This blog was featured on 12/18/2017
Examples of Why It's Better to Show Than Tell
Contributor
Written by
Maria Murnane
December 2017
Contributor
Written by
Maria Murnane
December 2017

If you're still puzzled by the concept of show vs. tell, you're not alone. I think many authors tell too much because they want to make sure their readers "get it." To that I say, "We get it!"

I recently finished a novel in which the author repeatedly explained why the characters were doing or feeling certain things when no explanation was necessary. As a result, I had a hard time getting through the book, and unfortunately I did not enjoy it. 

Here are some examples, with some details changed:

  • I woke up the next morning with a headache from drinking too much vodka.

The issue: I already know the character drank too much vodka, because the previous scene was all about that.

  •  I pulled my hand back. Noticing the gesture, Ron asked, "You okay, beautiful?"

The issue: I can infer that Ron noticed the gesture. If he didn't notice it, why would he ask the narrator if she is okay?

  • I looked at him and felt my cheeks flush with embarrassment.

The issue: If her cheeks are flushing, I can infer that she is embarrassed.

  • I pulled out the pen and notepad I always kept in my purse in case I wanted to jot something down.

The issue: I know that a pen and notepad is there to jot something down.

In each of these examples, by telling me what was obvious the author pulled me out of the story. This happened over and over, and instead of getting immersed in the fiction I found myself thinking, "Why does the author keep telling me this?" You want your readers to feel engaged, so let them by trusting them to "get it." 

-Maria

Maria Murnane writes bestselling novels about life, love and friendship. Have questions? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2017 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

Let's be friends

The Women Behind She Writes

25 articles
12 articles

Featured Members (8)

12 articles
39 articles
107 articles
334 articles

Featured Groups (7)

Trending Articles

  • Process & Inspiration - Thinking Beyond The Edge...
  • How Facebook Advertising increased my book sales more...
  • Do Not Delete Your Memoir
  • Leslie Jamison on Originality, Boundaries and...
  • Manhattan Like Me: Or Why Location, Location,...
  • Worried about time? The answer might be different than...

Comments