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Showing vs Telling In Fiction Writing

by | Nov 30, 2015 | Tips For Writers

Showing vs Telling In Fiction Writing

When you set out to write your first book, whether it be a memoir, a fiction novel, or a non-fiction novel, you want to consider the showing vs telling of your story. What I mean by showing vs telling is how you are writing the events of your plot. A good novel will incorporate not just the facts about what is happening, but the descriptions of those events as well.

Showing your story would look something like this: “That morning was different than the rest. The trees—once a vibrant green—had turned to a deep spectrum of reds and yellows. A cool breeze twirled a few fallen leaves through the crisp air as people pulled their coats closer around their bodies. Autumn had finally arrived.” On the other hand, telling your story would look like this: “That morning was different, autumn had come.” Instead of just saying what happens in your story, use the senses to help your readers envision your writing like a movie in their minds. Show them your story.

Why is Showing vs Telling Important?


Showing vs telling in writing is important for one very simple reason: showing makes for a good story. Imagine you were reading your all time favorite book. Now, take out all the description. What are you left with? You are left with dialogue and bland statements. There is no imagination involved, there is no movie playing in your head anymore. Basically, not showing the reader the story takes away the pleasure of reading. For me, reading has always been like directing a movie in my head as I go. The descriptions bring your idea to life in your readers. Be sure to use all five senses when you’re setting up a scene in your novel. Write what you would want to imagine. Leave nothing out, your readers will thank you.

If you think you are having issues with this showing vs telling dilemma, visit my website  Write One Publications and set up a coaching session with me. Together we can figure out how you can master the technique and not simply tell your readers what is happening, but show them with your descriptive writing style. Talk to you soon!

NEXT: Using A Plot Twist To Make Your Story Better

Showing vs Telling In Fiction Writing