Doreen McGettigan

Show Don’t Tell…

Writing Wednesday

Wednesday is the day I share what I’ve learned on my journey from writing, publication, marketing; and doing it all again, and again. The kind of information I wish someone shared with me back when.

Show Don’t Tell

One of the most common questions I’m asked when I teach a class or lead a writing workshop is to explain show don’t tell. I know show don’t tell is the rule, but I prefer a delicate balance between showing and telling.

Sometimes a simple tell can say it all and at other times the reader needs much more to picture the scene in his/her mind.

The sky is blue. That is telling but it can leave the reader with questions. Is it that dark, almost blackish blue color that signals an imminent storm? Or is it the bright baby blue color of an early summer afternoon that leaves us longing for such a day?

If the whole idea of show don’t tell stresses you out to the point of making excuses not to write, my advice is to sit down and write your first draft without any rules. Once you have a complete first draft you can go back in and do some showing.

Here’s a few exercises to help you with the showing part of show and tell: 1) Pause your TV and write down every- single- thing and or person you see in the frozen frame and what about that thing or person shows you what’s going on the scene. 

Is the person wearing a coat? If so it shows you without telling you that it’s cold out, possibly late fall or winter. Try to fill an entire page with observations.

2) If there’s an old building or a place in your story consider researching the history surrounding it and weave it into your story.

Recently I wrote a book and included a wharf in the story. There’s a wharf two-minutes from where I lived for nearly thirty-years. Knowing only bits and pieces of its history, I learned that it was built in 1681 and home of a ferry service for two-hundred-and fifty years. Still wanting more of a feeling, I went to the wharf and sat on it for a half hour. That’s all it took for me to come up with the words to invite my readers to see and feel what I was seeing and feeling.

3) Get a piece of blank paper and a pen and write something, anything for ten-minutes.

Whether it’s a shopping list, an outline, a short story or a scene description doesn’t matter, just write.

4) Binge watch a TV series or watch a soap opera for a few days with a notebook in hand.

Pay attention to what the script writer, or stage manager is showing without telling you and write it down. Don’t miss what’s going on in the background of each scene.

5) Change your scenery.

Drive a different route or walk another path. Sit by some water. It could be an ocean, river, creek or a puddle. When I’m stuck I head to my local mall to sit on a bench a people watch, writing down descriptions of the way they walk, who is with who and why I imagine they’re together. Paying specific attention to their body language I usually leave the mall with a lot of content.

I hope these exercises help spark your creativity. Do you have any show don’t tell tips? Happy writing, Doreen

Friday Favorites, Flop and Food? Party Edition…

Friday Favorites, Flops and Food

I know its cliché, but the weeks seem to be floating by leaving me feeling like I’m missing something or not living life to the fullest. One of my goals for this year is to slow my days down and to be present and mindful in each, and every minute. Another goal is to find something to be grateful for, and to enjoy in each season. What were your Friday Favorites, Flops and Food this week?

Favorites

Granddaughters Adriana and Peyton have birthdays a few days apart. We’ve been celebrating all week! My favorite day was last Saturday. The girls invited their friends, siblings and cousins and we spent the afternoon at A Taste of Artistry’s Paint Studio. Abbie Devers, owner and instructor taught the girls the technique of paint pouring or fluid art. This is where paints are mixed with a medium in one cup or in individual cups and poured onto a canvas.

It was a lot more complicated than it sounds but the finished works of art are impressive!

The girls party in the studio last year inspired me to have my main characters in a book I wrote to attend a class at the studio. I can’t wait to share more about the book…

On Thursday night, with a few friends from the Press Club we celebrated our veterans and remembered those lost on D Day. The Master of Ceremonies told us when word reached our soldiers in France and England that the war was over, they sang and danced. In honor of them there was a lot of singing and dancing!

I belong to a fabulous organization, Fem City Philadelphia. We had a breakfast get together this morning. It was tough getting up and out after all the singing and dancing with the veterans the night before, but I’m so glad I went. When women get together to support one another, big things happen. Do you have a Fem City chapter in your area?  I highly recommend you check it out!

Love or not love her, but First Lady Melania knocked fashion out of the park in London, France and Ireland. I especially loved the navy and white she wore in honor of Diana. Gorgeous!

We started season 3 of Blacklist this week. James Spader (Can you believe he was in Pretty in Pink?) as Raymond Reddington is impressive, and one of those bad guys you can’t help rooting for. That’s a sign of excellent writing for me. We’ll probably be starting season 4 on Sunday. I feel SO old!

Flops

The World Health Organization has classified binge-watching to alleviate stress as a- mental health-disorder and an addiction. We’re screwed!

