The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Show not Tell the modern #writers' lament #amwriting #writetips

Show not Tell the modern writers' lament ...

 I've noticed, particularly in romance with all its sub-genres, the requirement to show not tell has become a source of stress. Maybe I've just seen more posts and comments in social media from romance authors about this.

What's brought me to the point of writing a blog about the issue? In a recent manuscript I had two places where it was important to tell, shock horror, my editor wanted me to show not tell. I ignored her. It seemed to me that in 25K of words if I only had two places she could identify as telling then she could fuck off. In every story there will be some telling. It can't be all show. 

I recently read a few erotic romances that also helped force this blog post from me.
I read romance, mystery, detective stories, adventure stories, science-fiction, in fact, I read heaps, but only in all the romance genres do I see some of the most ridiculous ways the author has obviously devised to show not tell.

I can't say I blame them. I never write a bad review or denigrate their work in any way because, hell, I'm doing the same. Maybe I found it harder to show not tell in the beginning because a lot of my day job involves factual descriptive writing. The showing in this case is a picture of the item in the brochure or auction catalog.

Try to always show the action instead of using the word , was, and you simply can't. 

Try to dream up more than say ten ways of showing someone feels something without resorting to curly phrases. 

Here are some ways to show not tell and other things I've learned over the years.

I've developed a way of making things easier over the last few years of writing romance. I lead with action where I possibly can. I use an active voice. (describes a sentence where the subject performs the action stated by the verb.)  I use specific details and sensory images. It's helped me, but as a tactic to totally eliminate telling it hasn't worked. The reason ... you can't eliminate it, or the writing becomes so detailed, so long that readers can be turned off. I've seen it become boring, too. 

I mix the length of my sentences, some long some short. For loads of emphasis I will sometimes have a handful of short sentences together. 

From Rescuing Cade a mix of tactics,

She put out a hand to his upper arm.
“Don’t leave yet, Cade. You came here for a reason. Maybe I can help you discover why.”
Her hand on his arm burned right through his suit jacket and shirt, forcing goose bumps to raise all the way to his jaw. He glanced at her hand and shrugged it off, eager to rid himself of the strange effect, but he didn’t leave. He gazed at her. Could he tell another woman what Jayne had said? Maybe it will help. I won’t see Marissa again. I’ll never be back here.

“I came with a friend, a member of The Club, who thought the lifestyle might help me, to, well, to regain confidence …” Cade saw Marissa’s expression change. A flicker of amusement passed through her eyes. Cade’s heart sank.
Copyright Elodie Parkes 2015 Evernight Publishing


I mix showing with telling. This is a story I'm writing after all. I also write in scenes. I use dialogue as a way of building a picture where appropriate.
My work is never in first person and I think that helps me show not tell.


The whole point of showing is to engage the reader in a picture of what's going on. Instead of telling them, make them feel it with sensory words and descriptors. Sentences that paint the picture of what a character is feeling interspersed with a little scene descriptor and a sentence or two of telling, makes the story flow. Dialogue between the characters helps, too.

Here is a passage from The Summer Heat that mixes all the tips above to give what I hope is an interesting, engaging picture of the two heroes.


Evan narrowed his eyes with suspicion. “Not seeing Annabel tonight then? Look, don’t stop seeing her for me. Don’t think you have to keep poor, lonely, Evan company like I’m some lame duck.”

Nate winced. “That’s not it. You’re still my best friend. You think you’re in love with her don’t you? Maybe you are. Ask her out, check out your feelings.”

Evan snorted. “Will you stop? Maybe this, maybe that. I’m not happy about the way I feel. It’s a fucking shock if you must know.”

Nate pushed his coffee cup to one side and leaned close to Evan. “Don’t screw up our friendship. She likes you. We’ve said she gave us both come on signals. Test it out. Don’t storm off from where you live to a houseboat on the river.” He cast around for the right words as he compared the usually happy, even-tempered way Evan met life with his outburst. “This isn’t like you. Hell, Evan, frankly I’m … distraught.”

Evan silently stared into Nate’s eyes, until Nate looked away.

He traced a wrinkle in the blue checked tablecloth with his finger. “Evan, I’m just saying. I love her, but I could stand to see you with her, too. You’ve noticed she’s attracted to you. We could both see her. It happens.”

Evan stood abruptly, gave Nate a look of incredulity, and then stormed off along the seafront toward his boat sheds. His coffee cup rattled on the saucer as the table shook from the force of his departure.

Nate took a deep breath. Well, that went just fucking great. About to return to his office, he froze when Evan strode back and dragged the chair to the table from the yard or so away he’d tossed it on leaving.

