“Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekov
Writers often have different definitions of “showing” and “telling.” I define “telling” as any time in the story when an important moment lacks depth in terms of detail or narrative voice. However, telling can also be an excellent tool for controlling the story’s pacing and delivering important information.
In this video, I’ll explore the origins of this advice and why “showing” appeals to audiences on an emotional level. Using examples from popular works and advice from published authors, I’ll outline six strategies you can use to produce stronger writing:
1. Use evidence to support your claims. 2. Replace the abstract with the concrete. 3. Substitute vague descriptions with specific sensory details. 4. Avoid relying too much on body language. 5. Show emotion through dialogue. 6. Filter observations through the narrative voice.
Background Music by Vindsvept: + “Illuminate” + “The Fae” + “Wildkin Glade” + “Hideaway” + “The Forgotten Forest” + “Lake of Light” + “Winter’s Day”
Introduction (0:00) The Origins of "Show, Don't Tell" (3:53) 1. Use Evidence to Support Your Claims (5:38) 2. Replace the Abstract with the Concrete (7:20) 3. Substitute Vague Descriptions with Details (10:09) 4. Avoid Relying Too Much on Body Language (12:09) 5. Show Emotion Through Dialogue (15:32) 6. Filter Observations Through the Narrative Voice (17:51) Summary (21:51) Writing Exercise (26:00)
writinghow to writewriting motivation
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