Monday, 20 July 2020

#WEPff #WINNER of JUNE challenge! URBAN NIGHTMARE! Toi Thomas Guest Post: The Revelation of Expression Through Technique.

Hi, Denise here.

June's winner for the WEP challenge, URBAN NIGHTMARE, guests for us today. Her winning entry was short, succinct and terrifying. Goes to show, we don't always need 1,000 words to get our point across. Again, congratulations Toi. Thank you for putting this piece together to inspire us.

Because of the poignancy and relevance of Toi's entry, I'm reposting here in case you missed it or would like a reminder...


DRIVING HOME
It’s cold outside, but I can’t wear a hoodie.

My pants are too tight, but at least it doesn’t look like I’m carrying.

My car is run down, but at least I’m less likely to get pulled over.

I just need to make it a few more blocks…
#BlackLivesMatter



Take it away, Toi.


The Revelation of Expression Through Technique 


Oh boy, is that title a doozy! I was pretty proud of myself when I came up with it. 

Essentially, this article is going to be all about how I discovered the necessity of "Showing" readers my emotions versus "Telling" them about it. This is not a continuation of the long-running debate over Show versus Tell. I, for one, think there is merit to both techniques, but that’s an article for another day. No, this is me, Toi Thomas, admitting that I struggle with these techniques constantly until there’s something I really want to say. 

For me, and likely, many writers out there, writing is an extension of my love of reading. It’s a form of escapism. It’s a chance for me to get lost in worlds and characters I’ve created. However, it’s one thing to write for one’s own entertainment and another to write for the masses. Pleasing others is much harder than pleasing oneself. I can tell you a good story, but you might find it a bit boring if I don’t show you any emotion. 

That’s what I discovered when I started to write something that was more than an escape. I started working on a very personal short-fiction project. Something so special and private I haven’t even tried to share it with anyone yet. Still, when using a nifty read-aloud program to hear my words from a different perspective, it was clear that they lacked impact. For the first time, I didn’t need a critique partner or beta reader to point out where the initial weaknesses were ‘cause I could hear them. It was a true revelation for me. 
I poured over that first draft and added about two thousand words to replace all the “feelings” words and convert them into physical descriptions. The whole process took thirty-six hours and I was mentally numb afterward. It may seem crazy to some to say that it took thirty-six hours to write two thousand words, but there was more to it. 

I wrote and rewrote. I cried, I yelled, I paced. Moved things around and restructured them, all in an effort to perfect this piece so that it could properly express the ideas and emotions I wanted to convey. I can’t say with one hundred percent confidence that the piece is perfect because I recognize that a second opinion is still needed. Yet, I know when I hear my words spoken back to me now, they move me. It doesn’t feel like I’m hearing words being spouted out, trying to make me feel something. I do feel something. Maybe someday I’ll share this with someone, and they too will be moved by it. 


Toi’s latest release: Why Are You Afraid?

There’s no easy way to explain racism, especially to young kids, but the sooner kids learn the truth, the better they can combat it and work to help make changes.

This is a light, yet serious, story about perceptions. This book was written to help parents start the race conversation with their children, whatever their race or skin color may be.




Toi Thomas is a geek-girl, vinyl collector, chocoholic, movie buff, animal lover, avid reader and reviewer, blogger, vlogger, and an indie author of children's books, fiction, and nonfiction. Find Toi online at the following links.

YouTube- Toi Thomas
Facebook- Toi Thomas Author
Twitter- @ToiThomas

Website- Lit Carnivale
Instagram- @CarnieTheBookworm


Thanks so much for guesting for us Toi. And congratulations again for your win for URBAN NIGHTMARE. 




And everyone, our next challenge is upon us. Please get your thinking caps on for LONG SHADOW. First post up on August 1. Entries ready by August 19 - 21. Once again, we will be practising WEP-Lite.



