Writing Blog: Show Not Tell
Show Not Tell is a shortcut statement to remind writers to show characters actions rather than tell us about them. An example might be…(Tell) Mary was mad vs (Show) Mary balled up her fists, turned on her heel and slammed the door on her way out. Both achieve similar ‘ends’ but for me the showing is more visual and engaging.
Here’s my question: Why to multi-million book selling authors continue to tell us actions? Are they tired, lazy, above the axiom to show their characters? Are their readers so excited to read whatever they write they’ll read anything they write? Are their editors not sharing the power of showing actions with them fearing they’ll move to another publisher, one who doesn’t demand that extra level of writing that involves readers? Is showing something we tell to new writers to help them deepen their characters?
I admit, I read both showing and telling novels. Telling stories fly by since there is no need for me to slow down, create the images in action and run the movie of each scene. But I enjoy word pictures so I prefer to see the actions, feel the physical changes as people act and react and experience a near-movie involvement with the story.
But what about you? Where do you stand on the show vs. tell ?