Don’t Tell Me Show Me
With Nancy Ellen Dodd
Nearly fifty people showed up at the Clarion Hotel to hear Nancy Ellen Dodd’s presentation “Don’t Tell Me, Show Me”. It was a homecoming of sorts as Ms. Dodd was once a member of Writers of Kern. Her book, A Writer’s Compass, teaches writers to use their intuition to as an internal compass to create their story map.
The crowd learned a number of techniques to improve their writing. For example, Ms. Dodd talked about layering to build a scene. Much like you would in photography, try describing the scene from many different focal lengths. What does it look like from a distance? What details are revealed as you get closer? Of course, she also said it was important to keep in mind what we want the reader to see and what information or details the writer may want to save for the “reveal”.
Ms. Dodd pointed out that it was important to add details as your story can use them. She talked about the use of description, inference, and metaphor in writing and how their use can bring a story more depth and complexity.
She offered the group a writing exercise as her talk progressed and many writers were up to the challenge. I have enough trouble writing in a quiet room with no distractions. As many as ten people got up and read their creations at the end of Nancy’s presentation and they were all quite impressive. It was a fast-paced hour packed with a lot of information. Along with other door prizes, Ms. Dodd contributed a signed copy of The Writer’s Compass to one lucky winner.