A Random Thought about “Show don’t Tell”

Just to prove that I am thinking about writing amidst blobbing out in front of Marvel Movies…

I had a random insight into Showing and Telling, probably a bit more helpful for planners or gardeners in the rewriting stage.

Once people have got their head around what Showing and Telling are, the majority of discussions revolve around when or when not to use either. As much as a text that doesn’t ‘show’ us what is happening is dry, a story cannot be devoid of ‘telling’ either. I’ve often used the rubric of if I want the reader to know something I tell them, when I want them to feel something I show them.

But my random insight I think refines this a little more – its the key plot points and changes in a character arc that ought to be shown. Essentially if you have a synopsis of your story – every element (e.g. the details that 100% need to be included within an absolutely paired down document summarizing your story) within that should be shown in the actual text as these are the vital organs of your story. Writing this down seems almost common-sensical, but I think this explains why some stories feel like they go off on tangents, or the scenes feel a little melodramatic rather than dramatic. Telling is fine for many reasons, such as setting a scene, or reminding a reader of certain points, however the crux of the drama is what needs to be shown lest the very core of the story doesn’t resonate with the reader.

Anyhow – that was my random thought – back to Marvel Movies


One thought on “A Random Thought about “Show don’t Tell”

  1. I would “like” this, but WordPress isn’t letting me for some reason. Very valuable insight.

    I’m also enjoying your recap of the Marvel movies. It is interesting how our opinions of them change over time (especially after seeing sequels etc).

    Liked by 1 person

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