Show and Tell

My story this week was about a crime scene. I have been watching a lot of old episodes of Castle recently and wanted to see what I could do with a murder mystery.

Apparently, not much.

The problem that I found with the story is one I have struggled with a lot. That is the old rule of “Show, don’t tell”. What that means is that you need to put your reader in the middle of the story. Show them what is going on by describing the scene as they might see it themselves. It also involves showing thoughts and feelings by the actions that characters take. Instead, what I tend to do is tell the reader about it in a more detached way. In short, my story turned out to be more of a lecture about crime scenes and detective work than an actual story about a murder. Four days in I gave up and ended it. I’m counting it as a story because it is a complete scene, even though it sucks. I finished the week working on the secondary story I started last week, which is still going strong.

I don’t have anything against my murder mystery. It’s just that I don’t know who any of the players are. What I think I need to do is find a good character for my detective, then figure out what happened to the victim, including who killed her and why. Once I do that, I can plan out the story as a longer narrative. But for now I’ll just put it on my list of stories to revisit later.

As for my secondary story, that’s coming along pretty well, but I’m still trying to figure out what, exactly, is going on. I started with a woman lost in the woods. She comes across a lab surrounded by an electric fence and yells for help. She’s scared that she is going to be caught outside when night falls and freeze to death. She actually gives up after a while and starts walking around the fence when someone comes out of the lab. In her excitement, she forgets that the fence is electrified and ends up getting shocked enough to knock her out.

Part two is when she wakes up in the lab. Unfortunately, her rescuers aren’t very nice people. They have strapped her down to an exam table and despite her protests, they inject her with some kind of weird serum. Once again, the pain from whatever it was they shot her up with causes her to lose consciousness.

I have just started part three, which is where she wakes up naked in a cage. She feels okay and can’t even find the injection site. I’ll probably have her doubt her memories for a while, as there seems to be no evidence of the experiment. I still haven’t decided what they injected her with, or what it is supposed to do, but it will probably be something that will give her extraordinary abilities. Can you say “superhero”?

My story this week has the typical fairy tale beginning. “Once upon a time.” It’s about a beautiful princess who travels around her kingdom helping those less fortunate solve their problems. The family she is helping now lives on the edge of a cursed swamp. That’s what I’ve got so far. I wonder where it will take me.

That’s all for now. See you next week for another update.


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Filed under The Writing Experience

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