16 April 2014


Every writer has loathed the phrase "show don't tell" at some point in developing the craft. It can be one of the harder skills to master - but it takes so long to show something when I can just tell the reader what's happening. True.

Writers need to balance many things, and yes, moving the story along is one of those things. Just don't do it at the expense of your reader's connection with the story nor insult their intelligence. Show them the world and what's happening in it. Let them decide what it means. That's the way I like to think about showing instead of telling.

I really like this quote from Immediate Fiction: A Complete Writing Course by Jerry Cleaver:

Showing: Are the characters acting and talking as much as possible? Are you creating a moment-by-moment, word-for-word experience that's happening right before our eyes with no general statements or summaries? Showing means we always have something we can picture in our mind. It's visual and almost always scene with dialogue.

What can be simpler than that? I mean, in terms of understanding what we need to be doing in our fiction.

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