Show, don’t tell advice and more.
The rule is drilled into all of us. We’re not to tell, we’re to show. I was discussing writing rules with MMJaye the other day, and I thought our conversation would interest the rest of you as well.
As anyone who has written even a few words knows, there are many different ways of saying the same thing. Consider the following example:
I met John.
No details, just a simple statement. Telling at its most basic. If we wanted to show our relationship, we could have said:
I met my enemy, John.
Now, let’s embellish that a bit, in the simplest way possible:
I greeted my enemy, John.
Simply by changing the verb, we have created a more descriptive, yet equally simple, phrase. So far, we’re still telling, though. To show, we would need to add some detail:
I shook John’s hand. Hard.
A bit awkward, but we’re moving in…
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