered how Mary's comment count got so high.

She hit 'send' a gazillion times. Way to pimp the blog, girlfriend.

(she'll do anything to drive numbers up. Seriously.)

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Sherrinda. Wildflower Bride is coming soon. May.

I thought winter would never end.

(hey, Winter's End...that's be a cool name for a book!)

But it did end, finally and now it's April and yes, May will come. I begin to believe it.

Mary Connealy said...

Oh My Gosh, I still find that awful Michael Jackson song, BEN running through my head on occasion.

Rats do NOT happen. Not if we fight hard enough, long enough, and keep looking up in case there might be one down around our feet.


Vince said...

Hi Mary:

You wrote: “if your book begins with a heroine, taking a six hour car drive to visit her dying sister and we get ten unbroken pages of her thinking of everything in her life that brought her to this point…”

Wow! I love stories like this! Especially if the heroine has an interesting life and is deeply intuitive with a vibrant sense of humor. Her thinking could alternate between light and dark; it could grow in intensity while all the time providing psychological insights that allow the reader to witness her personal growth and emotional coming of age. Perhaps by experiencing this growth, the reader could ride with her on the emotional rollercoaster that has her going from anger to guilt and from loving acceptance to forgiveness. If only she can reach her sister in time. I’m already in love with the heroine. Her fate is mine. She has shown me her soul. We are soul mates.

Even better: change the heroine for St. Paul on the road to Damascus. Let me experience St. Paul’s conversion experience and what led up to it from inside his mind.

To paraphrase the bard: the truth lies not in our rules but in our selves.

Alas, but you mentioned ‘my book’ and I do not have the power of words to write these things…
but were I Nora,
and Nora Vince, there were a Vince
would ruffle up the reader’s spirits
and turn every page
until the very foundations of Romance
would rise in a whirlwind
of reading enjoyment.


vmres (at) swbell (dot) net
I'd love to win a copy of your new book.

Tina Pinson said...

I've read several posts where people say I tell in scenes. So do I and I choose to do it.

Maybe not all the time, but I do what some scenes that are what might be considered telling. I even like omnisicient scenes.

I try to remember that I am a story teller first, and as Mary does, I edit, cut and lengthen scenes from there.

When I see myself as the story teller first, I see myself speaking the story. (Picture me around the camp fire) Telling it with all the inflection and detail I think it should have, when I translate my story telling to the page and remember to use the imagery and such I used just in the telling, it helps me paint the picture of my story better.

If that makes sense... it kind of does to me LOL

Thanks, Mary.

Mary Connealy said...

Tina, I like that. I can smell the s'mores right now.

Edna said...

I also give you 5 stars on any book I read, you just have it lady to write a good book that also can make this old sour lady laught when I am in bed reading.

I love your books


Mary Connealy said...

Hey, I just went and checked. I've got 17 new subscribers to my newsletter.

Counting my own subscription, I'm not up to 20. I will admit I've signed up using three different emails however, so not quite as impressive.

To sign up, Vince click HERE
Then fill in the email address you want the newsletter to come to.

Wait! Preposition failure.

Then fill in the email address to which you want the newsletter to come.

Correct, but it sounds stupid.

Fill in an email address and POOF an email will show up there in the unlikely event I ever write one and send it.

Yes, much better.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary, darling, am I signed up????

Because I LOVED the one I got two years ago.


Loved it.

Laughed. Cried. Ran the whole gamut of emotions. ;)

Missy Tippens said...

Mary, I procrastinated on a scene just the other day. I thought of you while I did it. Then I made myself dive in and tackle it. :)

Thanks for all your advice! Great post.

Missy Tippens said...

Debra, exactly! That was my problem, too. Didn't want to face the painful scene. Just didn't have the energy to write it.

sherrinda said...

HA! I know when your book is coming out! I was talking about waiting on the edge of my seat for this installment on editing! lololol

Man, am I good with words and communication, or what!? lolol

Missy Tippens said...

Melanie!!!!!! Oh my gosh, that's an amazing trailer! Like Mary said, it's like a real movie trailer! So cool. And the story looks wonderful! I can't wait. :)

Okay, fess up. Did you cry when you saw your name at the end??? Come on. Tell the truth. Because it even brought tears to my eyes. :)

Missy Tippens said...

And Ruthy, your cover is gorgeous! Love the sweet kid and puppy!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Actually, Missy, I didn't. It's a funny story. I found it through a Google Alert Saturday night and watched it, but my computer has no sound! So I couldn't hear what was being said. So mainly I was just so excited and happy that it looked so professional, and was wondering whose computer I could borrow on Easter morning to listen to my book trailer! I borrowed our associate pastor's laptop and listened to it before Sunday School. :-)

I didn't cry. To tell you the truth, I giggled self-consciously. But I was happy. I floated through the last two days.

Missy Tippens said...

Melanie, I like that. A self-conscious giggle. :)

Congrats! It's wonderful!!

Pepper Basham said...

Awesome trailer, Melanie. Beautiful.

Mary Connealy said...

Excuse me but how did this day turn into Melanie's Trailer Day and Ruthy's Cover Day?

Is it possible my blog post wasn't quite RIVETING ENOUGH????

Hard to believe, honestly, I guess I should've done less telling and more showing.

Rats. (okay I need to pick another vermin)

Melanie Dickerson said...

I'm sorry, Mary. Please forgive us. (And by the way, Ruthy, I love your new cover!)

Anyway, yes, Mary, I do apologize. You're quite right. We should be focusing on your riveting post. And it was good. There's no denying it. It was good. Show don't tell. Gotta remember that. Thanks, Mary!

I'll make it up to you by posting my fifteenth review of your fifteenth book next month and featuring you on my blog for the twentieth time. 'Kay?

You know I love ya!

Missy Tippens said...

ROFL!!! So sorry, Mare. :) But I can't help grinning anyway. :)

You know, unless it gets edited out my me or my editor, I have a mouse in my wip. Not a major player, but still fun. And I thought of you the whole time I was writing the little creature. :)

Mary Connealy said...

Melanie, I forgive you, especially since you don't have email. I understand teh trauma.

Missy, however, well, I'll still read your book, but at high noon, (they come out at night!!!) standing on a chair.

Lorna said...

Mary, I am sooooooo late to the party. I was finishing galleys, and if I'd have popped over here, I probably wouldn't have gotten them sent on time. I would have had to go back through them and double check--again-- for telling.

Excellent post. Thanks!

KC Frantzen said...

Stopping by Seekerville ALWAYS makes me smile. Such joy, beauty, self-conscious giggles, food, TEACHING, downright fun and fellowship...

I'm limping along borrowing a computer - will be away (sigh) for several days so know I'll catch up when I'm back online.

Mary - thank you for your insight and illustrations. It truly does help to know that I'm not the Lone Ranger... I've sure been fiddling with and revising Ch 1-20 ad nauseum. It REALLY is time to FINISH revising "The End"...


I need to go re-read Montana Rose and envision the scene as 2 paragraphs. Wow.

So excited about the Seekerville movie starring Melanie... :)

rats? yee gads.

Oh - thanks to the Seekers for letting me know about The Sandy contest. Humbling results to say the least but comments worth cogitating to be sure.