WritersBeat.com
 

Go Back   WritersBeat.com > Writing Craft > Tips & Advice

Tips & Advice What works for you? Share your experience!


Show donít tell?

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #31  
Old 02-17-2016, 02:50 AM
wyf's Avatar
wyf (Offline)
Homer's Odyssey Was Nothing
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: UK, bottom half
Posts: 1,097
Thanks: 135
Thanks 126
Default


Never say never. Showing and telling do different jobs and should be used appropriately at different times. You can't always show, and shouldn't.

__________________
How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself. ~ Anais Nin
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to wyf For This Useful Post:
BluebellCharm (02-17-2016), Mohican (06-30-2018)
  #32  
Old 02-17-2016, 04:43 AM
CandraH
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Yeah, I think people get so locked into figuring out all these writing rules, they get confused about what they should actually be doing. Which is, writing the story they have to tell. If they get that done, the rest is just editing
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to For This Useful Post:
BluebellCharm (02-17-2016), wyf (02-18-2016)
  #33  
Old 02-17-2016, 06:30 AM
chat bot's Avatar
chat bot (Offline)
Always Online
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: OFF-AIR
Posts: 2,386
Thanks: 6
Thanks 452
Default

YOU NEVER TELL. NEVER, NEVER N-NEVER!!!!!!! haven't you heard about that one before???
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to chat bot For This Useful Post:
BluebellCharm (02-17-2016), Mohican (06-30-2018)
  #34  
Old 02-18-2016, 03:25 AM
wyf's Avatar
wyf (Offline)
Homer's Odyssey Was Nothing
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: UK, bottom half
Posts: 1,097
Thanks: 135
Thanks 126
Default

Originally Posted by CandraH View Post
Yeah, I think people get so locked into figuring out all these writing rules, they get confused about what they should actually be doing. Which is, writing the story they have to tell. If they get that done, the rest is just editing
Don't talk to me about editing.
__________________
How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself. ~ Anais Nin
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 02-23-2016, 09:39 PM
chat bot's Avatar
chat bot (Offline)
Always Online
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: OFF-AIR
Posts: 2,386
Thanks: 6
Thanks 452
Default

@wyf, why do you always leave yourself a blank.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
💭
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 02-24-2016, 06:51 AM
wyf's Avatar
wyf (Offline)
Homer's Odyssey Was Nothing
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: UK, bottom half
Posts: 1,097
Thanks: 135
Thanks 126
Default

@chatbot, as seems to be common with your posts, I have no idea what you're talking about.
__________________
How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself. ~ Anais Nin
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to wyf For This Useful Post:
Nick Pierce (02-24-2016)
  #37  
Old 02-24-2016, 06:09 PM
chat bot's Avatar
chat bot (Offline)
Always Online
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: OFF-AIR
Posts: 2,386
Thanks: 6
Thanks 452
Default

well, same thing with any cars except for an electrical fort. for example, the juxtaposition of the roaring with the sound of the waste.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
💭

Last edited by chat bot; 03-02-2016 at 03:14 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 02-25-2016, 08:12 AM
wyf's Avatar
wyf (Offline)
Homer's Odyssey Was Nothing
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: UK, bottom half
Posts: 1,097
Thanks: 135
Thanks 126
Default

cats don't roar but empty vessels make a very distinctive sound, don't you think?

And I still have no idea what it is you are trying to say to me.
__________________
How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself. ~ Anais Nin
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 02-25-2016, 03:28 PM
chat bot's Avatar
chat bot (Offline)
Always Online
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: OFF-AIR
Posts: 2,386
Thanks: 6
Thanks 452
Default

better than the alternative, learn something
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
💭

Last edited by chat bot; 03-02-2016 at 03:14 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 06-30-2018, 10:45 PM
Mohican's Avatar
Mohican (Offline)
Tall Poppy
Administration
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Not quite back of beyond
Posts: 4,278
Thanks: 395
Thanks 733
Default

Over two years since our last show versus tell
__________________
If you surrender a civilization to avoid social disapproval, you should know that all of history will curse you for your cowardliness - Alice Teller

If John of Patmos would browse the internet today for half an hour, I don't know if the Book of Revelations would be entirely different or entirely the same.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 07-30-2018, 11:39 AM
jimr (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 377
Thanks: 5
Thanks 48
Default

I don't know where I got this or even if it's right, but I like it.

