Show, show, show! Also, an award! YAY!

Oh my gosh, show don't tell.  It's one of those writery things that can be really confusing. I won't admit to how long it took me to get my head around it, but when I did, I let out a long "oooooooooooooooooooooh!" and then headdesked at my slowness.

Here's telling: Miss Cole is tired.

Here's showing: Miss Cole yawned, ears popping, eyes watering.

I think of showing as a way for the reader to feel what the character feels. Make the reader react. And if I can make a reader squirm, AWESOME! I try and make myself squirm too. I love to read a book that makes me react verbally.  I hope I can cause a few reactions like that too!

Going through my manuscript, I'm finding a few instances where telling doesn't work.  I'm especially bad when trying to describe pain - emotional and physical. Like I said, I want to make the readers react. Telling them something hurts or someone's happy lacks any kind of real depth.

Now, there are times when you have to tell.  Dialogue's a good time, and I think telling can be really effective when you're dropping a bombshell.  A bombshell like "Miss Cole's sherberts are all gone." OMG WHAT?!

...I need more sherberts.

But, I shall cheer myself up because the lovely Sarah McCabe of The Aspiring Sub-creator, gave me an award!

Apparently, I have to answer some questions.  Here we go!

1) Are you a rutabaga?
I had to look that up ^^; And seeing that's not another word for human, no!

2) Who is your current crush?

I'm so happy to know Benedict Cumberbatch is a fellow redhead.  And David Tennant is just awesome.

3) Upload a heartwarming picture that makes you smile.

Okay, not fluffy puppies.  This is Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe in Chapel Hill, NC.  I used to go here a lot when I was in college and I went there last month with Laura.  Seeing it makes me happy... and hungry ^^;
4) When was the last time you ate a vine-ripened tomato?
NEVER. I can't do tomatoes. Those icky insides. Gyah! (For those of you not know, I'm an exceedingly picky eater.)

5) Name one habit that causes other people to plot your demise?

Er... Well, I've been told I can be bit hard... so I take that to mean heartless. And I've also been told I make really bad first impressions.  My best friends told me that. I think I might've cried later on.

6) What is the weirdest, most-disgusting job you've ever had to do?
I worked in childcare for two years. Prepare yourselves. Yes, that's a warning.  Seriously.  The next paragraph is not pretty!

It's kind of hard to think of the most disgusting because you get quite desensitised to bodily fluids. But I had to bath a few toddlers after their nappies committed epic fail. I've had to bath children who didn't make it to the toilet in time. I've dealt with projectile vomiting (and I do mean projectile. You really don't appreciate that description until you deal with it and WOW, one year olds can cover an impressive distance!) Oh, and then there's saving children from choking by digging food out of their mouths.  I *HATE* dried apricots with a vengeance.

...I'd carry on, but I think you've got the message.

7) Where da muffin top at?

...I fear there's a reference I'm missing...

8) What author introduced you to your genre?

Oooh, good question. Hm... I don't think any single writer did. And not just books. Everything from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, to Star Trek, Buffy, Die Hard and 24. Ooh, and Cardcaptor Sakura. That's just to name a few!

9) Describe yourself using obscure Latin words.   


So, who else is ON FIRE! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell:
Madeline Bartos awesome blog!
Jen because she's lovely and her blog offers great discussions.
Tracey Neithercott for sharing really imaginative posts.


  1. Ugh. Showing. I try so hard, but I always need someone to walk past and look at the page and slap me for not using active verbs and better description.

    Also: Benedict Cumberbatch and David Tennant in the same picture? In SUITS? That right there is enough for an A+ post.

  2. Thankyou, Miss Cole! Also, I agree with Franscesca: those two, same pic, suits...perfect. Clever and sexy, oh yes!

  3. Francesca: I know. And sometimes showing can get so bulky! It's not easy.

    I stumbled upon that picture the other week. I've been dying to use it <3

    Jen: You're very welcome! I officially want David Tennant to turn up in Sherlock!

  4. Thank you so much!! You're too sweet. :)

    Funny how the photo I'm drooling over is the waffle house's. I could so go for a waffle now. That'll show you where my mind goes to! As for the muffin top, I'm sure I ate that while waiting for my waffle.

  5. Tracey: You're so welcome!

    I go for the biscuits. Ooooh soooo good. If you ever wind up in Chapel Hill, be sure to stop by!

  6. Ugh. I hate the whole "show don't tell" phenomenon. But then I find I'm generally opposed to a lot of these more modern concepts. Personally, I prefer your telling example. The other seems unnecessary.

    And I so hear you on the job thing. Fortunately for me, the kids I deal with every day are my own and I love them, otherwise I think I'd go insane.

  7. I was also a slow learner on the show v tell and when it came to how inappropriate language in an expository passage could be considered a POV slip. And tension! That took four days of being hit in the head with a workshop brick. That left a mark!

  8. Sarah: I definitely believe tell has its place. And too much showing really bogs down the flow.

    Childcare is a good way to prepare yourself for parenthood! ...Or put you off forever :P

    Margo: Oh gosh, tension! I have a massive note on my whiteboard that reads "ADD MOAR TENSION!" My readers WILL stay up all night unable to put my book down ;)

  9. I love "show"...unless the description goes on so long that it begins to feel like a really boring version of "tell." :)

    It all comes back to Margo's point about tension!

  10. Great post on Show Don't Tell. The mantra we writers chant to ourselves while in the shower and at the computer (it's related, I swear). Because it's so important! And you nailed it on its head, or some such. I'm tired and not making much sense. I'm glad you're not a rutabaga. Although if you were, you could go on TV shows as the only rutabaga author. And then I could say, "I read that rutabaga's blog! She's lovely."
    It's clearly time for bed.

  11. Nicole: That's exactly my issue with show don't tell! It's so hard to get the balance right.

    Kris: Oh, the shower's where I get all my best ideas ;) And yes, I'm very glad I'm not a rutabaga too!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts