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Author Topic: Show, Don't (Just) Tell  (Read 2957 times)

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Offline Pharosian

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Show, Don't (Just) Tell
« on: November 22, 2011, 10:48:10 AM »
The age-old "show don't tell" rule has been discussed and pontificated upon at great length. But today I ran across a blog post that provides a series of examples to illustrate the point. The blogger begins with a Tell version that is bare bones. In a couple of cases, he adds a variation that looks better but still amounts to "Tell assisted by details." He finishes with a Show version. While the examples may not be perfect (one commenter took the blogger to task), they provide very good contrast between Show and Tell, which I found useful and interesting.



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Re: Show, Don't (Just) Tell
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2011, 11:18:07 AM »
Agreed. Good show/tell examples.

Offline eagle37

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Re: Show, Don't (Just) Tell
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2011, 08:34:19 AM »
Just flicked through, look very good. Will study in more detail later - thanks for posting

Offline ozmosis7

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Re: Show, Don't (Just) Tell
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2011, 09:33:14 AM »
Good stuff. Michael Knost has a great class on this.
Author of Dark Fiction - http://kennethwcain.com

Offline delboy

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Re: Show, Don't (Just) Tell
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2011, 10:18:17 AM »
Yep, very good - although thank goodness the author went on to say that tell is okay sometimes hence the (just) in the title. I do like to play Devil's advocate though.... and in the process of showing that

My brother is talented.


My brother modifies sports car engines, competes in ballroom dance tournaments, and analyzes chess algorithms.

“Wow, that guy is talented,” you say to yourself. You didn’t need me to TELL you what you’re supposed to think, because I carefully chose those details. (They SHOW you the range of my brother’s talents.)

We're simply told that he modifies engines, dances, and plays chess. Why not show us that, too? Let's see him underneath the hood of a car whilst discussing the King's Gambit with his dancing partner (but don't tell us it's his dancing partner...show us that, too  :shocked:). Of course, then we might end up using 1000 words to simply show that the kid is talented, when we could have told the reader it in 4.


"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
Robert B. Parker


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