Alan Cleaver

Show, Don’t Tell

One of the best tips I have found about writing is to show, not tell. It took me a while to figure out what this actually meant; how can you show in written words? Isn’t writing just telling?

No. No it is not.

Telling is simply telling what is happening. The simple things, like he did this and she did that. But showing is actually describing it, and describing the feeling. One you understand the concept, it is easy to try and put it into your work.

Example

Telling:

The door opened slowly, and I was scared to see who was behind it.

Showing:

My stomach dropped as a creak sounded from the corner of the room. I squeezed my eyes shut, wishing it would go away. The light from the other side of the door seeped into the room slowly, the person on the other side of the door taking their time. Part of me was relieved. I didn’t want to see them. My fate could be anything now, depending on who was behind the door.

Of course, I have also discovered that sometimes a bit of telling is okay. Sometimes it is needed to move the story along. But if showing isn’t your thing, then don’t worry about it. It’s just an idea.

Mel x

Want to find out more, or get a second opinion to prove I’m not crazy? Click here.

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