I'm having some trouble with "Show, don't tell" when come to writing, so I'd like some advice.

I'm trying to highlight the relationship and personality between these characters, but I'm unsure if this is considered telling because of the amount of dialogue involved, or if it would still be considered showing.

“What’s this master?” a soft feminine voice asked, “You’ll see”, he glanced toward the voice. The girl is in her birthday suit while drying her dual color hairs with a piece of cloth. “Uraag! “It’s improper to walk around like that “It’s not the first time I told you that”, “But..”, “No buts”, he cut her off with a raised voice. The girl’s head hangs low while frozen in place.

His crimson eyes closed and took a deep breath, he put both of his hands on her shoulder, “Uraag, you are 16 this year” he speaks softly. “You are of age”. He lifted her face up, her crimson eyes glistening but no flowing tears. “You are going to get hurt if you make this a habit “I’m not angry “I just want you to be safe” Understand?”, she nods in response. He puts his hand on her head, “Good girl, go change”, she walks back into the room while wiping her face with the clothes she uses to dry her hairs.

Is this showing or telling?

  • 4
    Off-topic, but you might want to look into writing.stackexchange.com/questions/16226/… In your current version, it's hard to keep track of who's talking due to everything being crammed into one paragraph and misplaced punctuation. Also, decide on one tense (past or present) and stick to it.
    – Llewellyn
    Aug 31, 2020 at 19:45

1 Answer 1


The amount of dialogue you use doesn’t directly determine whether you are telling or showing, it’s more about what you write.

In your example you’re showing us that Uraag is naive and innocent by having her walking around naked and not realising that it’s inappropriate. If her master had just said to her that she was naive and innocent that would have been telling us and similarly if the narrator had said that she was naive and innocent that too would be telling us, just without using dialogue.

In general showing rather than telling is about letting your readers draw their own conclusions from your character’s actions and so the amount of dialogue doesn’t matter as long as the character’s actions and dialogue feel natural and real.

As a case in point the master in your scene tells Uraag that he wants her to be safe, and while you are telling us this it’s also a natural thing for your character to say to comfort Uraag after bringing her to the brink of tears, so it doesn’t feel like telling rather than showing.

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