Sunday, 13 February 2011

Show don't tell


At the beginning of last year, I joined the NSW Writers' Centre which is located on the site of the old Callan Park psychiatric hospital. I have done three courses with them now: one about a technique called 'show don't tell'; another on writing picture books for children; and today's course.


Today was not actually a course. It was the first in a monthly workshop group which critiques draft manuscripts. It was sooo worthwhile. It is astounding the different thoughts other people have about a story that the writer knows backwards, yet doesn't really know at all.

20 comments:

Dan said...

Wow, this looks like a very interisting old building. It is also being put to a very good use. I love when old buildings are repurposed rather than just bulldozed away. I have a secret desire to be a writer. Good for you for pursuing the muse.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

What a beautiful setting for writers... your course sounds exciting and bound to improve one's abilities... Let us know how it goes.

Bises,
G

Joe said...

Nothing clarifies thought than the written word.

Dianne said...

That sounds like a great course in a great location! My sort of day.

altadenahiker said...

Love the idea of show don't tell, and that last photo looks very inviting.

diane b said...

I agree with Dan, Its great to see an old building put to good use. My Mum used to take patients from Reception House Darlinghurst to Callan Park if they had been certified.
One of the steps in the "Seven Steps to Successful Writing" course which we teach kids in school is called, "Show Don't Tell.
I'm glad that you wre enjoying it. You seem to cram so much into your days, well done.

Tulsa Gentleman said...

A writer;s centre in an old psychiatric hospital. Is there some irony here?

J Bar said...

Julie, regarding the description for Hunters Hill, I was using the direction from the city. I originally posted inner west suburb but that seemed wrong and northern or north shore suburb wasn't right either. Can you think of a better description for its location?
Regarding the pedestrian bridge that I posted today, I posted a reply on your comment there with some more info.

Julie said...

It is tricky, Jim. And that shows up in Wikipedia, too - the trickiness. I wonder if any of our other Sydney readers have an opinion here, as I am not convinced there is anything official on the topic.

The Northern suburbs is anything north of the harbour. Similarly, we name the Eastern Suburbs and less tightly the Western Suburbs. But the WS also comprises the Inner-west just as the NS comprises the Upper-North-shore and Lower-North-shore.

Being just that bit to the west of the Lane Cover River, HH to me does not seem part of the Lower North Shore (although going by socio-economics it most certainly is). And yet it seems illogical just to label it as Northern Suburbs, even though that is the name of the crematorium there.

In short, I have no idea!!

J Bar said...

Just to add to teh confusion, 'The Book of Sydney Suburbs' by Frances Pollon describes it as 'west' of Sydney while real estate agents include listings there in the 'Northern Suburbs' section.

Yes, the bridge in todays post is a couple of blocks north of Wynyard Park. Lang Park is a small park opposite Lang Street and this forecourt. I seem to remember some cafes under the bridge too and a foodcourt in the Suncorp Place building.

Peter said...

Looks a great place to explore.

cara said...

The show don't tell idea sounds interesting how did that work?

BTW your photos are at the framers. He said I'd hear from him next week.

Julie said...

"Show don't tell" is a really revolutionary concept if you are new at writing. I only came to it last year. I will try to work up something to illustrate it for you. Shall let you know when I have posted it.

Goodo about the photos/framers. Let me know when we have lift off. Really looking forward to receiving them.

Kay L. Davies said...

Will be interesting to know more about the 'Show, Don't Tell' course, Julie.
Meanwhile, I like the photographs of the place.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Mary Ann said...

I could use a course like this. Showing rather than telling is something I have a hard time achieving. There's too much of a preacher in me.

Joan Elizabeth said...

I like the photos in this place as well as the ones of this place. I'd love to do some of those courses. When I have been in writers groups I have been amazed at the diversity of writing and the stories people 'show not tell'.

freefalling said...

Do you just ever sit on your bum and do nothing?

Virginia said...

Oh Julie,
I"m so intrigued. You, my friend with you glorious gift of words, is the perfect person for this. I'd love to do it, but I'm so unsure, so intimidated. I hope to hear about your time here.
V

Jilly said...

Oh dear, I've been away from your lovely blog for far too long and look at the goodies I've missed. But happily I can catch up. I envy you this writing course and what a gorgeous building. I remember having the words 'show don't tell' drummed into me when I attended a short story course in Armidale - I think it was somewhere between Brisbane and Sydney but you'd know. I met great people, and had fab teachers too. Somewhere I've a book they printed of some of our work. You don't need lessons, Julie...!

Julie said...

V & J, I am convinced that for many of us, the logical extension of our photography blog is that next step into text. This is what I spend a lot of my time on, making that transition.

Jilly, indeed, Armidale is on the inland route, between Sydney and Brisbane and is a university town. 'Show don't tell' is the textural equivalent of getting emotion into the core of an image. Next comes the need for sparse language. It is a wonderful journey, which I feel sure you both could do.