Editing your memoir, showing versus telling

Thought I’d share a post I ran across last night. Loved that it gave examples of the “show don’t tell” type writing which somehow eludes my brain. Sometimes I just need things spelled out a little more concretely for me.


All writers need an editor. Even editors need editors. Family-only writings can be held to looser standards, but have a few people read over the manuscript to look for typos and improper grammar and anything that does not make sense, is not clear, or is phrased awkwardly. Friends who don’t know your past very well would make good “beta readers.” After all, the great-great-great grandchildren may someday read your book and you want them—strangers—to understand everything you wrote and not stumble over twisted, rambling sentences.

Yesterday I attended a talk by Suzann Ledbetter Ellingsworth, a writer and editor, or “wreditor” as she calls herself. This woman is a no-nonsense ace editor quick with rapier wit and red pen. She taught us what to hack out of our manuscripts. “Trim the fat, make every word count.” She is passionate about her work—and everyone else’s. I thought she would discuss how to “show…

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rebecca Bradley
    Apr 29, 2013 @ 12:49:24

    What a great post! I know these things, but they slip and I need to be told again. Thank you for a great reminder.


  2. Vikki Thompson
    May 01, 2013 @ 12:44:57

    I have this book, but I’ve not actually read it! lol



  3. cmsgardnerblog
    May 03, 2013 @ 04:04:54

    Great to see The Elements of Style is still around. I have a 1979 copy and I have read it!


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