Last Sunday I woke up with a pain in my neck. Now it’s moving down my arm. I’m suspecting something woke up an old pinched nerve injury. It’s always something, Ugh!

I’m SO behind on writing projects and deadlines are approaching. I need to step it up next week.

Food

With all the birthday celebrations and running around this week I didn’t do much cooking either. That needs to change next week.

My favorite meal this week was at the Drexelbrook Events Center, where we had our Fem City breakfast. The hot water for tea was actually; hot and available early. With Celiac Disease I often go hungry when out. Drexelbrook’s buffet offered a nice selection of choices for me. I had scrambled eggs (delicious,) hash browns the best bacon and fruit.

 

Another favorite was the snacks at the girls Paint Party! My daughter is so creative, how cute is this? I think I ate all the Reeses cups!

Spending the afternoon on Friday with granddaughters Peyton and Avery was a blast! We capped the day off with a visit to Factory Donuts in Mayfair (Philadelphia.) Are you starting to see why I didn’t cook all week? The donuts are MADE TO ORDER! They are hot and oh so yummy and I am in so much trouble because they are coming to my neighborhood!  (Media, Pa.) Peyton had a donut sundae. I wish I got a photo of her smile! This one is chocolate /banana. Did I say they were yummy? The only disappointment was they don’t have vanilla crème filled.

New Locations Opening Soon!

Newtown, Media, Doylestown and Turnersville Plus 13 other locations in development!

What was your favorite day, least favorite and what was your best meal? What are you most grateful for this week?

Have a blessed weekend, Doreen Have you always wanted to write a book but have no idea where to start?

Have you written a book and have no idea what publishing route is best for you? Are you struggling with platform building? I am a book coach and would be happy to offer you a free ½ hour consultation. For questions or to schedule your consultation:

doreenmcettigan11@gmail.com

What is a book/author coach? A book coach is knowledgeable in all things writing, publishing and marketing. The most important thing your coach can offer is to provide you with the tools you need to feel confident and motivated to create the best and most successful manuscript possible, to make the best publishing decision and to guide you in making the most effective marketing choices for you and your book. The services are affordable, and packages are available from as little as one session to sessions throughout the entire process.

Ghostwriting services also available. doreenmcgettigan11@gmail.com

The Insecure Writers Support Group

 

 

 

 

My favorite writing day of the month is the Insecure Writers Support Group posting day!

You are more than welcome to join us and can sign up here:

Purpose:

To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. If you’ve been through the fire you can offer your assistance, and guidance. It’s a safe- haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting:

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

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Friday Favorites, Flops and Food/Chicken Salad anyone?

 

 

 

 

Friday Favorites, Flops and Food

 

I know its cliché, but the weeks seem to be floating by leaving me feeling like I’m missing something or not living life to the fullest. One of my goals for this year is to slow my days down and to be present and mindful of each, and every minute. Another goal is to find something to be grateful for in each season. Keeping track of my favorites, flops and good food weekly has been a great exercise in consistent blogging, and a way to remember and be grateful.

Favorites

My first favorite memory of the week is my #5 granddaughter, Adriana Jean turned 10! Everyone says where does the time go but seriously I clearly remember anxiously awaiting my daughters scheduled c-section date. Adriana couldn’t wait and decided to come early creating a chaotic emergency c-section.

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Writing Wednesday/Staying Motivated…

 

 

 

Writing Wednesday

Wednesday is the day I share what I’ve learned on my journey from writing, publication, marketing; and doing it all again, and again. The kind of information I wish someone shared with me back when.

Staying Motivated

Summer is coming and while its my favorite season I also dread how unproductive I become when it comes to my writing. Spending time at the beach helps, it’s my favorite place to write but its also my favorite place to rest and daydream. This summer is going to be different; I have deadlines! Three big ones. What I need is a plan and a few extra doses of motivation.

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Friday Favorites, Flops and Food Memorial Day Edition…

 

 

 

Friday Favorites, Flops and Food

I know its cliché, but the weeks seem to be floating by leaving me feeling like I’m missing something or not living life to the fullest. One of my goals for this year is to slow my days down and to be present and mindful of every minute. Another goal is to find something to be grateful for in each season.

What where your favorites and flops this past week? What did you watch? What did you eat that was fabulous or not?

Favorites

The last few weeks have been so busy. Two big fundraisers I work on all year are behind me, so this past week has been one of rest. Resting involved spring cleaning my bedroom (lol.) I still need to finish both our closets and wax the hardwood floor.

Five episodes in with Blacklist and we’re hooked.

