Posted by: Corri van de Stege | December 28, 2007

Writing stories

Creative writing, we are taught, is about showing and not telling.  I know, the odd teacher and writer tells us that this is not necessarily the case but on the whole, this is the mantra.

Having written so many reports, bids, presentations and other articles on education policy and strategy, as well as dissertations on the state of training in England and sometimes Europe, on the role of employers, voluntary organisations and on the shortcomings of colleges and such like, it can be difficult to change mode and so I have to keep reminding myself NOT TO TELL, but TO SHOW.

So just imagine that instead of writing ‘employers have a crucial role to play in the development of opportunities for young people and their training in the work place’ I must remember to show their feelings and attitudes, their actions, their likes and dislikes.  That way I might just interest my reader and elicit thoughts and curiosities so that s(h)e becomes riveted and wants to find out what else is coming.  Just imagine trying to get a commission on education and training interested in a story, rather than a strategy.  Ah, I’ve got it:

   The employer shifted in his chair, his mouth stern and while wagging his index finger, leaning slightly forward, he admonishes the young employee, just out of school, still ignorant about how the world works:
 ‘You should get up on time young man, make sure that you’re behind your desk before anyone else is!’
 ‘Oh, yes? ‘ The boy asked in wonderment at this wisdom.  He’d never thought about work like that before.
 ‘Yes.  Always work the longest hours; never fail, until you die.  You will earn lots of money; probably have no pension anyway, no social life whatsoever.  Your girlfriend will not want to marry you, but you’ll be the highest wage earner in my company.  That is, if it still exists in ten years time.  I promise!’
 Oh’, said the boy ‘I’ll make sure I follow your advice’
 The boy went home and changed his alarm clock setting to an hour earlier.

How is that for starters?  Did I get you interested enough to find out the rest of the story?

Wait, I’ve still got to write that.  I probably never will, you’ll be relieved to hear.



  1. Loll, seachanges. That’s true, it’s like making a short story long

  2. By the way I congratulate you on the new looks of your blog. I love it.

  3. Jose: I’ve changed the header, slightly, again with one of my own pictures taken on Boxing Day. Hope you still like it!

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