It can help a lot to think in terms of psychic distance. For now, just have a look at Gardner's range of psychic distances, and see how they're points on the spectrum from the telliest tell (1), to the showiest show (5).
1 It was winter of the year 1853. A large man stepped out of a doorway into a snowstorm.
2 Henry J. Warburton had never much cared for snowstorms.
3 Henry hated snowstorms.
4 God how he hated these damn snowstorms.
5 Snow. Under your collar, down inside your shoes, freezing and plugging up your miserable soul.
See how Tell is brilliant at - well - telling us exactly where we are, and what's going on. And Show is brilliant at evoking the physical and emotional experience of the character, although not at informing us about where and who they (and so we) are. You need both. As an exercise in this stuff, pick two or three sentences from the middle of a story you're trying to write, and re-write them from each of the five distances Gardener suggests.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 07-30-2018, 03:40 PM
brianpatrick's Avatar
brianpatrick (Online)
Still Clicking!
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Arizona
Posts: 5,594
Thanks: 443
Thanks 1,233
Default

Yeah, this is pretty good. I think the biggest problem with the show/tell question is not to tell when you should show, and not to show when you need to tell. I think thatís what most people are talking about when they say a writing has too much telling in it. Itís that the writer hasnít hit the balance.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to brianpatrick For This Useful Post:
Prodigalson (07-30-2018)
  #43  
Old 08-03-2018, 04:49 PM
Chinspinner's Avatar
Chinspinner (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1,317
Thanks: 204
Thanks 230
Default

I will answer this with a simple example. I could softly whisper in Brianpatrick's ear, I could tell him that his caravan is fine, and that his mother does not need to sleep in another bed. Or I could show him that his caravan is not fine and his mother does need to sleep in another bed. I think it is something like that.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 08-03-2018, 10:28 PM
Mohican's Avatar
Mohican (Offline)
Tall Poppy
Administration
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Not quite back of beyond
Posts: 4,278
Thanks: 395
Thanks 733
Default

Originally Posted by chat bot View Post
YOU NEVER TELL. NEVER, NEVER N-NEVER!!!!!!! haven't you heard about that one before???
I think you're talking about kissing and telling. Yup, bad manners
__________________
If you surrender a civilization to avoid social disapproval, you should know that all of history will curse you for your cowardliness - Alice Teller

If John of Patmos would browse the internet today for half an hour, I don't know if the Book of Revelations would be entirely different or entirely the same.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 08-04-2018, 06:44 AM
Chinspinner's Avatar
Chinspinner (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1,317
Thanks: 204
Thanks 230
Default

Well Brian just gifted me his cock in a box, ha ha I was shocked and offended. EDIT: disclaimer, Brian has only ever released his cock in consensual circumstances that we both enjoyed. This should not effect Brian's employment or his twitter statement, he was very loving and gentle and we only made love outside of normal working hours.

Last edited by Chinspinner; 08-04-2018 at 06:47 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 08-04-2018, 07:30 AM
E. Zamora (Offline)
Word Wizard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 708
Thanks: 83
Thanks 160
Default

The real problem is, "show most of the time, but tell when it's appropriate" just doesn't have the same kind of snappy ring to it.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 08-04-2018, 07:41 AM
Chinspinner's Avatar
Chinspinner (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1,317
Thanks: 204
Thanks 230
Default

For example: It was a dark and stormy night.
becomes: Sudden lightening illuminated dark clouds in a dark sky. Fat raindrops began to pelt the window.

Ouch. Ok, playing devil's advocate, how is the MC not aware that it is a dark and stormy night. Are people so clueless so as not to realise without the aid of authorial intrusion what the hell the weather is? Are they inane morons?

Questions that sounded a lot harsher than intended, but still interesting.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 08-04-2018, 02:16 PM
spshane (Offline)
Profusive Denizen
Official Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 280
Thanks: 45
Thanks 73
Default

Tired cowboys tell the best stories after walking all day through the desert. He doesn't really want to tell you anything,
but he knows you saw him saddle up; now he's afoot. He knows you're gonna have questions. Where his horse? What happened?

He's not gonna tell you about how hot and dry the desert was, or how a large hawk cast a long shadow across his path that vaguely reminded him of the fear he harbored inside. You already know all of that.

