Show, don’t tell

I read. A lot. A book a day, a lot!

Book_lover
Image found here: Wikipedia

Because that can become quite expensive, I try to read as many free books as I can. Mostly from Amazon/Kindle and also from a few of the independent publishers. The free books are usually the first book of a series or a novella from an existing series and if I like the book and the author I won’t hesitate to pay for future books. Especially from the independent authors/publishers, the fact that they are not waiting for a ‘big’ publisher to notice them, that they are taking the plunge and putting themselves out there is very very brave. I respect that and want to support them.

The biggest draw back to reading books like this is that a lot of the independent authors are just starting out, they are first books and often times haven’t been proofed or edited properly. I totally get that everyone has to start somewhere and some of those starts are going to be a bit rougher than others.

One of the things I cannot stand however is when an author tells you what happens. I once read somewhere that an author should always show, not tell their reader what is going on. When I come across a book that is filled with telling and has very little showing I’ll stop reading. I find it cold, impersonal and often feels as if the author was rushed or couldn’t be bothered to put effort into their writing. That being said, writing is hard, and I figure I should put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. So below is my example of ‘show, don’t tell’.

I’ve been telling myself stories in my head since I was a little girl. Wild tales of romance and danger, princesses and dragons and even a few Die Hard adventures. I have huge butterflies in my tummy thinking about publishing this blog post. It’s the first time I would have put those words, a part of one of those stories, onto ‘paper’. Please be gentle.

Tell

He took her hand in his, she looked up at him and he led her into the bar.

Show

She felt the warmth as his fingers slowly entwined with hers, the callouses of his palm sitting flush against her hand. He gave a gentle squeeze, waiting for her answer. She hesitated, just a second, then tightened her grip on his hand. Looking up, she caught the wicked gleam in his eye as he smiled down at her before giving her hand a tug and leading her into the bar.

5 Replies to “Show, don’t tell”

  1. You have hit the nail on the head. I am currently reading a book that was recommended by HuffPost’s Book section as one of the top 3 of top 20 tear jerker novels of the year. I AM hating the book…. because there is far too much telling and far too little showing going on. Also, because the main female character refers to other women as skanks/bitches/whores and I really don’t like that at all!

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