Conversely when you SHOULD tell:

http://writerswrite.co.za/five-instances-when-you-need-to-tell-and-not-show

 

When can you tell, and not show?

You can tell:

  1. To connect scenes and/or gloss over unnecessary conversations. Sometimes you need to make your readers comfortable with a brief transition that lets them know where they are in the story. The characters might have travelled to another city or moved to a different room. Or a short period of time might have passed. For example, ‘Jeremy waited until five minutes past eight the next morning before he marched into the Radisson Blu Hotel. He had spent the night obsessing about his future. Kirsten’s demands echoed in his head and he could barely think straight. He ignored his pounding headache and walked across to the check-in counter. He asked the concierge to call Room 303.’
  2. To report events and/or gloss over unimportant characters. You can tell us about the things that happened in your character’s lives that aren’t vitally important to show in the story. For example, if your story is set in a school environment, briefly tell us how the characters spent their Christmas holidays at home. Don’t introduce us to a series of characters who have nothing to do with the main story.
  3. To show that time is passing. Books can span days or decades. We don’t need to know what happens every moment. Use telling to reveal that time has passed, seasons have changed, or people have aged to get us to the next important part of the story.
  4. To focus on emotion when showing is impossible. Sometimes a character is so isolated or immobile that we need to get into his or her emotions with telling. Bear in mind, though, that this is an old-fashioned way of writing. Madame Bovary would not be published today. Move your character back into the action of the story as soon as you can.
  5. To add backstory. Sometimes a little bit of telling is necessary. When there is no other way of introducing the past, you can add it in, but remember to reveal these bits and pieces gradually. Keep this as brief as possible, and remember that you can never ever start a novel or a memoir with backstory.
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Published by: Kawanee Hamilton

Kawanee was born in Alexandria Louisiana but her first real memories are of Russellville Arkansas. She's always loved to read, and has always had an vivid imagination. She grew up in a house where almost everyone read, they didn't need a TV although she could still be found planted on her butt in front of her grandma's TV watching cartoons on Saturday mornings. She made up her first story with her mother when her cat died; it was about where pets go when they die. She continued to create stories from bad dreams she had and her dad would help her change nightmares to stories. They would sit up in a chair until the scary went away. He told her that: "Dreams, good or bad, are just stories your mind makes up. You are the author of your dreams; if you don't like them rewrite them. " She was hooked and has continued to read and write stories drawing from dreams, sights and just pure imagination. She just recently decided she'd like to try and get published and fail than wonder what if. Her story continues but where it goes from here is up to you, the Reader... She hopes you'll join her in finding out where her journey goes from here!

Categories Randomness3 Comments

3 thoughts on “Conversely when you SHOULD tell:”

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