Thursday, July 07, 2005

Show vs. Tell

Why you should SHOW, rather than TELL, your story...

TELLING gives the reader information about what happened but does not ask them to "be there" for the event.
SHOWING creates a mental picture for the reader. Our society is more visual than ever before and readers insist on visual narrative.

TELLING holds the reader at arms-length. The author is involved -- the reader is not.
SHOWING is participatory. It involves the reader in the story by evoking feelings and by forcing the reader to think for themselves and draw their own conclusions.

TELLING asks the reader to think or act a certain way.
SHOWING unveils the event and lets the reader draw their own conclusion.

TELLING preaches "at" the reader.
SHOWING helps to avoid preachy writing.

TELLING makes the reader feel "dumb" because the author tends to bang them over the head with the details.
SHOWING lets the reader know you think they are smart enough to "get the point" of your manuscript.

Points offered by:
Louise Bergmann DuMont
Founder and Facilitator of the NJCWG
Director of the NJCWG - A Reason to Write Conference

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