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“Show, Don’t Tell”—How To Get It Right
Ah, “Show, don’t tell”—the words conjure up memories of red ink on high school English papers. But for many writers, knowing how to “show” and not “tell” is just as tricky now as it was in freshman year. So, what does it mean exactly?
Academic and technical writers are faced with the task of spelling things out for their audience; their job is to present information as clearly as possible. Their writing is all “tell” and no “show.” But as a creative writer, if you offer nothing but plain and factual details, you’re going to bore readers. Your job is to entertain, to elicit emotion, to activate the right sides of readers’ brains. And this is where showing, rather than telling, comes into play.
In creative writing, to “show” is to present a character trait, plot point, or aspect of setting through thoughts, senses, actions, metaphors, or another literary device. In other words, you don’t want to  tell the reader that a character is a certain way; rather, you want to provide clues for the reader to deduce it on his or her own.

“Show, Don’t Tell”—How To Get It Right

Ah, “Show, don’t tell”—the words conjure up memories of red ink on high school English papers. But for many writers, knowing how to “show” and not “tell” is just as tricky now as it was in freshman year. So, what does it mean exactly?

Academic and technical writers are faced with the task of spelling things out for their audience; their job is to present information as clearly as possible. Their writing is all “tell” and no “show.” But as a creative writer, if you offer nothing but plain and factual details, you’re going to bore readers. Your job is to entertain, to elicit emotion, to activate the right sides of readers’ brains. And this is where showing, rather than telling, comes into play.

In creative writing, to “show” is to present a character trait, plot point, or aspect of setting through thoughts, senses, actions, metaphors, or another literary device. In other words, you don’t want to tell the reader that a character is a certain way; rather, you want to provide clues for the reader to deduce it on his or her own.

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Respect your characters, even the ­minor ones. In art, as in life, everyone is the hero of their own particular story; it is worth thinking about what your minor characters’ stories are, even though they may intersect only slightly with your protagonist’s.
Sarah Waters

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