“Let me get this straight. You’re saying you wouldn’t mind if I asked Annabel out … that we could both see her. Assuming she wants that. You do know I’d make love to her? We’d share her? I don’t know how I feel about that … yet, but we could try it. Once it started though, I couldn’t go back to not seeing her. Just sayin’.” Evan frowned and ran his hands through his hair.

Nate nodded. “I wouldn’t mind …if she agreed. I love her, but hell, look at the shape you’re in. You mean a lot to me. We might as well be brothers. There are things I couldn’t have got through without you being around.”

Evan leaned back in his chair, his frown gone. He picked up a napkin and blotted the coffee splashed on the table top.


Copyright Elodie Parkes 2014 Evernight Publishing The Summer Heat, contemporary menage erotic romance



*****

She pulled back her quilt and invited him into bed.
Jason dropped his towel and cuddled Simi close.
The softness of her skin had increased even further with her shower. Her hair was damp, and Jason wound the length around his hand and pulled her head to his for a kiss. A light herb fragrance surrounded him. Her returning kiss was deliciously sexy. He crushed her to his body.
He left his face close to hers when he finally ended the kiss. He wanted to make love to her, but his heavy eyelids closed.
Simi stilled beside him and he fell asleep.

©Elodie Parkes: Siren Publishing


*****

Ten tips to avoid telling can be found at
http://www.scribendi.com/advice/how_to_avoid_telling_writing_in_fiction.en.html

There's even a Wiki page about show not tell,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Show,_don%27t_tell

A cool list of ways to show not tell can be found at,

For a run down on show not tell that backs up what I've said above visit, http://www.mariavsnyder.com/advice/showvstell.php
This post also goes into detail about writing styles and POV, but it's a good post.

I'm leaving you with this thought. Sometimes it's a fine line between show and tell. Sometimes writers get told not to do this and that. I think if readers love what you've written then you've got something right. Good luck to you all.
If you know any better tips and websites for help, please comment on this blog for others.






Boy Toy,The Cougar Journals Book 2 from @jewelquinlan enjoy an excerpt @EvernightPub


New Release: Boy Toy
The Cougar Journals Book 2
by Jewel Quinlan from Evernight Publishing

Blurb: Left hot, bothered, and disappointed by Grant—the man she had high hopes for—Ava breaks up with him and heads out on a ski weekend with a group of friends. Harrison, a twenty-three year old member of the group, can’t help but take notice of her and makes advances. Some of which Ava can’t brush aside when they are stuck sharing a room together. Will she give in to Harrison’s moves or go home and work things out with Grant?


Where you can buy Boy Toy:

Evernight Publishing  |  Amazon  |  All Romance eBooks  |  Barnes and Noble  |  BookStrand
iBooks or add it to your shelf on Goodreads



Enjoy this excerpt from Boy Toy:

The covers shifted again and I could feel the section near me, behind my back, lifting as he scooted closer. The warmth of his body was settled very close to and almost against mine, mirroring my shape like a puzzle piece. His voice was a low whisper in my ear, a single-syllable question. “Spoon?”
My mind went through rapid-fire calculations. Spoon? What would be the consequences of that? Should I do it? I churned through the outcomes of either saying yes or no but, after a moment, threw my pros and cons list out the window as the conclusion of, what the hell, why not? came to me. He was cute and I could use a little spooning. It wasn’t something I got to do often.
“Mm-hm.” I scooted backward into his embrace.
He slid his hand around my waist, his fingers sliding along my rib cage all the way around until he was cupping my other side. Then he nestled his face in my hair and inhaled my scent. “You smell nice,” he whispered.
“Thanks,” I murmured back. For some reason I kept my voice low as if talking too loud would break the spell. It felt so good to have all six feet of his firm body stretched along mine. Even pressed against my back I could sense the various muscles making contact with me. The slow rhythm of his breath just skimming my ear was nice. I let go of all the typical female questions that rose up in my mind at the scenario and enjoyed the moment.
There had been so many times in my life I had imagined waking up in bed with my husband just like this, feeling a new day awakening with me safe and cozy in my true love’s arms. It was one of those dreams that, now, was becoming painful to replay as my singleness continued to stretch out year after year. In a moment like this it was easy to take it out of the closet, dust it off, and use it as a sort of atmosphere to what was actually going on. When things like this happened it reinforced the fact that I really did want to get married. It was just a matter of Mr. Right showing up. No matter how my logical mind kept trying to force Grant into the shape of that hole, my true self stood back shaking its head and saying, “It’s not going to work. There’s too big of an issue there.”
After a few minutes of laying in silence together with the rise and fall of our chests matching, I could feel myself starting to slip away again into dreamland. But then Harrison shifted his hips, scooting closer to my backside. My eyes shot open as it registered exactly what was pressing against my ass and lower back.
Morning wood!


