Show, Don’t Tell

*sighs deeply and raises hand* Ok, I admit it, I’m a teller, there, I said it 😦

There are lots of things I need to improve with my writing, but, unfortunately the Show Don’t Tell thingy is really taking a while to sink in. It’s especially annoying when you read successful authors work and you think, ‘ere, ‘ang on….. How comes Anne Tyler gets away with it? (sorry Anne, if you’re reading this, which i know you’re probably not, but you were the only example that sprung to mind as I recently read one of your books and annoyed the hell out of my husband for constantly complaining about your ‘telling’ lol).

I’m sure Ms Tyler wouldn’t really mind me using her for an example… many books has she had published now?

Anyway, I know what I should be doing, it’s just that when I write I completely forget. I get so carried away in the story that I end up tell tell tell tell tell πŸ™‚

Was good to see a Show Don’t Tell article on the Writing Forward site a few days ago. I loved the examples. It’s easy enough isn’t it?

Before I started writing I didn’t even notice the difference between Showing and Telling when I read a book. A good story is a good story isn’t it?

Do you naturally ‘Show’ or do you battle with ‘Telling’ too?

Came across this photo on FaceBook….. exactly! πŸ˜‰


I’ve spent the last 2 days editing a 2500 word romance short story which will be my final assignment for my course. It will be going off tomorrow!!!!!!! I’ve submitted it to a competition , so that brings my ‘Out There’s’ up to 15 *grins stupidly* It’s so addictive! It’s like just after getting your first tattoo and then wanting another one lol πŸ˜‰

Yesterday’s prompt, about the eve of a funeral….was upsetting 😦 I actually cried whilst I was writing it lol. The thought of people I love dying scares the hell out of me, it’s my Achilles heel if you know what I mean. I wrote a story about a woman’s husband dying of a heart attack and the fact that she placed his mobile phone in his coffin so that she could always hear his voice on his voice mail and be able to text him. God…even just writing that has set me off blabbing again *and breath* lol

*pulls herself together*

Tomorrows prompt is the world before you were born and I’m thinking of writing a piece that’s sort of memoir, well, I wasn’t actually there, but, you know what I mean, a true story, about my parents πŸ™‚

Having a writing session with a friend today, to work on our Horoscope home work…should be good! πŸ™‚

13 thoughts on “Show, Don’t Tell

  1. I always think of show don’t tell as the ability to describe in a rich way. Sometimes I can do it, but usually I can’t. I’m finding that writing rules are just guidelines. You know them so you can break them. That’s what I think at least.


  2. There’s a balance to be struck between ‘show’ and ‘tell’. If you ‘showed’ everything, you’d have a play! Telling is necessary to fill in the gaps and vary the pace – things that make the story readable and give it rhythm. Someone I know came up with a pretty good definition of how to achieve the balance – ‘show’ everything that is of immediate importance and ‘tell’ everything else. Obviously there’s some crossover, but you get the gist. More experienced writers know when they can get away with telling what could be shown. Sometimes it’s for the pace and structure.


  3. Sometimes I show without thinking. Other times I really struggle to. Sometimes I think I over-show a bit. Like Sue said above, it’s about balance. You do need some telling to make it readable. Thanks for sharing the writing forward link – I love that quote from Anton Chekhov!


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