Adventures into Show Don’t Tell – Part 1


I’ve officially finished my first novel. That’s great! It’s exciting. But then… then comes the first kick-me-in-the-face round of edits. I’ve been lucky enough to have some phenomenal beta readers including a critique group, friends and my mother, a fellow writer.

Ultimately, everyone seems to like the story – or so they’re telling me – but there’s definitely work to be done. My mother did an incredible edit of the entire manuscript.

Mom – if you’re reading this, I bow down at your feet for the time and energy that you put into it. It’s more appreciated than you’ll ever know.

One of the problems, however, with edits, is that you sit back and go “What was I thinking?” A problem I had in particular? After a good month long writing streak, I got into the habit of telling, not showing. I was too excited to get the story out on paper to think about showing. Ultimately, I’m glad that I did write the middle of the story quickly. I was passionate about it and the words just flowed.

Now comes the hard part.

When I Google “Show Don’t Tell” I get a million and one definitions of the writing term and a few random examples.

What have I learned from a million and one websites telling me the exact same thing? It’s going to take practice. Tons and tons of practice. So, here goes.

If anyone out there has some great examples of teaching Show, Don’t Tell, or know of authors who excel at this, I’d love to hear about it.

Wish me luck.

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4 Responses to Adventures into Show Don’t Tell – Part 1

  1. Nicole January 5, 2014 at 2:18 am #

    Good luck! Your Mama is awesome!

  2. jodiellewellyn January 5, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

    One of the easiest examples I’ve seen is in dialogue tags “she said, nervously” – for example is telling. Where as, “she said, glancing over her shoulder” – would be showing. If that makes any sense. I don’t even know if that’s a good example, haha.

    • vscot848 January 5, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

      That’s great. Thanks so much!

  3. dianacranstoun January 7, 2014 at 12:55 am #

    Jodie’s suggestion is spot on. Anything that ends in -ly should be treated with great suspicion. Same with ‘felt’. If you say ‘she felt happy’ you’re telling. Show us her happiness!
    Your story and characters are great – good luck with your submission!!

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