About the Author:
Restless by nature, Jewel Quinlan is an avid traveler and has visited 16 countries so far. Lover of ice cream, beer and red wine she tries to stay fit when she’s not typing madly on her computer concocting another tale. In her spare time she likes to do yoga, hike, learn German and play with her spoiled Chihuahua; Penny. It is Penny’s mission in life to keep Jewel from the keyboard. But, with the help of dog-chew-making-companies, Jewel has been able to distract her canine companion and continues to get thousands of words on the page for your enjoyment.

**Jewel will be attending RomCon 2015 in Denver CO September 25-27. Readers can get tickets to sit with her at the reader luncheon event.

For more information about Jewel Quinlan


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Wolf-shifter Wednesday with #MWTease from 'Wolf Bound' The Venn Pack in Love 2 WIP #amwriting

#MWTease from the WIP 'Wolf Bound' 
A paranormal erotic romance in The Venn Pack in Love series

Read the tease:


The café door opened, setting the small, wooden wind chime tinkling prettily. Chosen by Liberty especially for its mellow tones, the sound brought Liberty’s gaze up to check on the person entering. Her heart took an enormous leap then began pounding fast. The customer was the gorgeous man who’d captured her attention a week ago, and he smiled at her as if he knew her. Liberty felt rather than saw him walk to the café counter. Time hung suspended at his approach. Her heart hammered, making her lightheaded.

Then he spoke. “Hi, you’re open. I didn’t think I’d be able to find any breakfast so early.”

His deep tones sent a pull of attraction through Liberty, scattering her wits. She stared at him for more than a few seconds, then her senses kicked in and she nodded. “Yes, we open at seven in summer. What can I get you?” Her voice wavered just a little as the thoughts, my kisses, my arms around that fabulously sexy body, fell alarmingly into her mind. She’d normally smile at her customers, but this guy stole that impulse from her with his compelling presence, and left within her an ache to touch him preventing her from smiling.

“Coffee, black, please, and what about a steak and fried egg sandwich is that doable?” His ice-blue eyes flicked to the menu board on the wall at the back of the counter. The daily update, written there in Ryder’s neat handwriting before he’d left for work, didn’t include steak and eggs, but Liberty would have hunted a rabbit for this customer if he’d asked. That was saying something, too, since Liberty hardly shifted into her wolf and even less often hunted.

“Sure thing, I’ll get your coffee and then put your food on.” She poured freshly made coffee from the jug into one of the big, blue, ceramic cups and set it down. “Take a seat. There’s free Wi-Fi and the morning paper on the stand by the window. It’s only local, I’m afraid.”

The man gazed at Liberty with the most delicious expression. “Don’t be afraid. Local is great. In fact, I’m setting up home here so it’s handy to know what’s going on.”

Sure he flirted with her, she finally smiled in pleasure. “That’s…good.” Nothing else in her mind right then was okay to say aloud. He’s going to live here. Wow, that’s perfect. He’s yummy.

As if reluctant to cease their conversation he asked, “You cook the food and run the café alone here?

With a nervous flutter of her hands toward the kitchen at the back, Liberty murmured, “I only cook alone until seven-thirty when my help arrives. I’ll just get going on the food…er, toasted bread for the sandwich or…”

The customer held her gaze for a few seconds, his blue eyes full of warmth, amusement, and tenderness. Then he picked up his coffee cup. “Toasted sounds delicious.”

The look in his eyes shot into Liberty’s lonely heart. It gave her butterflies in her stomach and set her wanting more—more of his glances, more from his deep voice, and more of his perfectly kissable lips smiling just for her.

Copyright Elodie Parkes 2015 
HOP to the next #MWTease


From @RavenMcAllan and @EvernightPub her hot new release, The Contract'