He's gonna get right to it. "Goddamned rattlesnake got him."
And he'd really like for that be enough, because he's really tired
from having to bury his horse and then walking all the way home. Not to mention pissed off at himself for not being able to save the old mare. But he's not going into grave detail about the markings on the snake skin, and how it reminded him of a tapestry he saw at the county fair. It's a goddamned snake. The kind that would kill his horse. That's all you need to know.

But you do want to know that the old mare got his justice. You wanted to hear that he trampled the snake's head to oblivion before he keeled over. Or at least that cowboy shot the snake's head off. God might be dead, but, fuck it, you need to know that justice lives. You need to hear the goddamned snake is in hell now.

And about keeling over. Did the mare gag and wheeze for his last breath? Or was he shown the kind of mercy that you hope someone shows you in your old age? Fuck, the last round of chemo. Heroin is the way to go.

Of course, he buried him. It's the only decent thing to do. With the crappy camping spade he carried in his pack for worst case scenarios.

There's not excessive amount of imagery. It's just enough to get the point across.

What needed to be done is done now. The old mare's dead and there's not anything that can be done about it.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 08-05-2018, 01:21 PM
Nacia's Avatar
Nacia (Online)
Resident Ghost
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: London, England.
Posts: 10,529
Thanks: 2,825
Thanks 933
Default

I tell because I don't have to show. It is a choice I make. It is up to me whether I chose one or the other or both or none.
__________________
a lesson in
life is a pound
in sound
it reminds us
it is expensive a fine
so bear one
in mind
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 08-05-2018, 02:50 PM
brianpatrick's Avatar
brianpatrick (Online)
Still Clicking!
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Arizona
Posts: 5,594
Thanks: 443
Thanks 1,233
Default

Originally Posted by Nacia View Post
I tell because I don't have to show. It is a choice I make. It is up to me whether I chose one or the other or both or none.


Sweep, sweep, sweep...
Reply With Quote
  #51  
Old 08-05-2018, 03:09 PM
brianpatrick's Avatar
brianpatrick (Online)
Still Clicking!
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Arizona
Posts: 5,594
Thanks: 443
Thanks 1,233
Default

Originally Posted by Nacia View Post
I tell because I don't have to show. It is a choice I make. It is up to me whether I chose one or the other or both or none.


Yes dear, there are cocktails that way, there beyond the pool. The waiters will bring whatever you like; gin, wine, a hot toddy, some steak, or french friesówhatever.

The lounge chairs are first come first serve, so if youíll be spending time around the deck, please come early.

If you should need companionship, the concierge can help.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to brianpatrick For This Useful Post:
Nacia (08-07-2018)
  #52  
Old 08-07-2018, 03:22 AM
Nacia's Avatar
Nacia (Online)
Resident Ghost
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: London, England.
Posts: 10,529
Thanks: 2,825
Thanks 933
Default

Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
Yes dear, there are cocktails that way, there beyond the pool. The waiters will bring whatever you like; gin, wine, a hot toddy, some steak, or french fries—whatever.

The lounge chairs are first come first serve, so if you’ll be spending time around the deck, please come early.

If you should need companionship, the concierge can help.
Great !!!
Does it have to be the concierge though?
__________________
a lesson in
life is a pound
in sound
it reminds us
it is expensive a fine
so bear one
in mind
Reply With Quote
  #53  
Old 08-07-2018, 03:23 AM
Nacia's Avatar
Nacia (Online)
Resident Ghost
Official Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: London, England.
Posts: 10,529
Thanks: 2,825
Thanks 933
Default

Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
Sweep, sweep, sweep...
under the carpet it goes...
__________________
a lesson in
life is a pound
in sound
it reminds us
it is expensive a fine
so bear one
in mind
Reply With Quote
  #54  
Old 08-20-2018, 01:47 PM
jimr (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 377
Thanks: 5
Thanks 48
Default

I've been looking at Hemingway and Carver and trying some new style techniques, and I realize that these writers have very little POV in some of their work. POV is what showing is about, I think, sensationalizing the MC's experiences for the reader. Maybe I don't quite get it, but they seem to Tell more than Show. If someone has a serious response I would love to hear it.
Reply With Quote
  #55  
Old 08-20-2018, 04:49 PM
brianpatrick's Avatar
brianpatrick (Online)
Still Clicking!
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Arizona
Posts: 5,594
Thanks: 443
Thanks 1,233
Default

I think youíre confusing POV with something else. POV is the perspective of the narrator. The narrator may be a character, or an omniscient voice. The narrator may be first or second or third person, and there are variations (especially with third).

