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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why I don't like the Showing versus Telling debate





What are your thoughts?

Sometimes I get tired of the Showing Vs Telling debate. First of all, it's so one sided. Most references are totally against telling, like it's some unforgivable writing sin.

Telling a story 
shouldn't be a sin.
There are times when telling is OK, even preferred. I don't want to be shown everything. Sometimes it's OK to tell me something and move on. I have an imagination. I can fill in the gaps.

Writers are primarily storyTELLers, right? Well, that's probably an oversimplification. 

Anyway...

I usually disagree with examples given. And here is where the problem firmly sits.

Too much telling is only evident once the entire piece/scene is taken into consideration. Because you can't show everything. If a writer tried, most readers would die of visual exhaustion. 

And too much telling for one person is not too much telling for someone else. It comes down to opinion.

And for the writer I think it comes down to balance and style. Some showing and some telling is usually the way to go. Where you strike the balance is up to you. Realize, though, that your style may rub some readers the wrong way. That doesn't mean your style is wrong. Others will like it just fine—perhaps even love it.

I've seen some reviewers strike out at a book because of this whole debate, but I found the level of showing or telling to be just fine. So, I urge readers and reviewers to take it easy on writers. Perhaps the amount of showing vs. telling was totally on purpose. It isn't the writer's fault, the editor's fault, or the reader's. 

There may have been nothing wrong with the book. It just wasn't for you. No need to beat up a writer because of it.

What are your thoughts?

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