Tag Archives | Show Don’t Tell

The Basics of Show Don’t Tell

Hi all; Julie here! Today’s post goes back to basics with a discussion of Show Don’t Tell. (For other approaches to this rule, you can read JJ’s piece on balancing the mix of showing and telling, Pub Crawl alum Susan Dennard’s post on using showing and telling on macro and micro levels, and Kat’s approach to when to show and when to tell.) There are few rules of craft that can be applied to a […]


Show Don’t Tell

If you listen to the PubCrawl podcast with me and Kelly, we often talk about the concept of “showing, not telling.” It’s one of those pieces of advice that’s constantly thrown out, but how is not often discussed. PubCrawl alumna Sooz wrote a great post about Show vs. Tell on the macro and micro levels, and current contributor Kat Zhang also wrote a post about When Show, When to Tell. The general consensus is that a […]

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The Building of a Setting

We all know that showing is generally better than telling. How you do it is a trickier question, and passages that establish setting have the highest risk of suffering from info-dumping. It’s a dilemma, because setting is one of the most important things in writing. Not knowing where a character is is extremely distracting and can lead to confusion. The obvious solution to that is to describe the setting. But you can’t just say the […]


When to Show, When to Tell, and When to Do a Bit of Both

One of the first things young writers get told is “Show, don’t tell.” Show us Tommy is angry, don’t just say “Thomas was mad.” Show us the school play was a disaster, don’t just say it was. In general, this is great advice. Showing is often how a reader starts believing and living a story, instead of just feeling like it’s being related to her. But the advice can be taken too far. Writers start feeling like they have […]


Show versus Tell: Macro-, Micro-, and When to Use It

This post was first shared on Let the Words Flow, but I recently rediscovered it and decided to expound a bit more on the infamous show don’t tell topic. Let’s start with the obvious: telling is considered bad. Everyone knows this, right? Except…do we all know why telling is so “evil”? Telling is considered “bad” because it packs less punch and doesn’t pull readers in. For example, if someone tells me their finger really hurts, I don’t necessarily […]