More on 'Tell, don't show'
Published: January 26, 2007
|In the March issue of The Writer, novelist Bharti Kirchner wrote a Step by Step article titled "When it pays to tell, not show: Sometimes there are good reasons to turn fiction writing's best-known aphorism on its head." Following are her writing exercise and list of Resources on this topic.|
Take a character of yours who has just completed an action or finished conversing with another character and is itching to carry out the resolve she's made. You'll have to position her in the proper place and time for her to do so, which means you'll have to construct another scene. But first, craft a transition between the earlier scene and the new one, which is easily achieved by summarizing. For example:
Sylvia drove five miles to her mother's house to give her the news.
Unless, of course, something happens to Sylvia along the way that has relevance to the plot and therefore needs to be shown in vivid colors.
Check the following two Web articles for more information on the topic of "telling, not showing":
Elements of Craft: Tell, Don't Show"
Zen and the Art of Telling Versus Showing"