I’ve started my second, deeper editing pass on Tied, where I flesh out more detail and fix problem areas. I understand what didactic writing is, but it wasn’t until I was a fifth of the way through when I realized something.
The didactic writing that I most wanted to avoid was still slipping though. Perhaps I was tired or feeling impatient. I am excited to begin my next novel, but I’ve got to make sure my first one is done right, to the best of my ability. So, I started again. From the top.
Didactic writing is common for first-time novelists, so I’m glad I’m not alone on that front. However, it was a surprise to me, after coming from writing screenplays where the mantra is to write only what can be perceived by the senses (seen and heard). In other words, show don’t tell. I fell back on didactic writing like a crutch. Novels and screenplays aren’t so different after all.
My mistake shows my over-eagerness to write a good story, my lack of confidence with writing novels as well as not trusting my reader to understand what I’m trying to get across. These are all good lessons to learn now, and I thank my editor (thank you, thank you!) for pointing out these (large) problem areas before I hung myself with them.
I have the luxury to have been laid off work until the new year (where I work, we get layoffs over Christmas break, instead of bonuses), so I’ll begin my second pass again, starting at page one, unencumbered by work obligations. Seven days. I should have a lot done by this this time next week.
As a side note, I found it interesting, and oddly prophetic, that in my trusty dictionary (the above image) had the words die and difficult on the same page as didactic. I better listen, eh? The consequences sound dire. 😉
A good article on balancing showing and telling.