Thursday, September 29, 2005

Show Vs Tell Handout #3

Worthy Show/Tell Quotes

Sol Stein in Stein on Writing says:

"There are three areas in which the writer is particularly vulnerable to telling rather than showing: When he tells what happened before the story began; When he tells what a character looks like; And when he tells what a character senses, that is, what he sees, hears, smells, touches, and tastes.

Those are all places where the author's voice can intrude on the reader’s experience."

In Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne & King says:

"But telling your readers about your characters' emotions is not the best way to get your readers involved. Far better to show why your characters feel the way they do.”

It's easier to simply say, 'Erma was depressed' than to come up with some original bit of action that shows she's depressed. But if you have her take one bite of her favorite cake and push the rest away (or have her polish off the whole cake), you will have given your readers a far better feel for her depression than you could by simply describing it.

It is nearly always best to RESIST the URGE to EXPLAIN (or, as we so often write it in manuscript margins R.U.E.)."

Sol Stein in Stein on Writing says:

"He took a walk. Tells. He walked four blocks. Begins to show. He walked the four blocks slowly. Shows more clearly. He walked the four blocks as if it were the last mile. Shows more by giving the reader a sense of the character’s feelings, which the previous version did not. He walked as if against an unseen wind, hoping someone would stop him. Shows most of all because it gives the reader a sense of what the character desperately wants."

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