Show Don’t Tell – Constructive Criticism

I received a comment on my previous post from someone calling themselves "randomperson". I am doubting this is his or her real name, but I greatly appreciate the feedback. "Randomperson" mentioned that I write well for someone just starting out in fiction, but "your storytelling oftentimes violates the “show, don’t tell” rule. you generally seem to do a little too much telling and not enough showing, which can make a narrative less compelling and exciting". At first I wasn't sure what to make of this, but now that I think about it I am glad I received this comment.

I would say it is a fair observation that I tend to tell rather than show in my fiction. In other words, if I think a character is a sloppy drunk, I write "Fred is a sloppy drunk" rather than show you through Fred's actions that he can't hold his liquor. I agree that it is much more interesting to learn about a character on your own rather than be told about the character. Now that I know this about my writing, I can take steps to correct the problem. Easier said than done, right?

3 thoughts on “Show Don’t Tell – Constructive Criticism

  1. I tend to take the “show don’t tell” rule in the general sense. Of course it creates a more interesting picture for the reader to see Fred falling down and spilling booze over people rather than saying: “Fred couldn’t hold his drink”. But you couldn’t write a whole book like this, it would be annoying to the reader. Sometimes you have to tell in order for the story to flow and be clear. I say this because I’m currently rewriting a first chapter in which I tried to show too much and it ended up at 10,000 words. Now I’m going back and trying to strike a balance between showing and telling.

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