Naked Lady in the Drain and Why Authors Should Show and Not Tell

When you tell, you are blunt. When you show? You are laying out little truths that compel the reader to turn the page and read on.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Naked Lady in the Drain and Why Authors Should Show and Not Tell
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So a lot of writers get rejections that say, “Show, don’t tell.”

And then they are left wondering, what does that even mean?

And then everyone uses the Chekov quote, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

That’s because writers and editors like to quote other writers and editors because it makes us sound:

  1. Pretentious. Cough. I mean intelligent!
  2. Like we know what we’re doing.

Definitions Time

Showing is what it sounds like. You are showing what’s happening in the scene or with the character.


Telling is also what it sounds like. You are blunt and direct and are just stating things. Sometimes you’re stating and summarizing.

Here is a quick example:

Telling:

Shaun was cranky.

Showing:

Gabby the dog barked for hours at the dogs trotting by the house that morning and after a quick pause for a drink from her red water bowl in the kitchen, she’d pranced back to the living room sliding glass door and started again.

Shaun tensed. He slammed his fist against his desk and roared, “Will you just shut up already?”

So why do you want to show more and tell less?

It’s more community oriented.

It gives the reader the truth about the character by illustrating it on the page rather than laying it down like an edict.

If I tell you, Carrie is a timid person, then you’re like okay. Whatever.

But if I show you a scene where Carrie steps outside and starts crying because the grass is long and things could be hiding in it and she starts sweating and shaking because she’s so afraid of the grass? You’re going to probably have a better understanding of how timid a person Carrie actually is.

Yeah, showing takes more words, but writers are word magistrates. We are dealers in the sentence and the language. Words are our friends.

The other reason is that telling makes things dull.

It’s hard to be suspenseful when you just say everything all bluntly. When you tell, you are blunt. When you show? You are laying out little truths that compel the reader to turn the page and read on. You are giving the pieces of a meal, one bite at a time, rather than shoving a four-course dinner down their throat and making them gag.

It’s the difference between reading the episode recap for Wanda Vision and actually watching the show.

Telling kills immediacy.

Just like distancing language, telling puts a wall up between the reader and the experience of the characters.

If I write, Carrie heard the bomb explode, it’s not as gripping. You are distanced from the experience.

Compare that to if I write,

The bang rippled through the air. The cops’ radios all began squawking with orders and directives as the cops turned as one towards the source of the sound and the smoke…the smoke billowed out and up. Carrie turned with them. The plastic, the soot, the burning on her tongue made it hard to swallow.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Show more. Tell less.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Show it as best as you can for all the good treats.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Our random thoughts this week were about:

A stray dog at Dollar General stealing a purple unicorn. He’s okay and found his forever home! Yay! Link from People.

A woman who was allegedly stuck in Florida tunnels and a drain for three weeks. She’s okay! Link from the Miami Herald.

How Shaun announced at the Covid vaccine place that Carrie doesn’t bleed. He’s okay, too. Link from our life.

HEY!

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link. This week’s podcast is all about strange habits.

almost dead book by carrie jones
almost dead book by carrie jones

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On one of my Patreon sites I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD. This is a monthly membership site (Hear the book chapters – $1/month, read them $3-month, plus goodies!). Sometimes I send people art! Art is fun.

On this, my second site, WRITE BETTER NOW, you can do a one-time purchase of a writing class or get two of my books in eBook form or just support our podcast or the dogs. It’s all part of the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME.

It’s a super fun place to hang out, learn, read, and see my weirdness in its true form.

And I’m starting up a brand new, adult paranormal set at a Maine campground. You can read the first chapter here.

Sparty Dog on a Wednesday

It’s easy to rip other people apart.


But you aren’t about easy. You’re about lifting up so we can all hit new heights, have cuddly beds, good treats.


Look at how beautiful you are. You. You sparkle. Go share that. Go be you.


Also, bring treats.


xo

Sparty Dog

Sparty Dog on a Thursday

The thing is to be in your moment

Right now.

Where are you?

Are you stuck in a car and can’t open the door? You can still smile out the window. The car will move again. You will move again. You’ve got this.

You’re so full of light.

xo

Sparty Dog (apologies for the hearts)

Link to my humans’ podcast.

Gabby and Sparty Monday Inspiration

When you find success, you might get glory or money, but when you find a way to love even when love feels impossible, even when the world feels impossible?

That’s when you’re really successful.

We hope you’re successful today and all days.

You’ve got this, humans.

xo

Gabby & Sparty Dog

Gabby the Dog’s Thursday Thoughts

A blank page, a new day? That’s bliss. 

You get to write or draw or dance all over that page, this day. Make it beautiful. Like you. 

Love,

Gabby

Gabby Dog Squinty Wisdom

When you realize that you can be loved and that you can love others

even when you’re goofy,

even though you have flaws,

even though you drool or bark a lot or make squinty faces?

That’s when the universe blossoms inside of you. 

Let it blossom!

xo

Gabby Dog

Gabby Dog Motivation and Big Thoughts for Tuesday

You don’t need to wear disinterest like a badge of honor. Celebrate the things you love. Let others celebrate their loves, too. Don’t ruin other’s joy by announcing your disdain.

Cough.


Squirrels.

Anti-Star-Wars peeps.

I’m looking at you. 

Gabby Friday Thoughts

Dog Inspiration
Dog Inspiration by Gabby the Great Pyrennes

Sometimes the only thing breaking through the darkness is you.


Stare out of it. Be the brave you want everyone else to be.


Wag your tail. Be the love you want everyone else to be.


Bark. Breathe in. Bark again.

Love. Fight for others. Love through it all.


xo

Gabby Dog

Sparty Dog Inspiration

Look at all the stories you’re seeing, the dreams you’re doing, the lives you’re living.

Breathe out. In. Out.

You are making moments and they all make you. Not one moment. ALL the moments.

Go make more.

Breathe out. Breathe in. Look up. See stars.

xo

Sparty the Dog

Gabby the Dog’s Wednesday Inspiration

Holding onto love is like hearing the universe sing.

Believing in yourself is adding the melody to the tune.

Open the sliding glass door. Let’s go love and sing today. No matter what happens. Let’s embrace the love, share it, make change with it.


Love,

Gabby the dog