1. hewhorulestheworld
    Offline

    hewhorulestheworld New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Showing and Telling?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by hewhorulestheworld, Nov 24, 2009.

    I have a question pertaining to style in short stories and long short stories. To what extent can you have a narrator describe events in general rather then specific? What I mean is, is it acceptable to have a narrator describe an event and a conversation without specifically recounting the conversation, or should he always recount the conversation and actions of the individual characters themselves?

    I've found myself writing a psychological piece with an unreliable narrator. I'm quite a ways in and I'm realizing that the narrator has been describing conversations rather then showing them. I have a feeling that is bad.
     
  2. Unsavory
    Offline

    Unsavory Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Eugene, OR, USA
    Showing is often more desirable, but It's a decision that you have to make as the author. Sometimes it is more efficient to tell rather than show and in a case like yours it sounds like bits of the plot depend on it. Without reading your piece I can only guess, but it might work out just fine.
     
  3. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    It isn't really an either/or question. It's finding an effective balance.

    This may help: Show and Tell
     
  4. jwatson
    Offline

    jwatson Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    canada
    it really depends. i describe conversations when i can. for example, it's not necessary to recount a conversation my mc had with the old man who let him in the library. i just wrote, 'after he paid the old man at the door, james went inside the library.

    sorry for no caps, i'm writing with one hand and eating soup with the other

    j
     
  5. bruce
    Offline

    bruce Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not so. It also depends on the genre. If you're writing literary fiction, anything goes.
     
  6. Phantasmal Reality
    Offline

    Phantasmal Reality Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Keep your readers interested. Tell the stuff that doesn't need to be shown, because showing takes time. Not only your time, but your readers' time. Don't just tell them about the epic final battle though; they'll probably want that shown in some detail. It's all about balance and knowing when to use both showing and telling. :)
     
  7. marcusl
    Offline

    marcusl Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    I used to be obsessed with showing everything. The issue is, people tell me that my writing is too much like, "This happened, that happened then this happened." Indeed, finding the balance between showing and telling is best.
     

Share This Page