Take a seat in your favorite reading chair! This blog post is brought to you by Jade Young, a fellow author. Find her bio at the end of this article.
Show vs Tell is easily one of the most preached about rules when it comes to writing. Some writers think you should always show and never tell. Other writers think showing leads to paragraphs that are much too long and easily bores readers.
The truth is you can and should do both. The purpose of telling is to state facts or opinions and provide information. The purpose of showing is to describe the situation and allow the reader to imagine the story and events. Basically, telling names emotions, feelings, and environments, while showing evokes emotion and describes what your characters are seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling, saying, etc.
For example, as I previously stated in a prior blog post on avoiding common writing mistakes, “I can tell you my character's house was on fire, but it takes a good writer to help you feel the heat coming from the blaze, smell the charred wood, and hear the crackle of the flames.”
So, when should you show and when should you tell?