Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Tell

Tell you something.... I'm not very good at show don't tell. Honestly.

I don't know what it is either but it's almost like I can't wrap my mind around the concept. I've done research on the topic, taken part in blogfests related to it, once held a contest around the idea, and still I struggle to write a story that is shown instead of told. Other people have even given me advice on it.

But still...

I try to look at first drafts as write and fix later. But fixing later isn't always easy because it's like how I used to try and fix passive voice on essays, the computer would still say the new way was passive too. Only there isn't a squiggly red line that shows when something is Tell instead of Show. There should be though.


Do you struggle with Tell?


6 comments:

Loralie Hall said...

I don't think that's all a bad thing. Stories have to have some tell. For instance, I'd rather read 'He stood up' than 'he extended the muscles in his legs, exerting enough force to lift his body but not so much that he left his feet'.

But "He was hot" doesn't quite convey the same feeling as "sweat trickled down his face".

It's a balance. I bet you're better at it than you're letting on ^_^

alexia said...

You can't show everything, or everyone's books would be a million pages. Also, the voice of the story dictates a lot. I think the important thing is not to info-dump. If you can weave in things the reader needs to know without them realizing it, you're good.

alexia said...

You can't show everything, or everyone's books would be a million pages. Also, the voice of the story dictates a lot. I think the important thing is not to info-dump. If you can weave in things the reader needs to know without them realizing it, you're good.

Dawn Embers said...

Loralie - Thanks. :-) You're right about the balance. Sometimes things have to be told and others are shown. I guess you'll find out once I have a story for you to read.

Alexia - Thanks for the comment. True that everything can't be shown, for sure. I appreciate the response.

Donna Hole said...

I have a hard time "showing" in the first draft, and even the first revision. Then I get the hang of things after a while.

I agree though, sometimes the more direct approach of "telling" just says it all :) At least for some scenes.

.......dhole

Dawn Embers said...

Donna Hole - Thanks for the comment. Glad I'm not the only one.

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