PICTURE BOOK FOCUS Don't Skip the Scenes - Part 3 SHOW, DON’T TELL

 In this three-part blogNatascha Biebow suggests key ways to
write your picture book scenes so they have more impact

Don’t be tempted to skip the scenes in your story by telling in a narrative summary

It will be like watching a blurred video - totally unsatisfying. Your reader will be saying, "Hang on, what was that?!"  . . .  Your reader doesn't want to hear about the fantastic jump that your character did – they want to experience it vividly!

Take, for instance, a scene where your main character is in a fight and is angry.

If you TELL readers ‘Joe was angry’, then readers must imagine all of the details. They will bring all their personal baggage to the scene. Also, without detail, the drama will be lost because your scene feels distant and readers can easily skip over it.

Instead, SHOW and write it as a scene. To do this, you must first know your character and their motivation.  Then consider: when they are angry do they:

Clam up
Try not to cry
Stomp and throw things
Run away

SHOW, don't TELL!

In this example:

Here is another example:

Choose details carefully! Too many details will bog down the story, but if you choose the right vivid details, they can transport the reader right into a key moment. 

True, writing in scenes may require more words. But don’t worry! Write it first so it’s right. Then you can revise to make it shorter, but importantly the plot will be tighter and essence of the characters’ emotional journeys will be clear and so your story will hook in readers.

Read the first part of this blog about WRITING ACTION
and the second part about PACING.

Natascha Biebow is an experienced editor, mentor and coach, who loves working with authors and illustrators at all levels to help them to shape their storieswww.blueelephantstoryshaping.com
She has been awarded an MBE for her services to children's book writers and illustrators as Regional Advisor of SCBWI British Isles.

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