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Writing Wednesday/ Press Releases…

 

 

 

Writing Wednesday

Wednesday is the day I share what I’ve learned on my journey from writing, publication, marketing; and doing it all again, and again. The kind of information I wish someone shared with me back when.

Just when you thought writing the book was the hard part you were told you had to write a synopsis, then an outline, a proposal and the hardest of all a query letter. You finish all of those and breathe a big sigh of release only to find out you need to write a marketing plan.

There are three types of marketing and your plan should include all of them. Your chances of success increase when your advertising, public relations and promotions work together.

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Writing Wednesday; Let’s Talk about Book Proposals…

Writing Wednesday

Wednesday is the day I share what I’ve learned on my journey from writing, publication, marketing; and doing it all again, and again. The kind of information I wish someone shared with me back when.

Let’s Talk About Book Proposals

I’ve always been a planner, so it makes perfect sense I’d be a plotter when it comes to writing. One of our local libraries hosted a panel of literary agents a few weeks ago. I was surprised to hear them say they are now requesting book proposals for fiction and nonfiction books.

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Writing Wednesday; Let’s Talk About Excuses…

Writing Wednesday

Wednesday is the day I share what I’ve learned on my journey from writing, publication, marketing; and doing it all again, and again. Information I wish someone had shared with me back when.

Let’s Talk About Excuses for Not Writing

We all have them. Some of us call it procrastination and others call it writers block. Then there’s: • I have so much going on right now • There’s no time • I’m waiting for inspiration • You’re tired • It’s too hard to get published

You can call it whatever, but it’s an excuse!

Writing is HARD work and let’s face it nobody likes hard work day after day after day. If it was easy everyone that had a great idea for a book would sit down and write that book. Listen to me, you’re different. You’re a real writer, however, so you will be the one that sits down and writes your book. It isn’t too late; and you aren’t too old. You can do this, I promise.

Consider this, the average time to write a book is one year.

Writing only one page every day for a year would be 365 pages, or approximately 91,250 words. If you write two pages a day, you’d have that book written in six-months! Think about dividing that time up any way that works for your schedule. Maybe you can only write on Saturdays. Seven pages, every Saturday keeps you on track to finish in a year. The most important thing is to find a schedule that works for you and then being consistent no matter what!

Keep an accountability journal.

Most great things start with a plan. Do you have a business plan for your book? You may need a proposal when it comes time to find an agent or a publisher. A proposal is similar to a business plan. I suggest writing the plan as you go and tweaking as needed. An accountability journal is a simple but extremely useful tool. Use a notebook, a journal or a calendar. Write down what you want to accomplish at the beginning of each week and evaluate at the end of the week. Include any ideas or concerns you have in the journal too. If you’re like me great ideas will come to you and by the time you sit down to write you’ve forgotten the great ideas you had. Don’t lose your journal, it’s an awful feeling☹

Find a writing group, a critique partner, attend a community education class on writing and attend a conference.

Staying in and writing by yourself is so much more comfortable than risking failure, but you must get out there and find supportive, like minded people. The first few times will be difficult however, I promise you, once you get out of your comfort bubble and take those steps it will build your confidence, make your writing better and you will gain some awesome friends.

Develop better writing habits its never too late to learn a new way.

No matter where you are in your writing career, it’s never too late to take a step back and reevaluate your plan. Most importantly you need to keep on writing and never give up!

Happy writing, Doreen #keepmovingforward #neverquit #WritingWednesday

 

Have you written a book and have no idea what publishing route is best for you? Are you struggling with platform building? I am a book coach and would be happy to offer you a free ½ hour consultation. For questions or to schedule your free consultation: doreenb8@verizon.net

So what is a book coach or consultant?

A book coach is knowledgeable in all things writing, publishing and marketing. The most important thing your coach can offer is to provide you with the tools you need to feel confident and motivated to create the best and most successful manuscript possible, to make the best publishing decision and to guide you in making the most effective marketing choices for you and your book. The services are affordable, and packages are available from as little as one session to sessions throughout the entire process.

Ghostwriting services also available.

email for a free consultation.

doreenb8@verizon.net

 

Writing Wednesday, the Insecure Writers Support Group & Oddly Suited…

WRITING WEDNESDAY

Public Speaking Part #3 Preparing Your Talk:

I’d be perfectly happy to stay curled up in my comfy writerly world but unfortunately if I want people to read what I write I need to let them know I’ve written something. Does the thought of public speaking terrify you? The secret to a winning speaking experience is being prepared and practiced. Today’s Writing Wednesday tips are on preparing your talk.

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