Living in Scotland where summer can be one day in May, and the midges rule from June to September, give me somewhere warm any day. After all mozzies respond to repellent, I swear midges thumb their noses up at it.
I love to travel, and I like setting my books in places I know, so I guess it was inevitable that as I sat by a pool in Barbados I got the idea for this book. (Lot’s of ‘I’s’ in there, ooops, sorry.)
Hubby got used to me saying, stop the car while I take a photo, as we drove around, and then scribbling in a notebook, things I didn’t want to forget.
The upshot, is The Contract, now released by Evernight Publishing.
TheContract-evernightpublishing-JayAheer2015-ver2-3DrenderBlurb…
Walking out of her job was the best thing Nikki Plummer ever did. What she didn’t expect however, was to be tracked down by some hot bod, claiming she owed him.
Ruari Cameron has come to collect what he has paid for, but one look at Nikki, and there’s only one thing he wants. Her in every facet of his life.
Of course convincing Nikki of this might take some doing…but he’s more than ready to rise to the occasion.
Will they find their happy ever after under the Barbados sun?
 This is how she got there…
(a wee tease)
“Plum.”
“Go away, I’m not listening.” Nikki Plummer, often called Plum and she hated it, finished emptying her head-high cupboard and slammed the door—hard. Her boss moved back in a hurry to avoid her toes, knees, designer shoes, and anything else in the vicinity being pinched between the door and the jamb. Her numerous bracelets jangled as she did so, and seemed to add their displeasure to the wearer’s.
“Plum, don’t be silly, it was a mistake.”
There it was again. Did the stupid woman have no sense whatsoever? Plum was for signing her work, nothing else. Sheesh, she’d told everyone often enough, and most people accepted it.
Not this one.
The noise of a stiletto tapping impatiently on the parquet flooring only firmed Nikki’s mind up. Her boss could go to hell. The hard way. On her Manolos.
“No.” No to whatever you want. It’s over.
“You’re overreacting, like I said it’s all a silly mistake.” There was a definite note of panic in the voice now. “Plum, stop it and listen to me.”
Yeah, yours you bitch.
“No one called Plum around here.” Nikki checked her desk drawer. She removed three pens, a diary, and her hot as Hades red lipstick and threw them in her kitchen sink-sized bag. Satisfied there was nothing more lurking in a corner, she grabbed her sprint from the underground—fondly known as The Clockwork Orange—ballet flats and stood up.Anything else? Not that she wanted or needed anyway. The rest of the stuff came with the job and could stay with it.
The feeling, the glorious feeling of liberation kicked in. Nikki zipped her bag and put on her jacket.
“Nikki, for god’s sake stop this nonsense.” The voice rose to a screech just one notch short of shattering glass. The panic in it was evident. “Stop being a drama queen and vying for notice.” The other five or six people in the office gave up their pretense of not earwigging and listened openly.
Nikki winced at the shrill tone. “No one could ever even think of vying for attention, Geraldine, in here,” she said calmly, knowing her even note and lack of concern would infuriate the other woman. “Yours or anyone else’s. You command the field in that respect, even down to your own attention, weird though it sounds. Luckily I neither want nor need it. Not now. You fired me, I’m out of here.”
Geraldine Butters stared at her. “I was joking.”
At the back of the room someone coughed, ‘bullshit’.
“You should know I didn’t mean what I said. It was said in jest.” Now the voice was full of panic. “Take off your jacket, put down your bag and get on with that project. I need it by the end of the month. Only you can do it.”
Now we’re getting to the crux of the matter. The project, whatever it is and your lack of ability. Well tough. Too bad, that’s one joke that misfired on you then.
“Don’t care, too late, goodbye.”
“You little bitch, you’ll pay for this. I gave you a job, I sorted your mess…”
That was the last straw. Nikki picked up the waste paper basket, full of sweet wrappers, old take away coffee cups as well as torn bits of paper, old train tickets, and all the detritus of a busy office and upended it over Geraldine’s head.
Raven photo smaller pic May 15 copyA multi-published, best selling author of erotic romance, Raven lives in Scotland, along with her husband, in a house much too big for them—their children having flown the nest—surrounded by beautiful scenery, which inspires a lot of the settings in her books.
She is used to sharing her life with the occasional deer, red squirrel, and lost tourist, to say nothing of the scourge of Scotland—the midge. As once she is writing she is oblivious to everything else, her lovely long-suffering husband is learning to love the dust bunnies, work the Aga, and be on stand-by with a glass of wine.
https://www.facebook.com/rmcallan        (my page)
https://www.facebook.com/ravenmcallan            (author page)

What happens when I visit the stock sites for #coverart #bookcover models and pics #MondayBlogs

Grrr...
I spend interminable hours looking for faces I haven't seen on a thousand book covers or haven't yet used myself.
Please someone out there start photographing people and even places so that there are more.

There are so many book releases now and new eBooks are in the millions and growing exponentially daily.

Yikes, does this mean we have to start using more and more ways of disguising the face we've seen a huge number of times on covers?
Art work takes a lot of time. 
I love it, but can I please have some new faces.


I thought the guy to the left had hardly been used ... I was wrong.



Not seen the model below yet but it's early in the week.
 The lovely cover for A Fairy Tale Romance from Evernight has a couple that are so frequently seen now, it's bizarre.
I searched for a different pic with models that have their faces hidden to make the banner. Fab pic found, and they are on the beach, but what's the betting I see the pic as I browse the eBook sites tomorrow?


When I designed and made the cover for The Flower Box, I'd genuinely not seen the couple on book covers, yikes, only weeks later they were everywhere.
Naturally, as soon as new faces pop up, book cover artists, graphic artists, snap them up, just like me.

So let's end on a pic,  Dreamstime purchased faces I've not seen much of yet, but don't let anyone who designs book covers know ... please