Writing Advice from Yoda

Master Yoda - origami.

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s a quick writing tip to help you spot places in your writing where you are telling instead of showing.

The tip comes from Jedi master, Yoda himself. Remember this famous quote?

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

Keep those words in mind when you write fiction. Any time a character tries to do something, you are robbing the reader. Instead of showing the struggle, you are telling about it.

What is your character trying  to do?

Jared tried to lift the manhole cover.

Sarah tried to avoid hitting the deer.

Try as he might, Augustus couldn’t get out of the churning river.

Strengthen your stories by replacing the word “try” with the actions your character undertakes.

Show them how Jared jimmies a crowbar under the manhole cover, leans his weight on it, and falls back unsuccessful.

Show Sarah wrestling with the steering wheel, stomping on the brakes, and sliding off the wet road into the ditch.

Show Augustus snatching at branches only to have them ripped from his hands as the current pulls him past.

“Do or do not. There is no try.

A wise one, that Yoda.


6 comments on “Writing Advice from Yoda

  1. I love the origami yoda – my son got the book and did that too.
    Sorry I haven’t been keeping up with the wknd challenges – I was doing the month long a-z challenge and was crazy busy! I will start up again this weekend, I hope!

  2. The origami Yoda looks like something I would expect you to do, Barb. Only with eggs. And markers.

  3. I love this post! It isn’t easy to get across the true meaning of show vs tell and you have done it so succinctly and helpfully here. I’m going to bookmark this post to review when I’m about to start editing.

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