Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday's Writer's Tip -- Revision -- Showing and Telling

As writers, we constantly hear Show not Tell. Is this good advice? In many ways it is but there are times for telling rather than showing.

Tell is description and belongs in fiction. Tell is used to show what people and places look like. Tell is used to show sounds, smells, touches and taste. It also is used to describe what they are feeling and thinking.
Tell is also a way to get from one scene to another.

Show is scenes.

Too much tell bogs down a story, Too much tell can also blunt a scene that is dramatic and complicated. Tell allows the writer to chicken out.

Too much show brings a problem for the reader and can leave them breathless. Jumping from one scene to another with no pause can cause a reader to miss important bits of information since they are drawn forward faster and faster.

When revising look to see if you describing too much of the action. If you find too much tell see if dialogue or an interaction between characters can speed the things up. Are you telling more than is needed? No one wants to read about a character's every moment. Check to make sure you're giving your readers a chance to breathe between scenes.

1 comment:

Jennifer Probst said...

Always a great lesson to keep re-learning. Thanks!