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Dec. 18th, 2006 @ 04:54 pm showing vs. telling
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This is a kind of tired subject as far as writing goes, but I've noticed a LOT of it in fanfic and thought it might be worth a mention. Does anyone else find it irritating when a fic does a whole lot of 'telling' instead of 'showing'? Not that there's anything at all wrong with the occasional 'she was tired', but when I read entire fics made up of sentences like 'Booth thought Brennan was irritating, she was so uptight and annoying ' I start to lose interest. Maybe it's a personal preference thing, but it just feels... stylistically lacking, I guess.  Don't say he finds her irritating, show us - have him snap or roll his eyes or something. And again, don't say she's uptight and annoying, show us through her actions, speech, etc. (which I don't think she is, btw, before people start throwing things :P). 

I also did some googling and found a page here with a (very) short article on showing vs. telling, and below it is a discussion that has arguments for both sides, which I thought was interesting. 


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Date:December 18th, 2006 09:10 am (UTC)
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I think you definitely have to have a combination of both. For example, do a little telling, then show what you're talking about with actions. Or vice versa.

But I've never really thought about that before. I'll will be looking over every fic I write from now on to check for things like that!
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Date:December 18th, 2006 03:52 pm (UTC)
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As a new writer, that's one of the most usual comments, that's for sure. And, although I usually write first person POV where it doesn't come into play as much, because you're inside the character's head, when you're writing in third person, it IS, really important.

I can't say that I look for it, as in I will stop reading a story that does it too often, but I tend to like sentences that click, and things that sound pretty, so usually I try to write like that too, and that implies keeping 'Show, don't tell', very much present.

It's a very good advice for writers, but it can get to be too much at times. Yes, show, don't tell, but you don't have to show EVERYTHING!
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Date:December 18th, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
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I agree whole heartedly. I've been practicing those effects a lot actually before I plan to publish any fanfic. It's very annoying and could kill the entire mood of a story. Writing is an art like drawing. I wouldn't want to read any thing that's equivalent to stick figures(even though there's nothing wrong with drawing stick figures). People need to learn more colorful adjectives and how to blend words to create vivid mental imaging for the reader. Finally, I'm not alone. <3 Happy Holidays.
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Date:October 21st, 2010 06:01 am (UTC)
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I agree. Writing like that always seems to be more children's book style then anything.