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V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen

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More on Writing: Show vs. Tell [May. 30th, 2012|10:41 pm]
V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen

(Also now this journal comes with English style title capitalisation.)

While I was writing the FMAB fan fiction, I ran across the current set phrase "show, don't tell" once again.

I've probably mentioned earlier that I'm not very good at describing stuff. I rather draw, though I'm not good at expressing my ideas through drawings either. Either way, "showing" is effectively describing. Therefore, most of the stuff I write is mostly "telling", I guess.

There is another thing about "showing" that bugs me, and it's that very often, when I read guides and such about how to "show" rather than "tell", the only thing I see in those guides is that "showing" conveys different information than "telling". They create different scenes. And of course I have more problems with the scenes that "show".

When the scene is "shown", I have a hard time staying with the text and understanding what's going on. If I'm not told what a particular thing means, it starts just seeming nonsensical to me. The author (and many readers) might understand the tone of voice of a character whose line is written in a certain way, but I'm likely to miss it. And so I'll end up clueless as to the character's state of mind. Now, if I was TOLD exactly what the character's state of mind is, no problem. I might be bad at imagining certain emotions, but it's definitely easier to read exactly what it's supposed to be than to try to find and guess what parts show it.

Maybe it's just me, though. That doesn't make me less frustrated with writing that routinely frustrates me with what I often perceive as non sequiturs. Therefore, I hope that more writings BOTH "showed" AND "told"! At least I'm trying to aim for both showing and telling in my writings from now on.