Grabbing the Reader
"I have written a great many stories and I still don't know how to go about it except to write it and take my chances."
- John Steinbeck
"When writing fiction, you can grab your reader’s attention better by showing not telling."
- Sharon Crawford
Read the following versions and see what you think.
The sun shone through Mary's window as she lay in bed wondering whether to get up. Her cat licked her face. Mary gave it a shove, then crawled further under the covers. She did not want to face anther day. There were too many problems.
“Yes, yes,” Mary murmured. "But do you think you could cut the snoring?"
Another stroke of velvet on her forehead followed. Smiling, Mary opened her eyes to fangs and 20 pounds of skittery fur, emitting a slow purr.
“Marmalade, get off.” She pushed up.
With a “meow,” Marmalade vaulted off the bed and over to the windowsill to sulk in the morning sun.
“Yuck, another day,” Mary muttered, as she slouched under the covers. In their dark safety, she counted the reasons why getting up might constitute a bad move.
The first version is all tell and no show or as my late writing instructor, Paul Nowack was fond of saying “so what?”
The second version shows the reader what is going on. Which version would motivate you to read on?