Denise for the team:



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@ToiThomas #WEPURBANNIGHTMARE  #WEPwinner #guestpost https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2020/07/wepff-winner-of-june-challenge-urban.html @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

@ToiThomas #WEPURBANNIGHTMARE  #WEPwinner  The Revelation of Expression Through Technique #guestpost https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2020/07/wepff-winner-of-june-challenge-urban.html @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

@ToiThomas #WEPURBANNIGHTMARE  #WEPwinner  The Revelation of Expression Through Technique #guestpost #ShowDon'tTell https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2020/07/wepff-winner-of-june-challenge-urban.html @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

33 comments:

  1. Huge congratulations to Toi. I loved her piece for Urban Nightmare and it has as much impact when I reread it (again) as it did the first.
    Thank you for this exposition on show/tell. Reading a piece aloud can be a damning critique can't it? I need to feel emotion as I read and I expect that the blood, the sweat, the tears and the pacing which went into your rewrite made a huge difference.
    If and when you are ready to share it, I would love to read it.

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    1. Thank you so much. Your words encourage me to keep writing and improving my skill.

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  2. Congratulations Toi for a well-deserved win. Thank you for telling us about show vs tell and for letting us into your own experience of doing it for your book. I quite liked the concept of moving back and replacing the feeling words. Best wishes!
    Sonia from https://soniadogra.com

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    1. Thank you, Sonia. Whenever I'm in the initial drafting phase of writing, I struggle to execute the Show vs Tell technique, but I'm finding that as my work becomes more passionate, I'm getting better at it.

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  3. Congratulations again for your powerful poem, Toi- still the same reading experience on rereading it here. It is indeed a difficult balancing trick between show and tell. Reading out loud is an editing tool for poetry especially, often the first go to option for me. Thanks for the insight into your personal process.

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    1. Thank you, Nila. Glad the poem is still impactful.

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  4. Hi Toi,
    Congratulations again. Your piece on the revelation of expression is something that I identify with heavily. Most of what I write goes through a phase where I read aloud, and I record and what i am reading. If it doesn't move me, then it won't move my reading. I personally believe you have to make yourself vulnerable to capture readers attention. And this is one way of doing it.
    Thank you for the great WEP read and all the best in your future writing projects.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Thank you, Pat. You make a great point about vulnerability, which has definitely become a major component of my writing process over the years.

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  6. Shared everywhere. This is such a powerful post, not a single word wasted. I applaud you.

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  7. That's a clever way to fond what was missing and how to fix it.

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    1. It's been very helpful on my journey to hone my skill.

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  8. Yes, reading aloud can be a revelation, showing us what is right and wrong in our writing. Fixing the wrongs, though, that takes guts and determination. Great post, Toi.

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    1. You're right, Olga. There are old projects I have yet to fix because I haven't had the guts to do it yet, but at least I know what I need to do to fix them.

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  9. Congratulations on your win, Toi! Your piece was so moving and all too relevant.

    Balancing show vs. tell is always a challenge. I agree that both have their place. I can relate to the feeling of writing something deeply personal and agonizing over getting it right. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, L.G. There are times when it's okay to tell the reader something, but when you want them to feel something, they need to be shown.

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  10. Congratulations on win and your book. Great post with great points and tips. I enjoyed it.

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  11. Hi, Toi! Congratulations on your win.

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  12. Great post, Toi, and something very relevant to all writers. Personally, I argue for a place for Tell as well as Show. At times I just want to say something in 10 words rather than a long paragraph. Good writing has both. The Read Aloud feature in Word is awesome, although it is scary to have a disembodied voice reading back at you. Helps with the phrasing and cadence.

    A well-deserved win Toi. I hope you go from strength to strength with your writing.

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    1. I'm with you. Somethings don't need to be shown. I once read a description of someone applying an adhesive strip when three sentences could have been easily been replaced with "she covered it with a band-aid."

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  13. Congrats Toi!
    Great article, I never thought of using a read-aloud software before to catch emotions.

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  14. Hi Toi, love your writing and congratulations on Urban Nightmare. Your article explained show/tell so well, it's something I always struggle with, so thank you for that insight. See you next month.

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    1. I'm with you. While I'm getting better at it, I still struggle with Showing, but at least I know it's a growth area for me.

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  15. Telling a story is always easy. Showing it, is an art! Thank you so much for your expertise, and CONGRATULATIONS! on your win!!! Such a beautiful flash. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you. It was an emotional piece for me to write.

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  16. Toi's writing always impresses me!
    I use the laptop to read my work back to me as well - it really helps!

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    1. Thank you. Glad to know I'm in good company.

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  17. Very interesting post 😊

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  18. Congrats! That was very interesting to read!

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