Saturday, May 10, 2008

Advice - please???

I'm trying to flesh out the story bit I posted previously, as well as finish up a rough draft of my PBSS.

Here's where I need help.

Can anyone link me to a particularly well-worded description, exercise, tutorial, on showing v. telling? Something with good examples - both of what not to do and how to fix it? (Yes, I know, practice is key, but how about a starting place? Snark, EE, Write Stuff, something?)

It's never been an issue that I've worked on, and after the original comments on my PBSS, I catch myself "telling" more than I would like.

Many thanks in advance!


  1. Hey, Aerin! (Early happy mother's day, btw). Let me first say that I am no expert when it comes to writing - I only teach high schoolers...which makes me even less qualified to give you any advice, lol.

    BUT, I did find this one link that describes "Show not Tell" well. I like his premise that it's really "Seduction vs. Instruction." Maybe it's just "seduction" that I like in general. Anyhow, here is the link.

  2. OK, BSP... I was sort of buying into that article you linked to until I saw the photo at the end.

    Sorry, Aerin, no links with quick lessons to offer at this moment. I think the "show don't tell" thing is a sense you develop over time. If I remember anything that was particularly helpful, I'll drop by with the link.

  3. Yeah, you think the picture needs to be updated?

    I was going to say, Aerin, that you already "show" - but I like Mr. Mullet-perm-in-a-tuxedo's idea that it's always a good idea to remember not to "instruct." And "showing" is more than being descriptive - describing the scene with all of your senses (something I do waaaaay to much of) can lead to information overload just as easily as "telling" can. What is *not* said in a piece speaks volumes (which is exactly what you did in your little piece that you submitted for the "Whispers" contest).

  4. I know I should be able to point you in the right direction on this because I've read so many good articles on showing vs telling but for the life of me, I can't think of where I found them.
    There are, however, loads and loads of links on the net that deal with the topic but of course, which one is the one you'll relate to best, well, only you'll know.
    Sorry that I'm not being of much help.
    I would say though, don't stress too much about it - all these rules can be overhyped and Bluesugarpoet's point is well made. Ultimately, it's about finding a good balance.

  5. I think sentences that use forms of the verb "to be" and "to have" indicate telling instead of showing.

    Example: He *was* hot. (Telling)
    Sweat dripped from his forehead. (Showing)

    Example: He had a broken foot. (telling)
    He limped across the room, accidentally banging his cast on the desk. (showing)

    I don't have any links, sorry. But I think the more you read (award winning books, in whatever genre you like) the more you will get a feel. I think.

    that's all I got.



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