1. Crystal Parney

    Crystal Parney New Member

    Jul 30, 2012
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    Show vs Telling, but when?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Crystal Parney, Aug 27, 2012.

    I decided to begin a new thread about the show vs telling conversation, but more focused on when to show and when to tell. I try to find balance between the two, but lately I've been experiencing difficulty knowing when to show and when to tell. I am curious to how other writers make these decisions. When writing when is it important to tell and when is it important to show. Too much telling can bore a reader and too much showing can do the same. I'm trying to make sense of it all, and giving myself a bit of a headache in the process.
  2. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

    May 20, 2012
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    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I tell inbetween major scenes, backstory, when a minor characters needs to be summed up. A
    lot of times conversation is telling. When characters are giving opinions and you don't really
    have to back them up - i.e. that girl's a tramp, I ate in this dumpy restaurant last week.
    Or you're relaying information. A transition or when you're summing up a handful of events
    to cover a section of time.

    Major scenes however, I find you have to flesh out more. It's like getting ready for the
    date. That can be summed up in a telling description that the character washed her
    hair and put on her best gown - but the date itself becomes the scene.
    And on the flipside - you could have the scene of your character struggling
    to get into her high school jeans and the date be summed up in one telling
    sentense that her pants split as she exited her blind date's Mercedes.
  3. captain kate

    captain kate Active Member

    May 4, 2008
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    Cruising through space.
    I do a lot of showing when it comes to emotions, and showing what my MC's thinking. When I do fight/battle scenes they tend to lean more towards telling because there's but so much time in there to use to show their emotions or thoughts. One or two thoughts here or there give the reader what they needed to know.

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