How to tell if your are showing or telling? - Page 2

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  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by seeoil View Post
    There's this idea that showing is often associated with scenes and telling goes with summaries. Both are equally important, in my opinion, learning how to master both, blending them, and placing them with precision in your work is I think a great weapon to have in your arsenal, more so than just mastering the art of showing. However, showing alone, is a powerful tool (for the reasons the people above have stated and-) mostly because it gives the reader the room to freely interpret the text the way they want it. A scene can be seen through so many eyes, digested in so many ways, but write it as a summary and it pins down the reader to a single point.

    So, analyze. Is there an event in the story that you would like to present as a fact or paint as a scene? Did your text suddenly become bland and dragging? Or is it becoming too unreliable and oversaturated? Is there something you want to leave to the reader to pick up or hand directly to them?

    I'd recommend Laurie Alberts' Showing & Telling and Noah Lukeman's The First 5 Pages (Chapter 11 and maybe 15, too) if you're interested in this idea and would like to explore more.

    Awesome response! I especially liked this part: " learning how to master both, blending them, and placing them with precision in your work is, I think, a great weapon to have in your arsenal"



  2. #12
    I mean, writing, "He bowed over the white porcelain basin, fly unzipped, a narrow torrent of yellow warm waste streaming toward the bowl below," instead of "He pissed" is just trying too hard in my opinion.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by J T Chris View Post
    I mean, writing, "He bowed over the white porcelain basin, fly unzipped, a narrow torrent of yellow warm waste streaming toward the bowl below," instead of "He pissed" is just trying too hard in my opinion.

    Both of those examples are not good.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    Both of those examples are not good.
    If you can provide an objective reason for what is wrong with the sentence "He pissed," I will nominate you for another medal.
    I wrote some things, once...

    "Fool Me Once" in Hidden Content
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  5. #15
    If I was gonna get granular I'd speak to his character;

    Stumbling into the stall, Dave instinctively spat his cigarette butt into the toilet bowl. Giving a smile, he enjoyed nothing more than a fast game of target practice.
    "You sank my battleship!" He said in a cheesy-fake British accent as his urine stream sent the hapless butt spinning away. Laughing senselessly, the raggedy man found great entertainment in his own toilet-bowl marksmanship. "Now it's time for you to die, Mister Bond! Minion, fire the yellow laser!"

  6. #16
    I was editing this morn and I came across this really great example of mixing telling with showing, or using telling to show, or something. I call it illustrating a character thru the eyes of another, which in this case is one character SHOWING you about another character by TELLING you about her.

    This is an excerpt from a personal log written by the main character:

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    If I was gonna get granular I'd speak to his character;

    Stumbling into the stall, Dave instinctively spat his cigarette butt into the toilet bowl. Giving a smile, he enjoyed nothing more than a fast game of target practice.
    "You sank my battleship!" He said in a cheesy-fake British accent as his urine stream sent the hapless butt spinning away. Laughing senselessly, the raggedy man found great entertainment in his own toilet-bowl marksmanship. "Now it's time for you to die, Mister Bond! Minion, fire the yellow laser!"
    That's just a question if style, not the root of the problem with harping on Show vs. Tell too much. It stands to reason that most writers could try harder not to pad on an extra 200 words when two will do.

  8. #18
    Tell when it needs to be told, and show when it needs to be shown. This comes through practice and through writer's intuition. Develop that and you'll eventually strike a balance between the two.
    |Stories and whatnot. |
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  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by J T Chris View Post
    That's just a question if style, not the root of the problem with harping on Show vs. Tell too much. It stands to reason that most writers could try harder not to pad on an extra 200 words when two will do.

    I don't follow?

  10. #20
    I find that telling is good for exposition whereas showing is better for action.

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