I recently realized in my “real job” that I need to write something up in detail before I write a summary of it. Even though in the recent case in point I knew all I was going to eventually need was the summary, I needed to go through the exercise of thinking through the whole thing.
To some extent, I have always done some version of that. For example, in five paragraph essays for school (back in the day), I liked to write the three body paragraphs to figure out what I was doing and *then* write the introduction/conclusion. I’ve done that for technical papers at work as well.
So it shouldn’t have surprised me when I realized I needed to do that in my stories, too. Having drunk from the “show don’t tell” Kool-Aid, I tend to try to describe step-by-step action to try to capture the visuals that I am seeing in my head. Unfortunately, this can generate some really, well, *boring* prose. Yes, seeing an acrobatic troupe build a human pyramid is cool, but describing each jump and flip to make it? Not so much.
So in the current short project, 173 visually awesome but boring-as-showing words have now been summarized in 23 action-packed narrative summary words. Much better.