Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Some "Show Don't Tell" Misconceptions

Writers hear it all the time. "Show, don't tell," the maxim says. But what really does it mean?

It doesn't mean that the entire story is comprised of scenes. That tires the reader, makes it difficult to discern what's important, and may be as dull as straight exposition.

It doesn't mean all dialogue is external. Your protagonist can ruminate, too.

It doesn't mean exposition is forbidden.

It doesn't mean lack of description.

So what DOES it mean?

It means creating a blend of the above, to artfully use your words to unfold the story.

It's like opening a gift.

Let your reader hold it in his hand and try to guess what's inside

Let him slowly peel away the outer wrapping, lift up the flaps, and pull aside wrapping.

You, the author, control how much information your reader gets at one time.

You, the author, control how fast your reader gets that information, and when.

You, the author, are in control.

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