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Showing posts from June, 2010
Indirect Exposition - Or to you and me, 'Show, Don't Tell'

'Show, don’t tell’ is a maxim that most writers have no doubt heard, yet it's probably one of the most important phrases to remember in creative writing. It’s very easy for novice writers to relay their entire stories with lots of telling but no showing. What it actually means is the ability to show a reader what is happening, especially at dramatic points or during action, rather than telling the reader everything, as though you’re reading from a shopping list.

For instance, look at the following paragraph:

John came in and put the kettle and fed the cat. He made his cup of tea and read the paper at the table. Then he made some dinner, and watched TV. He locked up and went to bed at eleven o’clock...

This is ‘telling’. It tells us exactly what is happening, but it doesn’t show the reader anything. It doesn’t tell us what John is thinking or feeling, it doesn’t tell us anything about the atmosphere or what migh…