I suddenly realised the other day that I had made a great leap. Without thinking about it, I have stopped introducng every scene with description and walking my characters off-stage. I first noticed this when I was doing the third edit of what is now called The King's Business and someday I might go back through my other stuff and take note of where and when I made this great leap.
As an English Lit student I knew all about playwrights starting a scene in medias res, but somewhere I had picked up the idea that when writing, a scene had to be fixed in time and space so the reader could grasp it without effort. When I first began writing, almost every scene started that way. It's only when I did a whole-book edit, that I noticed how boring it was. But when I think about it, I'm not sure I noticed consciously. I didn't have a light bulb moment and make a conscious decision about it.
Slowly but surely, my scene-starting changed. Some started with dialogue, some with action and sometimes how the character was feeling. Interestingly, my scenes also now stop when the important point has been reached. I no longer take the characters by the hand, walk them to the door and shove them through it.
I've even starting missing out other bits. When I began, I felt obliged to describe every teensy comment, or describe every tiny bit of action in something like a sword fight. Now I'm more capable of editing a scene at the writing stage; describing only the important sword thrusts, if you like.
Perhaps the show-don't-tell mantra was partly responsible for my earlier writing. Hammered home by so many, the trouble is that once you start showing a scene, there's a distinct feeling of obligation to go on to the end. The danger is, take it too far, and the writer starts describing every breath the protagonist takes. I now think Telling is very useful way of linking bits of Showing, and I intend to go on with it. I even twist it into my protagonist's POV/inner dialogue. I've come a long way, and I'm looking forward to learning even more.