RSS Feed Print
Showing Versus Telling
Danielle Bowers
Posted: Monday, February 13, 2012 9:29 PM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280

I was doing a little research today and figured I'd share a few useful links.  These are the best examples of what 'showing versus telling' means. 



GD Deckard
Posted: Monday, February 13, 2012 10:16 PM

Jay Greenstein nailed it: "The trick is to use the character’s senses, not our own."

Simple, and such a useful insight.

Jay points out that we, the writer, may see the scene like a camera and that can sound like a documentary or a voice over. "But in the character’s POV the focus is on what has attracted the character’s attention in that moment. If someone’s hunting them they’re not going to look at the big view of the scenery, and everything they do look at will be seen in the context of the problem they face. It’s a much tighter focus than the view the storyteller has."

His full explanation is here on Book Country at:
(Scroll down to the 3rd response.)

Danielle Bowers
Posted: Monday, February 13, 2012 10:47 PM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280

Yes, he goes into a lot of detail explaining it. 

Some people, myself included, learn better looking at examples of Showing versus Telling.  The links I posted SHOW the reader how it works instead of telling. 

Alexander Hollins
Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 10:13 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 416

Danielle, awesome links! Those are going in my sig line on a few forums where I tend to give advice to new writers.

Joseph M Kurtenbach
Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 3:45 AM
Joined: 11/27/2011
Posts: 9

Great info on an important topic.  It's so easy to slip into lazy mode and name emotions, or other happenings in the story, for the reader.  I find it helpful to also think about showing vs. telling as letting the reader do some of the work.  In a way, it's like being a good teacher.  You show your students the problem and provide them the tools and information they need to solve it.  Sure, it's easier for everybody if you just tell them the answer, but that's not the point.
Laura Dwyer
Posted: Thursday, February 16, 2012 9:37 AM
Joined: 1/10/2012
Posts: 192

Danielle - Great articles! I think the second one is particularly helpful in that it gives a quick test for writing: beware of naming emotions. It's a perfect reminder while one is writing. Like another author/peer on this site has reminded me, it's so easy to simply tell as we have been taught. And, as a former reporter, it's certainly a deeply-ingrained habit that I must break! Thanks for sharing!
A J Hart
Posted: Sunday, March 4, 2012 11:13 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 26

Thanks for the articles Danielle! 

Rachel Russell
Posted: Friday, March 9, 2012 10:00 AM
Joined: 4/29/2011
Posts: 27

Bookmarked those into my browser!

Jump to different Forum...