Show don’t tell is one of the most relevant writing techniques, it confers quality to the texts and involves the readers, it grabs them.
Show don’t tell is easy to, theoretically, understand; however, it can be complex to apply it.
But the good news is, once you understand it and use it, there’s no going back: your writing will include it, intuitively.
The writer, Anton CheKhov, defined Show don’t tell like this:
Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on the broken glass.
As a writer, your goal is to provoke a reaction in your readers, take them to feel the emotions your character is feeling.
The difference between show and tell is that, show invokes on the reader a mental image of the scene/emotion, while tell is a statement of an action/emotion.
Show is a tool used to pull the reader to a scene. By using it, you’re creating a connection between the reader and your scene/character. This happens because you’re making the reader interpret what’s happening, instead of telling him what he should understand or feel. See More . . .
By C. S. Lakin
The last couple of weeks, I’ve been talking about the importance of mastering how to “show” effectively in your writing. This is one of the key things that will make or break your novel.
Meaning: if you don’t master this technique, it’s likely your novels will never see success.
Readers just don’t want to mull through pages of explanation, boring detail, lengthy narrative, excessive backstory.
They want to “watch” the story unfold before their very eyes. And the best way to do this is by using cinematic technique.
Let me share one last excerpt with you, and I’ll get off my soapbox:
Haven’t you read scenes in which two people are sitting somewhere (and you’ve probably not been told where) and just talking? The dialog goes on for pages, and maybe some of it is interesting, but you can’t picture where these people are, what the setting is like, what they look like. Or maybe you have more description than you want—of the restaurant and their clothes and hair and the noise and smells inside. But still . . . nothing happens.
I’m not talking about physical action.
And this is an important distinction. See More . . .