Fred Shafer - Showing vs Telling
“Show, don’t tell” is one of the most basic lessons that everyone learns about fiction writing.
By encouraging vivid details and dramatic scenes instead of easy generalizations and statements of meaning, it enables short story writers and novelists to create a strong sense of reality in their work. But like any other piece of good advice, it can be misunderstood, undervalued, and simplified to the point that writers miss out on everything it has to offer.
In four workshops on September 7, 14, 21, and 28, Fred Shafer will explore the meaning of “Show, don’t tell,” looking closely at the mistakes that are made in its name, as well as the possibilities and differences that good contemporary writers have found in it. He will take up a series of issues, including the times in a story or novel when statements may be necessary, the interplay that can take place between statements and details, extremes in both telling and showing, and the power of silence. In the fourth week he will discuss the themes of short stories and novels, and strategies for making them known to the reader.
Fred will write comments on fiction manuscripts in all genres, for readers of all ages. Please see Manuscript Guidelines on the OCWW Website for details.
Fred Shafer is an editor, writer, and teacher of writing. He was an editor for many years with TriQuarterly, the international journal published by Northwestern University, where he also taught fiction writing and literary editing in the School of Professional Studies. He leads three private workshops in short story and novel writing, from which present and former members have published fourteen books in the last six years. His own essays, reviews, and author interviews have appeared in several journals.
8:45-9:30 Registration and Socializing