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Questions tagged [showing-telling]

This tag should be used for questions about the [technique] of "Show, don't tell!" The goal of this technique is to allow the reader to experience the story through senses and feelings instead of only listening to the author explaining something.

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2answers
357 views

How to creatively handle intoxication when you yourself haven't experienced such a thing?

Now I wouldn't call myself a true writer. I'm about 14 now and I'm currently preparing for my IGCSEs with a ton of subjects to juggle through and revise. English Language is one of the subjects, and ...
5
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3answers
243 views

How do you show character reactions without making them do something physically that is unrealistic?

I've read stuff like these: she sat up. Startled. His face flushed (how does that happen in real life) He felt his neck muscles tense up, his temples started bulging, he started breathing more ...
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5answers
1k views

Is writing big facts about a character's background good when first introducing them?

I hope this question is not mainly opinion based, I'm really just looking for a writer's handbook/source/acclaimed author saying this is either good, okay or bad. I think it might not be so good, ...
5
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3answers
145 views

How to express uncontrollable sadness [closed]

I am doing an assignment where I have to add my own chapter into a book our class read called Looking For Alaska by John Green. When: We don't know what she's feeling when she does it because it's ...
3
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4answers
202 views

How to write about characters and places you aren't personally familiar with?

What do I need to do, as an Indian writer, if I want to make British or Americans the main characters in my book, and make the whole story revolve around them in any other country? In general, is it ...
3
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3answers
114 views

How do I handle English speaking where the language used isn't English but is translated in it? [duplicate]

I'm kind of having trouble with portraying one of my main character's English speaking foreign friend. My character and the country he is in don't really use English as the language they communicate ...
0
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1answer
97 views

How to write about pouring water? [closed]

When someone treats a wound, like a burn, there’s this sound of the water pouring down, hitting the sink. Does anyone know what the sound is called? What things should I keep in mind while writing ...
11
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6answers
2k views

Do my characters need to have different mannerisms in order to be perceived as different?

My editor returned to me with her initial critique of my novel, saying some characters were too similar, and that they had the same likes and dislikes and flaws. The characters she mentioned were ...
49
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13answers
12k views

How to make the reader think that the *character's* logic is flawed instead of the author's?

Following up on my previous question, "How to make the villain's motives understandable if his logic is flawed?", how can I let the reader know that the lack of logic is on the character's side, ...
8
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4answers
1k views

How to make the villain's motives understandable if his logic is flawed?

In a story I'm writing, the villain has his motives for his attitudes. However, he is very mentally disturbed, which makes the logic of his motives be kind of illogic to other people (including the ...
36
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16answers
7k views

How do I convey that a relationship is platonic?

I've been toying around with the idea of writing a novel. The story revolves around two characters, one male and one female, and the perspective will shift between them. One of the central ideas of ...
2
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2answers
136 views

How to express Nihilism without explicitly stating it? [closed]

In my novel, the character is sitting in a café sipping coffee, and she is watching a busy street of people rushing towards London underground after the office hours. I want to express the thoughts in ...
15
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12answers
3k views

How do you keep a villainous character from being offensive to a particular group?

If the villain of your story is a member of a certain group, how do you keep the story from being offensive to members of that group? For example, one of the villain in my book is a WWII veteran. I ...
13
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4answers
1k views

How can I convey an absolute truth from the author to the reader without a mentor character?

There are sometimes moments in works of fiction where the author needs to convey something to the reader without ambiguity. Let's say the situations around the characters get so weird that the author ...
6
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8answers
2k views

Describing something that doesn't exist [duplicate]

I'm in the middle of my first draft for my novel, and I can't seem to properly convey to my audience the image I'm trying to describe. That's what I want to show my readers, but it's coming across ...
8
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1answer
160 views

How to write a discussion amongst 5 people while narrating a novel as first person singular?

I am writing an autobiographical novel and there is a scene where 5 people will be discussing a subject matter. Now, how can I write the discussion without making it sound like a newbie like I want to ...
2
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2answers
105 views

Working with hints/clues - Show vs Tell vs Nothing -ish

This is about the hints that the readers should notice as the story progresses - and should definitely notice upon re-read. First off, I looked around for a bit and didn't see any questions on this ...
4
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4answers
382 views

How can I write a street-smart character?

The book that I'm currently writing has a 16-year-old boy called Joseph Norton as the protagonist and it's implied via flashbacks that during his childhood he would frequently run away from his foster ...
3
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2answers
95 views

Are there any guidelines for writing a fiction story in a non-fiction style?

Jorge Luis Borges wrote a lot of short stories describing fictional things and places directly to the reader (like The Library of Babel). For instance, let's see one excerpt of Decline and Fall of ...
32
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8answers
8k views

How to show a character being bored for multiple chapters without boring the reader

When my protagonist is learning to use their magical skill, they must remain in hiding. Because they have not yet mastered their magical skill. My protagonist is bored from being holed up for so ...
1
vote
3answers
326 views

How do you write an attack scene for a story using the technique “Show, don't tell”? [closed]

I'm writing a story and I need to describe a hidden young girl watching an attack on her village. How can I best show this instead of just telling it?
1
vote
7answers
203 views

Is it okay to include world-building facts by “telling” instead of “showing”?

I know we need to show and not tell, but is it still okay to sometimes tell instead of having to show it? For example, I wanna let the reader know that humans in my story are actually the same species ...
5
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5answers
254 views

Is inner monologue a bad way to show character traits?

