This year was a first time when I attended Midwinter Writing Festival, and to be honest, it exceeded my expectations. I really wanted to participate in each session, but because of my work schedule, I could make it only after 2 p.m. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve decided to go to “Showing vs. Telling” session, read by Matthew Mauch. Going there, I hoped (deep in my heart) that it would help me to make my writings livelier.
Mr. Mauch started his session with a proposal to draw some things: vegetation, landscaping vegetation, perennial plants, decorative flowers, tulips, and a Purple African Queen tulip. As we were told later, all of these drawings were his example of the abstraction ladder. The first four are abstract meanings that describe classes, qualities, ideas, and usually are used for telling. The last two are specific and concrete meanings that actually describe things the way you can see them, touch them, taste, feel and hear them, which are used for showing. The speaker was teaching us that for being successful in writing, we need to use showing 90% of the time in writings (the middle part), and only 10% should be left for telling (introduction and ending). He also gave us tips on how to achieve this goal: avoid plurals, adjectives and adverbs, use concrete nouns and verbs, and recreate the situation that led to the original idea.
Professor Mauch is a brilliant instructor, and I admire his teaching techniques. It was pleasure to attend his session, and to see him again. The time had passed like a minute, but it was enough for me to understand that I have many things that I need to work on.