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  • Writer's pictureDonna Carbone

Showing vs. Telling: When are they appropriate? Episode 009

Updated: Oct 12, 2023


Authors Talking Bookish with hosts Hope Gibbs and Donna Norman-Carbone



You’ve heard the old adage: Show NOT Tell. Is it true? What are the benefits to showing not telling in writing and when it is appropriate to tell? We’ll provide insight into the differences between showing vs. telling and advice regarding when one is most appropriate.




SHOW NOTES:


Showing- when a writer slows down a scene to provide clues as to action and concrete description

Telling- providing exposition by abridging time or details thus providing a summary


Examples of each


What matters most to the story?


  • The benefits of showing

  • The benefits of telling

  • Effects of showing vs. telling


LINKS & SOURCES:


“Show and Tell: The Key to Engaging Meaningful Storytelling,” Heather Davis, Launch Pad: The Countdown to Writing Your Book, ED. Emma Dhesi and Grace Sammon


“Don’t Tell, But Show” and “Be Specific,” Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg


“Show Don’t Tell,” Everybody Writes, Ann Handley


DO NOW:


Take a piece of writing you’ve done and two highlighters (3-5 pages for this exercise, anywhere in your draft). Highlight where you show with one color and highlight where you tell with the other color. Think about the goals for this scene and what really matters.Is there something you should have shown instead of told? Is there something you should have told instead of shown? Take a look at the balance of both within the scene. How does it affect the pacing?




Hope Gibbs, author of Where the Grass Grows Blue https://www.authorhopegibbs.com/

Donna Norman-Carbone, author of All That is Sacred https://www.donnanormancarbone.com


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