Being a writer – part 13 – show v tell

Hi Everyone,

The most important, and for me the most fun, part of self-publishing is the writing part. This week’s blog is all about show v tell.

Firstly, it’s now five weeks now with no new writing for me. This week has seen me go through and make the final changes to my new book:


Look for next weeks newsletter for the grand artwork reveal.

And, I’m picking my book on franchising, based on my personal experiences from the printer today! I can’t wait!

This week’s topic is a top writing tip for all budding writers – the “show v tell” question.

What is “telling”?

Telling is where you as an author tell the reader what’s happening or how someone is feeling.

What is “showing”?

Showing uses descriptions and actions to help the reader feel more connected to the story.

Why should you “show” rather than “tell”?

Showing makes the reader part of the experience. Rather than being told, the reader gets to visualise your writing, enhancing their experience and giving them an active role in the story through their imagination.

Telling, on the other hand, prevents the reader from feeling this. Telling puts up a barrier rather than leading the reader in.

Showing helps to develop your characters. You could just say that a character was overweight – that would be telling. Or you could say that his stomach was overhanging his belt, which would be showing.

So, what are some examples of showing rather than telling?

Tell – John was angry.

Show – John banged his fists on the desk.

Tell – John was cold

Show – John shivered and thrust his hands in his pockets

Tell – John waited nervously

Show – John looked around, eyes darting from side to side

Can you ever tell rather than show?

While the general rule is to show, telling can also be used as a shortcut to avoid unnecessary detail, for example if you want to pass over a period of time.

Like everything with writing, each situation is different and the balance of show v tell depends a great deal on your story.

If you would like to know more, or have any questions about self-publishing, contact me.

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