Show & Tell

Published by A man called Valance in the blog Mr V's Vault. Views: 105

My woman set to work on a new fence today. Ain’t easy hammering posts into land that’s bone hard, and I wouldn’t be a man if didn’t lend a hand, so I went and got a shovel and told her to try digging a hole first. Made the job a whole lot easier, I reckon, but before she got three posts done she was complaining about blisters and fatigue; seems women are always bellyaching about something. Well, for the sake of a peaceful life I went and got her a pair of gloves, and told her to rest a minute. Anything to oblige, that’s me. I’d have put up the damn fence myself, only someone’s gotta sit on the porch and look out for hostiles.

‘Excuse me, I’m sorry to cut in on your story but…’

‘Who are you? Ain’t hostile, are you?’

N-no, I’m Harrington Knowall. I’m here to help. Friends call me Harry.’

‘State your business Mister Knowall, and make it quick. I’m trying to tell a story here.’

‘And you tell it well, only it’s tell tell tell.’

‘What do you expect? I’m a storyteller.’

‘But everyone knows you should show show show.’


‘Instead of telling a reader it’s not easy to hammer a post into hard ground, you could say the post recoiled off the soil, having barely scratched the surface.’


‘Because showing, not telling, will make your story more interesting.’

‘Hmm, ain’t it wrong to favor one at the exclusion of the other?’

‘Oh no, showing is much better than telling. It allows a reader add two and two together, and make four, for themselves. Instead of telling us your woman was suffering from fatigue, you could have said your woman sweated as she toiled and…’

‘Alright Mister, that’s enough. Would you like me to tell you I’m blazing mad, or shall I just kick you in the nuts?’
  • Oscar Leigh
  • A man called Valance
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