Learning Show Don't Tell

Posted by ulrch on July 26th, 2018

Show, Don't Tell is not only the writer's first commandment, it is also the first commandment that is broken the most often. Some things should tell!(click the web find more details about makeup of eyes here )

  • Newspaper articles - Ex. - The robber was last seen heading south on Main Street.
  • Most magazine articles - Ex. - Joseph Hanson resigned his position with the GOP on March 26.
  • Advertisements tell - Ex. - When you have a stain, Shout it out!
  • Journals tell - Ex. - I had a lousy day today.

You will notice one common denominator in all of these statements. All of them are flat, descriptive statements or commands. That is telling. It's very shallow. Very matter of fact. Of necessity, stories must do a certain amount of telling, but it is your job to recognize when you can change the telling to showing.

A listed description is always telling. For example: She had coal black hair, dark brown eyes, long lashes, and the cutest rosebud lips you ever saw.

Always release descriptions a little at a time, in one or more scenes. For example:

Lisa's coal black hair flew in the wind. Roberta and Eleanor stood watching.

"My boyfriend virtually drowns in her chocolaty eyes. I'll bet she wears false mink lashes," said Roberta.

"Nah. They're hers, alright. I have brown eyes. That's no biggie, but I'd give my arm to have rosebud lips like those," said Eleanor.

The first thing you will notice is that telling the facts took only 15 words, but showing the facts took 54 words. Keep in mind that showing is a higher law in writing than saving words. It will always take three to four times the words to show. Don't fight it.

Let's look at more examples:

Instead of writing this flat statement, "He works out at the gym and he has a great physique," we could show his awesome form by having a girl say, "He came out of the gym wearing one of those tight muscle shirts. Wow!"(If you would like to learn a little more about mink eyelash price you can visit our site at: [seaweedfertilizers] , mink eyelashes this product could possibly be the most appropriate one to work with.)

Another way to show something is by using internal dialog. Let's say you have a scene in the kitchen where a woman is angry. Instead of spending too much time throwing pots and pans, let her express her feelings through her thoughts. Yes, this is a form of telling, but your reader will see it through the character's eyes. (BTW, internal dialog is always expressed in italics.)

Or yet another way is by observing the woman like a fly on the wall. Example: She stood stock still, her right hand on her hip, and one foot patting the floor. Blood engorged the vessels in her neck and temples in coordination with the crimson red that flushed her face. We all knew it was time to get out of Dodge.

More ways to learn showing:

  • Read literature and pick out telling sentences
  • Review your own work and looking for telling sentences
  • Observe people and make a telling statement about them, then change it to showing

Learning to show will take most people several months. Be patient. It takes lots of practice. Find more writing information below.

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Joined: June 19th, 2018
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