Telling (in the tell vs show debate) is more about telling the reader something you donít need to tell them. Telling them something they already know, or something they can easily surmise. Or painting the picture too completely which often feels contrived. Like youíre trying too hard. For smart readers it feels patronizingónobody likes that.

I donít really know how to tell someone to do it right, but I know it when I read it. I can also edit out of a story, it itís like walking a line between two cliffs.

When I read Hemingway I rarely see unnecessary ďtelling.Ē Almost never, and the POV is solid. When I read a lot of modern fiction or YA I see it all the time. I think to myself: how the fuck does an editor let this get past the guard? Itís irritating.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Reply With Quote
  #56  
Old 08-20-2018, 09:03 PM
flyingtart's Avatar
flyingtart (Offline)
Scribbling Master
Official Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 955
Thanks: 145
Thanks 187
Default

The last person I knew who advocated Show Don’t Tell got two years for flashing on the Common.
__________________
Awaiting the return of the Dogís Arse Messiah.
Reply With Quote
  #57  
Old 08-22-2018, 02:47 AM
Prodigalson's Avatar
Prodigalson (Offline)
Homer's Odyssey Was Nothing
Moderator
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Humboldt Co., CA
Posts: 2,450
Thanks: 274
Thanks 524
Default

Originally Posted by spshane View Post
Tired cowboys tell the best stories after walking all day through the desert. He doesn't really want to tell you anything,
but he knows you saw him saddle up; now he's afoot. He knows you're gonna have questions. Where his horse? What happened?

He's not gonna tell you about how hot and dry the desert was, or how a large hawk cast a long shadow across his path that vaguely reminded him of the fear he harbored inside. You already know all of that.

He's gonna get right to it. "Goddamned rattlesnake got him."
And he'd really like for that be enough, because he's really tired
from having to bury his horse and then walking all the way home. Not to mention pissed off at himself for not being able to save the old mare. But he's not going into grave detail about the markings on the snake skin, and how it reminded him of a tapestry he saw at the county fair. It's a goddamned snake. The kind that would kill his horse. That's all you need to know.

But you do want to know that the old mare got his justice. You wanted to hear that he trampled the snake's head to oblivion before he keeled over. Or at least that cowboy shot the snake's head off. God might be dead, but, fuck it, you need to know that justice lives. You need to hear the goddamned snake is in hell now.

And about keeling over. Did the mare gag and wheeze for his last breath? Or was he shown the kind of mercy that you hope someone shows you in your old age? Fuck, the last round of chemo. Heroin is the way to go.

Of course, he buried him. It's the only decent thing to do. With the crappy camping spade he carried in his pack for worst case scenarios.

There's not excessive amount of imagery. It's just enough to get the point across.

What needed to be done is done now. The old mare's dead and there's not anything that can be done about it.
The imagery I'm trying to get over is that mare being a he.
__________________
Mr. Ed said I should use his signature, since he's not anymore. In honor of his good friend Nok, here it is: "As far as smoking a cigar," she said, "I'd not know where to start or how to start." "It's simple," said I, "You light one end and chew on the other and hope to meet in the middle."
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #58  
Old 08-25-2018, 10:21 AM
jimr (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 377
Thanks: 5
Thanks 48
Default

I thought POV was only character point-of-view, which Hills With White Elephants by Hemingway, as well as The Old Man in the Sea if I remember right, does not have. I never figured POV referred to omniscient outlook. Then yes, Hemingway always has a great POV.

I found this website with all Hemingway's stories: https://theteacherscrate.files.wordp...-hemingway.pdf
and I read The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, which does have a strong character POV, and headhops a bit. His tremendous descriptive display in this story (for me) is like a tutorial.
Reply With Quote
Reply

  WritersBeat.com > Writing Craft > Tips & Advice


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Creep World (WIP) MalReynolds Fiction 21 09-07-2017 06:06 AM
[HORROR] Battery Acid (Sandras Story) Huntress Fiction 3 07-22-2016 10:24 AM
My Heart, It Beats Musique Fiction 0 04-21-2013 08:59 PM
The Sarah-Jane Records shoobawokie Fiction 2 05-28-2009 11:53 AM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:24 PM.

vBulletin, Copyright © 2000-2006, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.