Stories you can see?

There are many terms out there which are misleading. For example “Roger” in some cases may have nothing to do with a man named Roger. The term “storytelling”, too, is somewhat of a misnomer. The first thing any writing guide will tell you is to “show and not tell”. This advice, while full of goodwill, is about as helpful as my frustrated calculus teacher going “think!”. 

A while ago, some helpful stranger pointed out to me this particular problem. Rather than spouting that rule, he/she gave me something to really think about. Compare the following statements. 

1. She was very angry. 

2. She took to beating every pillow till she was covered in fluff. 

Sure, the second one could potentially be about a woman in the mental asylum, but it is much more lively. This had me thinking. Again, compare the two statements below. 

1. He suppressed his anger.

2. He strangles his anger. 

Without a doubt, I find the second sentence much more meaningful. The rule of thumb for me has thus become: can I picture this in my head? 

My understanding of writing is still rather primitive. I invite anyone to join in and enlighten me. Thank you. 


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