Tell Me, Don’t Show Me

14 Comments

  1. It is such a tricky balance between show, don't tell and tell, don't show. Thanks for the tips!

  2. You nailed this one, Belinda. :D

    The only thing that I could think to add is that narration can also be preferable in a longer-than-usual form if someone else is telling a story about something that happened while the POV character was absent.

  3. Margay – It definitely is a tricky balance. I hope my examples and tips help!

    Eliza – Good point. It seems to me that narration should be used when a lot of information is required, rather than showing everything that happened, to keep the story going. And if a lot happened, then you're required to write a longer narration. The biggest concern I have with that, however, is that long narration can get a bit boring these days. Unless, of course, you're Neil Gaiman, Steven Lawhead, or someone brilliant like that.

    And then again, there are exceptions to the rule. Moral of the story: If there's justification behind your decision, do it.

  4. It is such a tricky balance between show, don’t tell and tell, don’t show. Thanks for the tips!

  5. You nailed this one, Belinda. :D

    The only thing that I could think to add is that narration can also be preferable in a longer-than-usual form if someone else is telling a story about something that happened while the POV character was absent.

  6. Margay – It definitely is a tricky balance. I hope my examples and tips help!

    Eliza – Good point. It seems to me that narration should be used when a lot of information is required, rather than showing everything that happened, to keep the story going. And if a lot happened, then you’re required to write a longer narration. The biggest concern I have with that, however, is that long narration can get a bit boring these days. Unless, of course, you’re Neil Gaiman, Steven Lawhead, or someone brilliant like that.

    And then again, there are exceptions to the rule. Moral of the story: If there’s justification behind your decision, do it.

  7. This is one of the most useful blogs on my blogroll. I don't know if you're an English professor or not, but you know what you're talking about and you make it accessible to the reader.

    I have a particular problem transitioning in and out of scenes. I guess because it's become shorthand almost to just separate it with spaces, or ******* So we get lazy and forget how to transition and that we can do it without creating a mini-chapter inside the chapter. Definitely something to keep in mind. Though I do use ********* on the rare occasion where I switch POV inside one chapter.

    also… Silly Frank, girls locker rooms are for girls! :P

  8. This is one of the most useful blogs on my blogroll. I don’t know if you’re an English professor or not, but you know what you’re talking about and you make it accessible to the reader.

    I have a particular problem transitioning in and out of scenes. I guess because it’s become shorthand almost to just separate it with spaces, or ******* So we get lazy and forget how to transition and that we can do it without creating a mini-chapter inside the chapter. Definitely something to keep in mind. Though I do use ********* on the rare occasion where I switch POV inside one chapter.

    also… Silly Frank, girls locker rooms are for girls! :P

  9. Zoe – Thank you! I’m not an English professor, though I do live a couple blocks away from one, haha. No, I’ve just read a lot about writing, and finished an English minor this past year. Like you, I found a lot of it inaccessible, so I started this blog two years ago to spread the knowledge.

    If you’re looking for a good writing book, I sincerely suggest you read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King. It’s to the point and really accessible, and my favorite writing book out there. It’s like the new Strunk & White, but geared toward fiction.

    That said, I had the same trouble with my first book. I didn’t know how to transition between scenes. So I didn’t. Even in my new book, each chapter is a sort of self-contained scene. Every once in a while I have multiple scenes in a single chapter, but not often.

    Maybe we should do another workshop series on transitions…

  10. Zoe – Thank you! I’m not an English professor, though I do live a couple blocks away from one, haha. No, I’ve just read a lot about writing, and finished an English minor this past year. Like you, I found a lot of it inaccessible, so I started this blog two years ago to spread the knowledge.

    If you’re looking for a good writing book, I sincerely suggest you read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King. It’s to the point and really accessible, and my favorite writing book out there. It’s like the new Strunk & White, but geared toward fiction.

    That said, I had the same trouble with my first book. I didn’t know how to transition between scenes. So I didn’t. Even in my new book, each chapter is a sort of self-contained scene. Every once in a while I have multiple scenes in a single chapter, but not often.

    Maybe we should do another workshop series on transitions…

  11. Yay, I have that book on my shelf at home, I just looked. Though never got around to reading it. Now I will. Thanks!

  12. Yay, I have that book on my shelf at home, I just looked. Though never got around to reading it. Now I will. Thanks!

  13. Thank you so very very very much for writing this.

  14. Thank you so very very very much for writing this.

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