dimanche, janvier 17

I Can Show You How

"The world has lost its glory,

let's start a brand new story now, my love

Right now, there'll be no other time

And I can show you how, my love"

-"Words", Bee Gees

Bonjour Blog!

Things that happened since I last posted on you:

  • An earthquake in Haiti. My heart and prayers go out to all those people there, to the ones trapped under the ruble, the ones who are helping, and the families of the ones who died. I hope that Port-au-Prince can be restored soon.
  • On Friday my school had an academic rally and it turns out I'm one of the "Top Ten Freshmen" and I didn't even know it. I had to sit in a "special seat" in front of everybody along with all the other top ten people though I don't believe it was special because they put these humungous speakers right behind us. All I can say is LOUD. I think I might've gotten more deaf. So then I had to walk on this red carpet and shake hands with the principal, who didn't even bother giving me a certificate recognizing my position. All I have for proof that I really was in the top ten was the paper taped to my "special seat" which states my real name (and if you didn't know it already, my real name is not Vanille, Vanille c'est mon nom de plume). It was enough to convince my parents.
  • My friends and I are nerds. Our honors biology teacher won't sign our papers to allow us to go into Chemistry AP because we're "too young" and it's a lot of work. But my friends and I are determined nerds so long story short, we went to the counselor's office. He said that the prerequisites are an A or B in bio (I have an A) and completed Algebra 2 (I'm still in geometry) so only 3 of my friends are qualified whilst the rest of us are stuck in geometry. We might take summer classes at a college. But what's unfair is that we freshmen are actually smarter than those sophomores so why do they get to go and we don't?? Whether or not we make it through is still unknown, I'll keep you updated.
  • My Creative Writing teacher proposed this thing where we'll write like a paper of short stories, poems, and whatnot and sell it to students in the school. When she asked me if I thought it was a good idea or not, I pretty much nodded my head and forced a smile on my face, because I knew whatever I said would not change anything since it seemed pretty much decided anyways. Great. Now the whole school will be reading my writing. Can you say, help?
  • One of my goals has been to watch the movies that we used to have on video but can't play anymore since everybody's switched to DVDs. We finally restored one of our old movies - Anastasia. It's a bit more cornier than I remember (the last time I watched it was eight years ago and I was six), but still good.
  • I now own a Beatles shirt that says "Can't Buy Me Love" :D

So that's all that has happened. And maybe it gives you an idea of why I couldn't post as often as I'd liked. As promised, the next post will be strictly on showing don't tell (though there may be some references to my life). Okie-dokie!

Showing not Telling: Part 1

As before, I made a post on adverbs and how you can show some adverbs. Now, I will present to you another way you can know if you are telling and not showing.

Let's take these words: angry, sad, happy, joyful, pleased, confused, stressed, miserable, cheery (trying to think of non-depressing words), and moody

What do they all have in common?

A) It's only words! And words are all I have, to take your heart awaayyy

B) I don't know

C) They are emotions

D) Nothing! I see nothing!

If you answered C, then you are correct! Here is your million dollars and brand new cat! Just kidding. I don't have a million dollars and a brand new cat to give you, you will just have to settle for the knowledge that you are intelligent.

But what do emotions have to do with showing not telling, Vanille? Well, mon ami, I will show you right now! Let's take these examples:

As Tommy stands before Lila, holding his brand new cat and million dollars, Lila is very angry that he got these things by cheating and scrolling down to see the answer! Now, Lila has to settle for the knowledge that she is intelligent! BAH!

Fluffy is a happy dog.

Now, brace yourself for the next examples which are unedited and quickly written.

As Tommy stands before Lila, holding his brand new cat and million dollars, Lila's thoughts twirl in a fury, crashing into each other and circling her head, each calling out to her attention. She can't catch them all, but one message is apparent: Tommy got these things by cheating and scrolling down to see the answer! Lila's heart races and her cheeks become warm, then so hot, it's as if her thoughts are steam that pours from her ears. She can't hold it all in any longer and she slaps Tommy's face, the stinging bringing satisfaction to her tingling palm. No way is she going to settle for the knowledge that she is intelligent. "Bah!" she spits at the crumpled figure named Tommy who is curled on the ground, aiding his bleeding nose.

Every morning Fluffy licks his master's nose to greet him to the bright new day. During breakfast, Fluffy bounces up and down on his cute, fluffy paws and his eager, drooling tongue sticks out from his smile in the hope that master will be kind and give him a bit of bacon. Next is Fluffy's morning walk in which master is yanked around the neighborhood as Fluffy runs, barking, to every pedestrian, chases the always-frowning-cat next door, and pees in neighbor's petunias. At the park, Fluffy wags his tail as he races to get the yellow frisbee master throws.

What's different other than the fact the last two are longer?

Well, in the last two I have shown the words angry and happy. Pay close attention, there are certain words that are related to certain emotions. Notice my use of words "fury", "crashing", "hot", "slaps", "spits". All these words contribute to the emotion "angry". And then notice the words "bright", "new", "bounces", "eager", "smile", "wags his tail," and "yellow". These all contribute to the emotion "happy", except for "wags his tail" which can only be used on, well, dogs. I just showed you that Lila is angry and that Fluffy is happy without saying it directly as the first two examples. :) And I just realized that I also showed you that Fluffy is a dog rather than telling you like in the first example.

So if you can see my stance. If you notice a phrase like 'he is happy' or 'she feels confused'. Maybe you should reconsider if you can show this instead by use of body language and dialogue. Though of course, if you want to describe someone briefly, you can say, "she was a pleasant old woman who always gave me cookies when I passed by her house". Notice word pleasant, but then I go the extra step to include exactly why she's pleasant, and it's because she gives cookies (and isn't that pleasant?). (I am aware pleasant is not an emotion, but can fall under the word pleased). Sometimes I catch myself writing things like, "Tommy is sad" or whatever. And I ask myself, "can I show that instead?"

So always keep that in mind! And that, folks, is part one of showing not telling!

After the break,

Vanille :)

"When you are describing,

A shape, or sound, or tint;

Don't state the matter plainly,

But put it in a hint;

And learn to look at all things,

With a sort of mental squint."

-Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)

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