Monday, November 19, 2012

Author Spotlight: Jessica Bell Interview and Show And Tell in a Nutshell

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Hey guys! Jessica Bell is hanging out at my blog today to discuss her new writing book, Show & Tell in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing. 

But first...a few interview questions!

When in your writing career did the "show vs tell" nirvana happen?
I never truly understood the difference until I’d accomplished it by accident one day, very early on in my career. During the fourth draft of my debut novel actually. My motivation was that I needed to increase the word count in one of my manuscripts. It was 60,000 words and I needed 80,000–100,000 before I could submit it to agents. So I combed through my manuscript, marking scenes I thought I could expand. By the time I’d finished reworking the first scene, the concept clicked. I finally understood what all the fuss was about because I was forced to be more detailed (even though my motive was purely cosmetic!). My writing had become cinematic, it had movement, my characters were three dimensional and I didn’t even have to mention their personality traits because I was showing them. But above all, my writing evoked emotion. This is what successful showing does. It uses the five senses (and sixth) to evoke an emotional response from your reader without telling them how you want them to feel.

What are you working on now, writing wise?
I'm working on my third novel, called White Lady. It's set in Melbourne Australia and is about a young woman named Mia who is fighting fat with white ladies. (Yep, I'll leave that to your own interpretation for now! Hint: don't think literally.)

Make us a little jealous of your new hometown, Greece. (what you had for breakfast, a view, etc.)
Well, it's not really new. I've been here for eleven years! What did I have for breakfast? Thick Greek yogurt with banana and honey, on my balcony in 20 degree Celcius heat (It's supposed to be winter). I'm six stories high, and today the air was so crisp, and the sun just the right heat to sit in. Bliss. My view isn't too bad either. Though I'm in the center of town, I have mountain views!

Um. Okay. I'm jealous!

And now...about her book!

Have you been told there's a little too much telling in your novel? Want to remedy it? Then this is the book for you!

In Show & Tell in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing you will find sixteen real scenes depicting a variety of situations, emotions, and characteristics which clearly demonstrate how to turn telling into showing. Dispersed throughout, and at the back of the book, are blank pages to take notes as you read. A few short writing prompts are also provided.

Not only is this pocket guide an excellent learning tool for aspiring writers, but it is a light, convenient, and easy solution to honing your craft no matter how broad your writing experience. Keep it in the side pocket of your school bag, throw it in your purse, or even carry it around in the pocket of your jeans or jacket, to enhance your skills, keep notes, and jot down story ideas, anywhere, anytime.

If you purchase the e-book, you will be armed with the convenient hyper-linked Contents Page, where you can toggle backward and forward from different scenes with ease. Use your e-reader's highlighting and note-taking tools to keep notes instead.

The author, Jessica Bell, also welcomes questions via email, concerning the content of this book, or about showing vs. telling in general, at

“Jessica Bell addresses one of the most common yet elusive pieces of writing advice—show, don't tell—in a uniquely user-friendly and effective way: by example. By studying the sixteen scenes she converts from “telling” into “showing,” not only will you clearly understand the difference; you will be inspired by her vivid imagery and dialogue to pour through your drafts and do the same.” ~Jenny Baranick, College English Teacher, Author of Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares
“A practical, no-nonsense resource that will help new and experienced writers alike deal with that dreaded piece of advice: show, don’t tell. I wish Bell’s book had been around when I started writing!” ~Talli Roland, bestselling author

Purchase the paperback:
$4.40 on Amazon US
£3.99 on Amazon UK

Purchase the e-book:
$1.99 on Amazon US
£1.99 on Amazon UK
$1.99 on Kobo

About the Author:
The Australian-native contemporary fiction author and poet, Jessica Bell, also makes a living as an editor and writer for global ELT publishers (English Language Teaching), such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

She is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and co-hosts the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek Isle of Ithaca, with Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest.

For more information about Jessica Bell, please visit: 


Jessica Bell said...

Thank you so much for having me today, Lydia! :-)

SA Larsenッ said...

So happy to hear what Jess is working on next. I can't wait to spotlight this craft book for her. She's everywhere.

Natalie Aguirre said...

So excited for Jessica. Funny how her problem was not enough words. I had problems learning (still do) show not tell but too many words were my problem.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I definitely need help with showing and already downloaded Jessica's book.
And that is an awesome view!

Shelly said...

I read about this book earlier and I love what more I've read about it here. I am getting it for my ereader.

And Lydia, I just now saw in your profile you're a salt lover. I am, too, and unashamedly so. It is one of the few dietary vices I have left. I haven't even had bread or the like in four years, but I've had enough salt to fill the Great Salt Lake. Maybe not that much, but I do love it...

Em-Musing said...

Fighting fat with white ladies? OK, you got me real curious on this. You are as awesome as the view in that photo. Good luck with your new book.

Jessica Bell said...

Thanks all! Natalie, yeah, for some reason I under-write everything, which is odd for someone who loves description. But I thrive on the second draft when I have bones to work with.

Em, hehe, thanks!

Tamara Narayan said...

That view is enviable. When it comes to Show Vs. Tell, I've gotten to the point where I can recognize both, but it is still a challenge to produce the 'show'. Great idea for a writer's help book.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I've been seeing this book around the blogosphere and I will have to add it to my Christmas list.

Southpaw said...

I just got an ebook copy this morning.

Carrie Butler said...

Whoa! I'm jealous of the view, too. :) I'll have to check out her book!

mooderino said...

I'd be happy with 20 degrees in summer. At the moment it is of course raining here in England.

Moody Writing

Christie Wright Wild said...

Sounds like a GREAT book! I might have to dig into the wallet...

Susan Fields said...

Sounds like a very helpful book - and yes, I'm super jealous of the view!

Romance Book Haven said...

Hi Lydia and Jessica,

This sounds an awesome book as I always struggle with Show vs Tell.

Oh, the Greece view is fantastic!


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The inteview on jessica bell said a lot of secret about her. you will get help from professional people on checking verb.

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