P2: My Passion
Show me your passion, but do it without actually writing a sentence that comes right out and tells me that "My passion is ____."
Suggestion: Don't actually name the specific thing that you present as
your passion. SHOW me a scene in which you are actively engaged in that
passion, and demonstrate your ability to choose details that teach me
something about what that passion means to you.
See "Show, Don' t (Just) Tell."
Here is a passage that makes simple statements, without supplying any specific details. The result is flat, unconvincing, and not particularly worth reading.
TELLING: "I love my Aunt Sarah's garden. Any chance I get, I smell them and study them. I know a fair amount about them, and even if I'm tired from my boring job in a fast-food kitchen, working in a garden always makes me relaxed and happy."
When I read the above passage, I don't have any reason to feel relaxed and happy. The following revision provides specific details, and expects that
the reader will be intelligent enough (and engaged enough) to put the
clues together, and in the process, become engaged with the emotions this passage is trying to convey.
SHOWING: "The wysteria and lilacs wafted the grease and kitchen cleansers from my uniform. From where I lay, I could see the north bed of Empire roses could use some pruning, but that would wait until I finished replanting the tulips. I hefted a shovel and a 50-pound bag of potting soil, and tried to guess where Aunt Sarah would keep her crimping wedges. After eight hours of McWork, I was ready to relax."
In the second passage, it's fairly easy for the reader to gather
that the author's passion is gardening.
The specific references to natural smells winning out over work-related smells create an emotional image... there is no need to come right out and say "I like to relax in the garden after a hard day's work," because the passage already describes the author as lying down, and the natural smells are here depicted as winning out over the work-related smells. Likewise, the second passage does not need to say "I know a lot about gardening," because the author refers to "Empire roses" (which are presumably different from some other kind of roses) and "crimping wedges" (presumably some specialized gardening tool), The author never comes right out and TELLS the reader "No matter how tired I am from my part-time job, I always have energy to work in the garden." Instead, the author -- who was initially lying on the ground, recovering from a long fast-food shift -- now ready to "heft" a shovel and carry a heavy bag.Goals:
Focus on a single main point (not a list or random stream of thoughts).
Show with vivid, relevant details that make me feel I am there with you, experiencing the emotions you are feeling.