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- How to Decide Between Showing and Telling
- Is it necessary to show every sensory element, every action, and every detail in this scene?
- Does this part of the story require strong imagery and active details?
- How important is this element to the plot, setting, or characterization?
- Is creating a mental picture for readers (showing) effective in this instance?
- Is so much being shown that nothing is revealed?
- Instances When Telling is Better than Showing
- To show the passage of time. A story can span days or years. It’s not necessary to know everything that happens every moment.
- To reveal how much time has passed (e.g., seasons changing, characters aging).
- To move readers to the next important piece of the story.
- To gloss over insignificant characters or unnecessary events that don’t have anything to do with the main story and don’t move the plot forward.
- To add backstory.
- To report events that aren’t really important.
- To connect scenes.
- To focus on an emotion when showing is unnecessary or impossible.
- To provide details about travel or transitions.