Author: Sandy Vaile
Previously published on the Romance Writers of Australia blog 23/08/22
‘Show don’t tell’ is one of the most worrisome writing guidelines ever created, but it’s also essential to modern authors. Finding the right balance of showing and telling in your story is like patting your head and rubbing your belly while balancing on one leg at the top of a pole in a river full of crocodiles. (And I never exaggerate.)
Authors get themselves tied up in knots over how much to show and where to tell. It's painful to watch. But there is good news. Take a deep breath, let go of the minutiae that is bogging you down and remember one simple and liberating concept, and you’ll be on your way to mastering this tricky business.
The One Showing Concept You Need to Know
This concept is so simple you’ll wonder why the ultimatum of ‘show don’t tell’ was ever given.
Deciding when to show and when to tell
We know “show don’t tell” is a vital concept because it is constantly drilled into writers, but the truth is, the application is subtle, and therefore often difficult. How the heck do you decide which technique is most appropriate in each instance?
Well, I’m going to provide you with a simple process to help you choose the best way to go, so you can be confident that you are using showing and telling in a way that is going to best suit your story and engage readers at the right time. This is the key to achieving that special blend of storytelling and emotive demonstration that enables us to convey our landscapes, characters and plots in an engaging way.
Author: Sandy Vaile
I’m here to demystify the old “show don’t tell” adage.
We’ve all heard it, but it’s often confusing and therefore difficult to apply to our own work. Telling has long been associated with bad writing, and showing with good writing. In my opinion, all of the techniques in your writing craft toolbox are dependent on one another, and it’s not possible to just learn them all and instantly be a good writer. Most of us learn one new skill at a time, and once mastered, it comes naturally to us. Showing and telling are just extra skills for your toolbox, and when broken down into bite-sized pieces, will become integral to your writing style.
Empowering aspiring authors to confidently write novels they're proud to publish