Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Welcome to My Guest Author: Tracy Sumner

Today I welcome Author Tracy Sumner to my blog!  Tracy has an ebook of her award winning novel to give away & a kindle to two lucky readers.

So over to  Tracy....

Hello everyone! I’m thrilled to be a guest author posting with Serena Tatti!

This quote really resonates with me – and will introduce our writing craft topic for today!

Don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass.
~Anton Chekov

You got it. Show, don’t tell.

What, exactly, do we mean by show, don’t tell?

Telling the reader what to think, instead of showing them enough to generate the “mental picture”.  The glint of light on broken glass.

There are ways to get around telling. Using metaphors and similes is a good one. Instead of saying a character is fat, show them lumbering along the street, breathing heavily as they take the stairs. Show the person through descriptive language.

In fiction, we’re setting scenes that create a world in the reader’s mind. Descriptive language paints the picture.

A tip that helps me is to remember to use the senses. What would the character hear in the scene? Smell? Expressions on his/her face? What is the motivation for the scene that may have them sprinting versus walking?

This is a scene taken from my novel TIDES OF PASSION. What insight does it give you about the hero, Zach Garrett?

Zach closed his eyes and rested his head on the back of the chair, remembering. The crash of waves in the distance and the rustle of pine branches in the breeze soothed him. A little. "She was fragile. Like an angel made of glass. The kind they blow until it's so thin you think it'll break if you touch it."

He had often been afraid to touch her, to hug her with even half his strength, but that was far too personal a memory to share.

Combined with great dialogue, you can share so much about a character with a reader. And, yes, we are telling some, too. Of course! But it’s descriptive. And the sound of the ocean in the distance and the hero’s pain in remembering stay with the reader.

In short, we need to provide details for the reader. Show the character complaining, don’t say they’re negative. Show them abusing a waiter or stealing a napkin, instead of saying they’re cheap.

Read more about Tracy Sumner and her books (including lengthy excerpts for all new releases) on www.tracysumner.com

Purchase TIDES OF PASSION: http://www.amazon.com/Tides-Passion-Seaswept-Seduction-ebook/dp/B005WVPFH0

Purchase TIDES OF LOVE: http://www.amazon.com/Tides-Love-Seaswept-Seduction-ebook/dp/B0066B1XTY

Tracy’s story telling career began when she picked up a copy of LaVyrle Spencer’s Vows on a college beach trip. A journalism degree and a thousand romance novels later, she decided to try her hand at writing a southern version of the perfect love story. With a great deal of luck and more than a bit of perseverance, she sold her first novel to Kensington Publishing.

 When not writing sensual stories featuring complex characters and lush settings, Tracy can be found reading romance, snowboarding, watching college football and figuring out how she can get to 100 countries before she kicks (which is a more difficult endeavor than it used to be with her four-year-old son in tow). She lives in Charlotte, NC, but after spending a few years in “the city”, considers herself a New Yorker at heart.

 Tracy has been awarded the National Reader’s Choice, the Write Touch and the Beacon – with finalist nominations in the HOLT Medallion, Heart of Romance, Rising Stars and Reader’s Choice. Her books have been translated into German, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish. She loves hearing from readers about why she tends to pit her hero and heroine against each other and that great novel she simply must order in five seconds on her Kindle.


TIDES OF PASSION, the National Reader’s Choice for Best Long Historical, debuted as an ebook in October 2011. The second novel in the Tides series, TIDES OF LOVE, arrived in November. Tracy’s holiday novella, which begins the new Southern Heat series, TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL, hit mid-December 2012. Watch for the next Heat novel, TO SEDUCE A ROGUE, in late January.

Tracy would like to give away an eBook copy of TIDES OF PASSION to one lucky reader and a Kindle to one really lucky reader via her website drawing! To enter the eBook drawing, leave a comment on her post at Fiction Vixen; for the Kindle drawing, please sign up for her newsletter at www.tracysumner.com


  1. Definitely an important point, Tracy! I think sometimes it's easy to forget, because often "telling" is faster, it takes less effort and brain power. I often find I don't even notice it in my first draft -- it's when I go back and revise that I realize I've been lazy and need to work up a bit more "show" to really engage the reader...

  2. Hi Tracy and Serena,

    We are taught in english class in school about not using narratives that much, about how to show what's happening so I googled Expressive Phrases and saved a lot of them!

    Thank you for this post as it makes great points. Thanks Serena!

  3. Hi Emmie,
    That's a great way to write - get it all down and then go in and add the relevant bits that show the emotions. I wish I could find a way to shut out the internal editor that makes me look for that from the first draft! Maybe that's another Blog topic!
    Thanks for popping in.

  4. Hi Riya,
    What a great idea! Google is so helpful (mostly).
    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Hi Tracy

    I love Anton Chekov's quote, it is so, so true.

    Your suggestion is a great one - to use all five senses. I must admit when I write a scene I try to analyse... if I were this character, standing in their shoes, what would I see, smell, taste, feel and hear? How would I react? What would I say?

    Thank you so much for this blog. It was a great reminder what we should always keep in mind when writing.


  6. Hi Tracy,
    Thanks for your informative blog. Using the five senses certainly enhances the story and really draws the reader into it.


  7. I loved the interview. It's interesting to see what the authors use to write their stories. Each author does something differently. As a reader, we rely on our authors being like an artist. They paint us a picture of what things look like and what is going on. Without those "paintings" we wouldn't be able to visualize each scene as it unfolds. Thank you.

  8. I used to place a post-it with the five senses, so I could look at it as I write and remember to include the sensory details. Good point!

    (Don't know why Google is posting with the weird name for my account -- oh, well)


  9. Serena:

    I'm doing a workshop this month called FAST DRAFT. It's to curb the internal editor. Get the creative stuff out -- a stream of thought. I'll let you know how it works.

  10. Hi Michelle,
    Very true. And we can always do with reminders for anything that can help us along our journey.

    Hi Margaret,
    Again you're reinforcing how important the five senses are in our writing.

    Hi Romance Reader Enthusiast,
    You've described it perfectly. Writing a book is like painting a picture, but using words.

    Thanks for dropping in everyone.

  11. Hi Tracy,
    I'll be interested to know how the workshop goes.

    It's great to have you here. Glad you told us it was you :) Who knows what's up with Blogspot.

    It's Australia Day here in Oz and I'm off to a good old Aussie BBQ (barbeque). I'll be back later on.

  12. What a great blog!
    No matter how many times I see this topic, I always sit up and pay attention, drawing your readers in on every level, especially an emotional one, is so very important. You want your reader, or you as the reader to stay enthralled, living the story with you, and seeking out your next book.

    Thank you for sharing this with us.
    Angela C

  13. Hi Angela C,
    Very true! There's nothing more important than engaging your reader, especially on an emotional level. And hopefully they'll return for more in your next book.

    Thanks for coming in.

  14. Thank you Tracy for sharing an information post, sorry I'm coming in late but just back from holidays.

    As a writer I know all about "show not tell" yet when I'm in the story it's easy to let it slip.

    You want your reader to feel and be there in that moment.


  15. Hi Margaret M,
    That's very true. I think it's easier to let some telling filter through and just run with the story. You can fix it later. Though you can't always show - sometimes you just have to tell :)

    Thanks for dropping in

  16. I'd like to thank my special guest, Tracy Sumner for talking about her process for "showing not telling". I loved the excerpt from your book, Tracy.
    And thanks to the lovely Nas Dean for organizing this blogspot!