Don’t “show don’t tell” me anymore!!!

Good God in Heaven!  Not another SDT!  (Yes, I’m still going through my revisions on Book 2.)  I am going to murder my critique partner and bury her in a shallow grave of redlined adverbs, run-on sentences, and freakin’ SDTs, and not a court in the land or Above would convict me!

“He said ‘Let there be Light.” And there was Light. And God saw the Light, and that it was good.”

Let’s redline that, shall we?

He said (Do you really need “He said”? Since God’s the only one who exists right then, who else would be talking?)  ‘Let there be Light. (You repeat light a lot. You might want to consider checking your thesaurus for different words to break it up)” And there was (passive voice)  Light. And God saw SDT the Light, and that it was (passive voice) good NS.”

(NS, by the way, stands for Not Sparkly.  That is a short-hand my critique group made up — pre-Twilight, if there ever was such a day — to mean…  Well, we’re not sure what it means.  But we used to get it all the time in feedback from editors and agents when they rejected our stuff.  The rejector would say something like, “Just didn’t have the spark.”  And we’d say, “WTF does that mean? No spark?”  So we started putting it on each others’ stuff, because we’re mean that way.)

Okay, I realize it’s just a wee bit way presumptuous to compare my stuff to God’s stuff, but I like to think we have a friendly working relationship because we’re both creative types. Not to mention we’re both trying to sell books.  Plus, I think I have a pretty good sense of how God felt about people editing his work.  (Garden of Eden and flaming swords? 40 days and 40 nights and have you learned to swim yet? Ringing any bells?)

Not trying to make my CPs nervous or anything.* 

SDT drives me nuts because half the time I can’t see it.  Literally can’t tell why it doesn’t work the way it should.  I have to go to my resources, compare my butchered sentences to theirs, and puzzle out a fix.  Here are links to resources that have helped me:

  • Toni Andrews’s series on fixing a manuscript for contests. The whole series is great, so follow the links from this post on SDT.
  • A Seton Hill U journalism prof shares these great examples.
  • From Alicia Rasley’s wonderful, amazing, infotudinous site which I visit regularly for its excellent on explaining everything is this explaination of physicality.

I would love to post an example of something I’ve fixed, but — as God is my witness — and he is — I can’t be sure I did fix it.  Ah well, that’s what the second round of revisions is for.  (You might want to try to not end sentences with prepositions.)

If you have any great SDT resources, can you please (please!) post them in comments? My CPs thank you.


* Joey, I’ll buy you a drink in DC.


One thought on “Don’t “show don’t tell” me anymore!!!

  1. Oh, I hate SDT because it seems to me that half of the published stuff I read is T as opposed to S.

    And I always get ragged by editors to use “said” more.

    Thanks for the links!


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