Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Show Days #1

As promised back in January, I'm learning to "show," and in doing so, I'm providing a six week series on just that. I've talked to so many people trying to figure out the best way to learn to show and how to do a series on it. Even people who are very good at this had a hard time telling someone else how to improve it. So school doesn't start until August, but I emailed the director of my MFA program and asked him please tell me how to show! When you ask a teacher for homework, you usually get it. So here is how we're going to do this. The first three weeks I'm going to write a paragraph putting a character in a random situation, and not tell you who the character is or where they are at. In the comments you tell me who you think the character is (age, title, however you want to do this) and where they are. The next 3 weeks, I'll post a paragraph from a book and discuss how it shows. So here goes:

"What's wrong, sweetheart?" Dad asks musing a hand through my hair. I shirk away from him. I'm not a kid anymore.
"B.J., behave," Mom scolds. "You weren't supposed to make plans this weekend anyhow. You know that."
I roll my eyes at her.
"B.J." Dad starts but the waitress comes to the table and slaps three drink drinks down.
"Can I take your order?" she asks.
"Yeah. Can I get a new life? Is that possible?" She touches her pen to the pad she's holding but pauses and looks to each of my parents confused.
"I'm sorry," Dad says. "Could you come back?" She walks away, and my dad's eyes follow her to the other end of the restaurant.
"Michael, could you make it a little less obvious?"
"What?" Dad asks her. Mom stands up and pecks my head. "I'll see you on Sunday."
I glare at her.
"You know not to make plans on his weekends. I'm sorry."
I clap my hands together in front of my chest and give a fake grin. "Yep, I totally knew he'd decide not to work this weekend."
Dad sighs and twirls his straw around in his soda. "You don't have to come, if you don't want to."
Mom stalls. "She should go."
"Yeah, Dad! I should come! It's not fair. Mom has to put up with me the whole rest of the month. If you don't take me today, she'll miss her chance to party hard! Hey, I've got an idea. I'm totally capable of making my own sandwiches and I'm a black belt in karate. Why don't you just put me up in a midtown hotel, and I can have my own life too! Then neither of you have to worry about me."

Okay, you tell me. Who is the main character? What's the situation? And where are we at?


  1. The girl's parents are separating and fighting over who's going to take their daughter? I'm guessing that the mother wants her freedom, as she gets up and is ready to book it out of the place.... am I close?

  2. Well, since Catherine already got the answer, I'll just say great job!

  3. I get the impression this has been going on for a while. As if BJs made plans assuming her dad would have to work, because he usually does when he's supposed to see her, but this time he's actually free.

  4. Interesting way to learn. So this is going to be an every Wednesday post? Right? I'll be back