Changing Telling into Showing

ML Keller- The Manuscript Shredder

Transforming telling into showing in writing

Telling is a quick, efficient way to relate lots of information to a reader in a short amount of time. It works for writing transitions or other places where you need to move the timeline ahead, or where showing mundane details would bore readers. Despite its usefulness, “show don’t tell” is probably the most commonly given advice in writing. So why is it so hated?

Telling stops your story cold.

Every sentence spent telling your readers about something is time not spent moving the plot along. Imagine meeting someone for the first time over coffee and the entire conversation is her talking about people you have never met and her deepest darkest life experiences? You’d probably think she needs some serious counseling, but so many of the manuscripts I see begin this way.

Telling creates distance from your characters.

When readers don’t experience important parts of the character’s story with…

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