June Rodriguez
JUNE: Show Don’t Tell has been one of my biggest bug-a-boos ever since I started writing. I learned a lot more about this affliction recently from a presentation I attended. I learned that, yes, you can tell in your writing but you have to know when and where and in what type of writing it is acceptable. I also was shown that you need to do both and that there is a way to check your own writing to see if you are doing too much of either one. What is your POV? That is the first determining factor in Telling vs. Showing. Then you need to determine how close you want your reader to be to your story. This will determine the tone of your writing and the Show vs. Tell Ratio. This way of looking at my writing struck a cord with me. I have already started thinking about this ratio as I write.

SARAH: I've started paying attention to the style and ratio of the authors I read. It was interesting to see that the majority of the books I enjoy are heavy on the telling and only speckled with showing. I wonder if the show: tell ratio is genre specific. Are certain genres more prone to telling vs. showing?

DORI: As a reader, I much prefer showing than telling. In a thriller it is particularly important to draw the reader into the story and keep them transfixed.

JUNE: The current brouhaha over the big publisher Harlequin's new publication service has sent the writing industry and the big national writing groups into a tizzy. The rapid response has made a lot of writers in all genres nervous. I am also keeping a close eye on how things will go forward with the RWA national group. Even if Harlequin backs down right now there are things in place already that will probably take a couple of years to undo.

SARAH: This new development puts a kink in my game plan. Harlequin Historical is a line I planned on targeting once my MS was polished. RWA is a cornerstone in romance writing. Millions of aspiring writers look to RWA for guidance. When something like this happens, it shakes the foundation. Authors and newbie’s are being forced to take sides. Should an author accept a contract from HQ, they wouldn't be allowed to participate on the same level as other authors with a preferred publisher. For instance, what about the RITA contest? Entering a MS into the Golden Heart or the RITA contest is a rite of passage. HQ is a huge proponent in romance writing and to have them disqualified as a publisher in RWA's eyes . . . it's just sad. Getting a contract with HQ is like finding the Holy Grail, for goodness sakes!! What next?!

DORI: This is an exciting time to be entering the publishing world. I think it is a sign of the changing times. We should look at the changes as new opportunities, which is especially welcome as the publishing industry seemed to have shrinking opportunities for new fiction writers.

JUNE: Running into that moment in your writing where you lose steam and can’t seem to continue that forward momentum. I have been having trouble with this while doing the NaNo. Some one on the site suggested jumping to the end and write backwards?

SARAH: I've actually considered doing this. I've had to do some major reworking of my plot and characters. Luckily, the ending is the only thing that hasn't changed. LOL If I write those three scenes, I'll be able to get a better idea of how I need to tailor my plotline, so I stay on track. This should be interesting because I'm very much a linear writer.

DORI: While long fiction is definitely its own beast, I found that with my last short story I knew the final lines and then wrote the story backward from there. It made for the right build up to those lines. After all, what we want is for the reader to have a satisfactory sense of resolution at the end of the book.

JUNE: Through it all we just want to write a good story. It sits there in our heads fighting to get out. So we do our best to learn the rules.

SARAH: I know this is something I worry a lot about. From the three contests I've entered, I've had pretty consistent feedback about my plotline. In the beginning, I'd set up the story the way I'd always fantasized in my head, but after having certain elements of my plot flagged repeatedly, I had to do some tweaking. Sure, it stings like a smack on the hinny to have to ditch some really great scenes, but I want to present a strong and well written story. It's been a really good learning experience, because if 12 judges all clicked onto the same thing, a reader will too.

DORI: Found our conversation about story interesting. The question we bantered was kind of why do we spend so much effort learning the craft when there are blockbuster breakouts authors who don't seem to adhere to the writing rules. As we determined, bottom line is you have to write a good story. If you write a story that has characters and plot that draw the readers in, the reader will overlook the fact that the prose isn't perfect. On the other hand, take a book with beautiful prose but without the compelling characters and plot and it will go no where. Of course, what we as writers strive for and readers salivate for is a well written book that tells a captivating story in an expertly crafted fashion. I know that's what each of us Friday Night Writes participants want. Why would we want to settle for anything less?

JUNE: How big is your to be read pile and how much time do you find to read any of it? I still have books from the last conference I attended sitting in the back of my shelves waiting for me while I pile more on in the front.

SARAH: At last count, my TBR pile is 20 books deep!! I work my way through them slowly. Free reading (or research reading as I've taken to calling it) happens right before bed or while I'm waiting at my son's speech therapy. I don't get more than a chapter or two done a day. Before I started writing, I could easily read 15 books or more a month. LOL Funny how things change! I've started listening to books on CD. With all the driving I do in a week scooting kids here and there, I can easily finish an entire book. I borrow them from the library. The romance selection is slim pickin's, so I'm having to select books I probably wouldn't have before!

DORI: My "to be read pile" lines my bookshelves, but my immediate need to get to pile sits on my desk. Let me count, the stacks contain 56 books sitting at the ready. I would love to have the time to read a book a day, but not possible. Right now priority goes to expanding my reading to other authors in my genre. I've yet to fully explore and start to read the books of authors I'm in the process of, or contemplating, interviewing for my website. Right now I'm reading the new Kelli Stanley Book "City of Dragons" to be released February 2010. Just started reading it today and really enjoying it. Looking forward to doing her interview.

Have a happy holiday!
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