Is directly showing a characters inner thoughts and conversations with themselves too telly or cheesy?
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5answers
417 views

Is show not tell less useful advice in first person

Following the first answer for this question What does Show don't Tell actually mean I followed to the Chuck Palahniuk exercise and tried applying it to my current work. From this point ...
5
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6answers
4k views

How would a mature teenager behave?

I'm writing about a mature girl (15ish). But I'm not sure how she should act other than being polite. The way I think a mature person would act would be someone who doesn't swear, but some mature ...
1
vote
1answer
206 views

How do I transition from a day to another smoothly in a short story that takes place over of seven straight days?

I am working on a short story, narrated in third person, roughly 20 pages long, that runs for seven straight days. Each day some event occurs that has some significance to plot and the ending of the ...
8
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7answers
209 views

How do I show the confusion my character feels?

I am trying to show the confusion my character feels (first person narrative) but am not sure what techniques to use. I have tried to achieve this using questions that arose through my character's ...
1
vote
4answers
998 views

How much dialogue in a first date scene?

Something I always get stuck with is how to describe a first date. E.g. I have a story where 2 characters are on a blind date, so they have to get to know each other. How much of the date should be ...
1
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3answers
86 views

At what point do you draw the line of showing, and not telling, or vice versa?

I often get confused in writing about whether or not something is showing or telling. For example, if my character wears a mask through which he can’t see, and I as the all-knowing narrator/writer ...
28
votes
7answers
6k views

How to tactfully inform readers of differences in the book world to the real world?

I want to write a fantasy novel, but there are a few issues that I have with the way that I should write it. One of my questions lies in the problem of how I, the narrator/book-writer, can inform my ...
33
votes
8answers
4k views

What is the balance between 'stating a problem clearly' and Hemingway's literary iceberg?

At a writer's critique group, one piece of feedback to me was: people didn't understand where I was going until the very end. They suggested stating something explicit at the very beginning so they ...
2
votes
2answers
871 views

Better Ways of Showing Fear

In my current novel, I'm dealing with very scary creatures that never fail to fill my protagonist with fear, but I always have her doing the same thing. My character always seems to simply widen her ...
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4answers
553 views

Showing Confusion

My first instinct is to always have a character furrow their eyebrows when confused because that's my personal first instinct, but I feel it's getting overused on my part. What are some other ways to ...
6
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9answers
307 views

How can you show that a character is feeling amazing?

It's easy to show hesitance, fear or angst, you can have a character smoking 5-10 cigarettes in a row, linger for way too long, act out, or something like that. But how can you show a character that ...
1
vote
2answers
67 views

Writing my Watson trope

I've been advised to sharpen my sidekick from an "intriguing second tier" character to the delegate for the readers. Is there a tried and tested formula succinctly captured somewhere? I'm looking to ...
0
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4answers
123 views

Writing differently when following different character POVs - mainly age difference. (3rd Person)

I'm writing a sci-fi novel with more than one main character. Since I'm not an experienced writer, I still struggle with some basic "rules" within writing that may or may not exist. This issue is ...
3
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2answers
212 views

How to present details about the setting in a fantasy world without telling? [duplicate]

One of the rules of good writing is the show, don't tell rule. I want to create a realistic fantasy world, so I've thought about details like astronomy, geography and so on. For instance, this world ...
6
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4answers
264 views

How do you use showing in animal fantasy?

When I read showing in stories with people, they describe facial expressions for showing (among other things). What can a writer use in an animal fantasy? I'm sure it depends on the animal, but ...
29
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11answers
5k views

Why are writers so hung up on “show versus tell”?

I write primarily science, which I readily admit can be very bland. On occasion I read fiction, but have found over the years that my tastes have changed considerably. Overly descriptive scenes leave ...
21
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12answers
2k views

What does Show don't Tell actually mean

I am asking this question because I think we need a precise definition of what Show Don't Tell means if we are to decide if it is good advice or bad, or if it is a valid suggestion for certain ...
12
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7answers
410 views

How to demonstrate an evolution of magic without it seeming like it is improvised?

I'm writing a fantasy novel, in which the story progresses over a number of years. Throughout the story, I want to display an evolution of the magic, much like technology evolves in our world. The ...
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1answer
68 views

Unique ways to do an infodump for an isolated protagonist

Many zombie series start with the overly used hunting trip or coma to explain why the protagonist has no idea whats happening. This usually so the writer can dump the reader with what happened, saving ...
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5answers
715 views

What are ways to “Show, don't tell” without simply listing bodily actions?

Tell: Andy looked angry Show: Andy scrunched his eyebrows together, he gritted his teeth and glared. His skin turned a bright red making him look like a raging demon. Are there other ways to ...
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7answers
769 views

Writing techniques or exercises to improve ability to show rather than tell?

Does anyone have any effective writing techniques or exercises that you use to help you focus more on showing the reader what you mean rather than just telling them about? I know I often find myself ...
11
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5answers
1k views

Should you “Show, Don't Tell” when your character is recounting events?

"Show, don't tell" is a popular ethos amongst writers, and one that is very important to writing engaging stories. However, I'm in a situation whereby my protagonist is recounting an event from a ...
5
votes
1answer
92 views

How can I dripfeed new concepts to a reader?

I have a character, who is part of a unique arm of the law, higher than the city guard. This isn't a secret arm of the law; in the universe in which my novel is set, the characters of my book are ...
38
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8answers
2k views

When is it okay to “tell”, instead of “show”?

One of the major mantras of writing fiction is "show, don't tell". Is it ever okay to tell? When?