We all know the adage, “Show, don’t tell!” But what’s so good about showing—or so very bad about telling?
In this workshop, we’ll examine various aspects of detail, that vital element of effective writing. We’ll use published examples to focus on not only how, but why a writer chooses to show, as well as when and for what purpose a writer might decide to tell. With the help of short assignments, we’ll explore active verbs, sensory perceptions, and the importance of sense of place, action and gesture. Along the way, you can expect discussion of point of view and some helpful hints regarding dialogue. Whether you are working on poetry, a play, essays, memoir, or fiction, you’ll come to understand how the use of effective detail will give your writing specificity and vigor.
Sands Hall is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and holds a second M.F.A. in Theatre Arts. Her experience as director, actor, and playwright gives her a unique perspective on the writing process. She currently teaches creative writing at Franklin & Marshall College, and is the author of the novel Catching Heaven, a Random House Reader’s Circle selection; and a book of writing essays and exercises, Tools of the Writer’s Craft. Her short fiction has appeared in such journals as New England Review, The Iowa Review and Green Mountains Review. Her produced plays include an adaptation of Alcott’s Little Women and the comic/drama Fair Use. This is the twenty-fifth summer Sands has taught for the Festival.