Thursday, July 20, 2017

Show, Don’t Tell – do you follow this rule?

© Written by Tarang Sinha




Show, Don’t Tell – this is one of the most common writing advices we often hear. However, you might have read some articles that say, ‘Show, Don’t Tell can be a terrible writing advice.’

Well, showing 'too much' can be a little annoying if not handled well, especially if the writer is not experienced. The new writer may become over-enthusiastic and write in an over-descriptive manner. It may tempt the writer to use too many unnecessary dialogues, in order to erm…‘show’. So, it’s very important to keep the balance.

I understand, as a writer and a reader, the beauty and importance of crisp narration, still I strongly advocate the concept of  – ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ for certain reasons –

It makes the writing authentic – as a writer, when you apply this rule, you use your observations. Things you notice happening around. Like the setting of a room or if the neighbour is watering plants in the her garden etc.

The way people speak. Their facial expressions, body-language and activities when they speak. Like someone tucks her curls while speaking. Or if someone is arranging clothes or fiddling with her mobile (or any other activities) when talking. 

These things are very important for authentic writing.

It creates vivid imagery. Let’s take this example –

Telling – I look out of the window. The weather is mesmerizing.

Showing – A gush of cool breeze caresses my face. I smooth out my curls as I watch colourful blooms flutter playfully. Champa tree, so close to my window that I can touch it if I try, effuses heavenly fragrance. Water droplets, hanging off the leaves, glint like diamond nose pins as sunshine kisses them. 

Get it? Descriptive but it creates nice imagery, no? Writing/narration seems more interesting if it creates vivid imagery.

It helps the story move more smoothly. If you tell everything, you become the narrator; your voice may sound similar. Every character of your story sounds like you, the narrator. And, if it happens, the writing seems dull and tiring, and it may disrupt the flow of the story.


So, these are my reasons. What's yours? What type of writer or reader you are? Do you follow this rule? Please share your views?








4 comments:

  1. Precisely why we should be showing and not telling. It leaves so much open for interpretation :)
    Thanks for taking up the #WritingWednesdays prompt.

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  2. Yes,over showing disrupts the magic of reading. The mystery starts fading because of this and the reader may lose interest. Besides, I love your theme very much Tarang!! It is attracting me to come over again.

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  3. In travel, it is more of showing and not telling - let the pictures take you to another world. But agree with you on your area of expertise 😊

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  4. Thank you for helping with such simple explanation and examples.

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