Choice plays a critical role in any story. Much of the meaning found in stories is derived from the choices a character makes, and their consequences. And yet, I feel that most characters make very few real choices over the course of their story. And I think that’s a good thing. Too many choices can overwhelm a person, just as too few can make for a boring story.
Clarity is an essential component of any good story. In dialogue, clarity means making sure audiences know who is speaking. The most common method is to identify the speaker by name, typically by using a tag such as “(name) said”. But it’s also important to make sure a character’s voice is consistent.
Techniques for Showing
Showing is reserved for the important parts of the story. Showing is the technique of using specific details to imply one or more underlying meanings. The advantage is that it’s very engaging for the audience, but over time it can prove tiring, as audiences struggle to understand the significance of the text.
“Show, don’t tell” is common phrase that attempts to oversimplify a complex topic. “Show” and “Tell” are both essential for good writing. They represent complimentary techniques for writing prose. It is true that telling is often easier, and as a result it’s frequently over used, but both have their place in writing.
Stories are a combination of scene & summary. Even the shortest story contains at least one scene or summary. A scene is when a small span of time is covered in great detail; a combination of what characters say, the actions they take, and any relevant details. A summary is when a large span of time is covered in only a few words.