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Friday, February 26, 2010

Show and tell

When I was well, younger at school we had this thing called show and tell. With novel writing showing is always better than telling. I know many don't really have the grasp of what this means. Myself I had trouble with the concept, but once you get it will stick. Trust me. So the reason I brought up the show and tell was because novel writing reminded me of it. You show off an object and you talk about it. Just like in novel writing you have something to show and you have to show it to your readers visually instead of just telling them. So here is an example of show vs. tell.

Tell: Maya kissed Gabriel.

Gosh, that’s boring, eh?

Show: Maya's leaned forward her lips tenderly connecting with Gabriel's.

Not the best example, but simple... So how do you guys keep the tell out of your novels? Doesn't it jump in at least a few times? Do you think that it's a bad idea to tell at all, or do you think sometimes show just doesn't work?


  1. Like all rules, this one is meant to be broken (at least occasionally). Sometimes summing up what happened between the last scene and this one, for instance, is better than describing, say, the entire boring trip that took our character from their last scene to the present one.

    I guess the overriding rule for this one is "leave out the boring bits."

  2. We are rebels here arn't we. I admit to breaking quite a bit of rules, lol.