I recently entered a writing contest and was surprised to see that most of the negative comments reflected my telling not showing.
While two of the three judges were very complimentary of my work, they joined the one who wasn’t, to point out places where I was telling and not showing.
I thought I could use a refresher on how to show and not tell, and of course, wanted to share it with you.
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard the phrase-show don’t tell. Everybody knows you’re supposed to show and not tell. You want the reader to experience the scene as if they are one of the characters walking through the story beside the hero/heroine.
If you’re like me, you know what you’re supposed to do, but it’s a lot harder than it seems. Once you start writing that novel, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
There are 5 tools for showing:
- Interior dialogue
- Interior emotion
If you’re doing anything that’s not one of these 5 things, you’re telling.
Why is it so important to show versus tell? Showing provides your reader with a powerful emotional experience.
It doesn’t matter how great you do everything else in that novel if you’re missing that emotional experience, you lose. If everything you did is bad, but you have a great emotional experience, you may still win.
It all comes down to the takeaway. Every great novelist will tell you, you have to give your reader that powerful emotional experience or they won’t be coming back.
-Something to think about 🙂