Posts Tagged ‘showing vs. telling’

Placeholder cover for Hannah and Other Stories.

As many of you know, I’ve been preparing to move from my apartment this weekend and into a condo. (And if you don’t, now you do). However, when I haven’t been packing, I’ve been trying to meet my obligations as a writer. The most important of these is to get edits done on one of the stories in Hannah and Other Stories, my upcoming collection of short stories. And damnit, I just finished it today.

So just to recap, Hannah and Other Stories is a collection of short stories I’ll be publishing with BSC Publishing Group. There are seven stories in the collection, and I just finished editing the third, “The Autopsy Kid and Doctor Sarah,” about a girl’s relationship with a budding psychopath. It’s one of at least two edits I’ll be doing on this story for the next draft.

You see, during the revisions for the second story in Hannah, “Queen Alice,” the editors brought to my attention that I was doing more telling than showing and that I needed to work on that. They recommended that I go over “Autopsy Kid” after finishing “Queen Alice” to try to add more instances of showing and otherwise fix it up before they went over it. That way, I might get some lessons in better storytelling and they would have less notes to make regarding edits.

So, how did this first round of edits go? Really well, I think. As I said in my post about showing vs. telling, I wasn’t sure I understood the concept too well, let alone applying it in my writing. But “Autopsy Kid” is the longest story in the collection, so there were plenty of instances to practice. Indeed, I found plenty of places where I thought I should show rather than tell, and I think it worked out. The result was a more fleshed out story, with an antagonist who seemed more like a dark force of evil than a young boy with severe mental issues.

We’ll just have to see what BSC says. They have the manuscript now, so they’ll look through the story and let me know what edits they think I need to make. With any luck, showing vs. telling won’t be one of them and they’ll see less issues than I did on the first run-through. After that…well, we’ll see. Probably they’ll send me edits on the next story, “Fuselli’s Horses,” about carnivorous horses.

Yeah, you read that right. Carnivorous horses. I come up with the scariest, craziest shit.

And while I wait for those drafts, I’ll be moving and working on the first draft of the audio book of The Pure World Comes (which is coming along great). And after that? Well, we’ll see. It wouldn’t do to jump ahead of ourselves, now would it?

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’ll update you as updates come, especially for Hannah and for my new place.

And if you would like to support me, or if you would like something new and scary to read, I’ll post links to my books below. They’re all amazing stories that have received a lot of love over the years (Snake and The Pure World Comes especially have gotten some good feedback recently), so I urge you to check them out. And if you like what you read? Leave a review online somewhere! Positive or negative, I love reader feedback, it helps me out in the long run, and they help other readers decide what to read next themselves.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night, pleasant nightmares, and don’t befriend children who like cutting things up.

The Pure World Comes: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Goodreads

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible, B&N

Snake: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

The Quiet Game: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo.

In one of my previous posts, I talked about struggling with showing vs. telling in my stories. At the end of the post, I asked for advice, as I was about to tackle “The Autopsy Kid and Doctor Sarah,” the longest story in my upcoming collection Hannah and Other Stories.

Well, I’m not sure if I’m getting any better. But between the advice everyone was giving me in that previous post and the practice I’ve been getting in, I feel like I’m improving.

Since talking about my issues with showing vs. telling, I’ve started on that story. And while it’s been agonizingly slow at times, I feel like I am recognizing the right moments to expand on and include more detail (showing). In fact, just a couple days ago, I started on a new section of the story and the entire first paragraph was the most summarized thing ever! I was almost ashamed that I wrote it!

Anyway, that led to a pleasant hour of expanding that paragraph into an actual scene so that it was more interesting for the reader. I made extra special effort to describe the character’s experiences through their five senses, as well as their feelings. And I think that not only did I get a much better scene out of it, but I think I was able to emphasize how twisted my antagonist is even more.

That being said, I’m the only one who’s looked at my efforts so far. For all I know, my efforts and changes may still be rather messy attempts at “showing more, telling only when it’s necessary.” But how else do writers improve? We read, we write, and we keep practicing and letting people help us so that we can become better at our craft.

So even if my efforts here still require some work, they’ll at least be the foundations upon which I get better. And that’s never a bad thing.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ve got a busy week ahead of me, but I hope I’ll be able to announce some good news very soon. And no, I’m not retiring to write full time, starting a breakaway Jewish sect revolving around Lovecraftian entities, and magical girls, or pregnant. If any of you guessed that, you’re way off the mark.

Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

M. Night Shyamalan has a record like a seismographic reading. Sometimes his movies are huge hits, other times they’re disasters, and occasionally they’re just okay. Nothing terrible, nothing great, just okay. Since his latest film had a very interesting concept to it, I thought I’d give it a watch. What did I think? Well, read on and find out.

Based on the Swedish graphic novel Sandcastle (which is available in the United States and which I’ve ordered from the library), Old follows several families who go to a private beach recommended to them by the island resort. However, once there strange things start to happen. Not only are they unable to leave, but the families start to age rapidly, especially the children. With only a day or so until they’re dead, it’s a race against time to find out how to get off the beach. But can they make it?

Well, that was an interesting film. And there was good there. The concept is very interesting and certainly makes for a good scary film. The actors do a damn good job in their roles (not surprising, given that Alex Wolff of Hereditary fame is among the cast, so he’s used to dark and challenging roles). And there are several moments where you feel tense. Not just from the race against time, but the increasingly terrifying acts of violence and body horror.

Also, the film the character Charles is trying to remember with Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson? It’s called The Missouri Breaks. I may not get why he’s obsessed with that particular film, but I get its use as an indicator of the toll on his mental state.

However, there are some things that just ruin the experience. While I can buy a couple of kids going around asking people their names and professions for their own amusement (I knew plenty of kids who did similar stuff at that age), I couldn’t help but notice that they said everything. And I mean everything! You would think in a movie, showing versus telling wouldn’t be a problem, but there are several times where, instead of showing us what is happening, the camera pans away and the characters just tell us what happens. Um…was there a reason for that?

Speaking of the camera, there are some long, uninterrupted shots that are brilliantly done, but others where you really wonder why we’re panning away and getting blurry or not focusing on the action. This plays a lot into the characters saying everything out loud, and it’s a problem.

That being said, I think this was worth the ticket money. Yeah, it’s not perfect, but Old certainly was a fun, enjoyable horror film and I can see it becoming a cult hit in the future. On a scale of 1 to 5, I hereby bequeath Old a 3.9. Grab a ticket and see for yourself if it’s any good. Just make sure you write out your will before you go.


Only four more days to send in a question for the Ask Me Anything, or AMA, in honor of my ten year blogging anniversary. One lucky participant will win a special prize, even! Just send your question to ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com by 11:59 PM on July 28th, 2021. I look forward to reading all your questions.

Well, after the fourth draft of Rose, I knew that I didn’t want to go into another novel too soon. I wanted to do some short stories. And I somehow managed to get my first short story of the year out in five days. Impressive. These usually take about two weeks to a month. On a good day.

Hannah is a ghost story about a team of paranormal investigators that explore an elementary school that’s reportedly haunted, and what they encounter in there. And for a Rami Ungar short story, it’s actually shorter than most I’ve written, just under fifty-nine hundred words. Usually they end up between seven-thousand and nine-thousand words. I wonder how that worked out?

And for the record, the Hannah in the title of this story is not based on any Hannah I actually know. And that’s a few: it’s a popular girl’s name in the Jewish community, so of course I’ve met and made friends with several. The titular character’s name actually has to do with a famous urban legend from another country, which I can’t name or go into without giving too much away about the story. I can’t even go into details of the legend, lest I give too much away. However, the name Hannah is a clue, if you want to try to figure it out. Let’s just say, it’s an Americanization.

Anyway, I’m hoping this short story is some good. I’ve been listening to a lot of horror anthologies on audio book lately, so I think I’ve absorbed some of what those had to teach me on short story writing. I also learned a lot from the fourth draft of Rose on concise language and strong writing (thanks Joleene), which probably contributed to its shorter length. And at the very least, if the story is terrible, at least it’ll be well-written.

Of course, there’s still things that can be improved. I think the middle and ending are pretty good, but I’m worried the beginning has too much exposition and telling, and not enough dialogue and showing. I’ve seen short stories do that well, of course, but I’m not sure if it’s done well here. Well, I suppose that’s what second drafts and beta readers are for. And hopefully once those are done, I can get this story published somewhere (I have a few ideas of where I would like that to happen).

Now that Hannah is done, there’s another short story I’d like to get to work on as soon as possible. Maybe even tomorrow, if my schedule allows. I’m looking forward to this one: it’s a story with a wonderfully relevant topic to today’s world.

For now though, I’m headed to bed. After all, I’ve got work in the morning. Goodnight Followers of Fear, and until next time, pleasant nightmares!