STEPHEN HALL online

Show and not tell; but how?


It’s an unwritten, yet written and understood rule that novelists and screenplay writers should use the technique show and not tell, in their writing. The difficulty is in explaining how this really works in the actual mode of writing.

It’s always better for the reader to be able to feel and share an experience from the writing than being told what to see and hear.

Melissa Donovan has finally captured the best way to show this magical writing secret. In her article she explains a very simple process so newbie writers can easily see the difference and clearly suggest ways to include the well proven process in your next writing.

Of particular use is this phrase to explain how to make clear – show and not tell:

“Yet it’s actually a simple concept. Ironically, the best way to explain it is to show, rather than tell”

Show – Tell
Kate was tired. – Kate rubbed her eyes and willed herself to keep them open.
It was early spring. – New buds were pushing through the frost.
Charlie was blind. – Charlie wore dark glasses and was accompanied by a seeing-eye dog.
Sheena is a punk rocker. – Sheena has three piercings in her face and wears her hair in a purple mohawk.
James was the captain. – “At ease,” James called out before relaxing into the Captain’s chair.

Excellent advice Melissa and one I’ll strive to use more often.

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STEPHEN HALL online