Thanks for this! I have 1 question though. As somewhat of a writer, and a horrible reader (I don't read much anymore, and it really takes a lot for a book to grab my attention), I've found that Showing vs. Telling is more like a dance. If you show every little thing a book, the reader soon gets bored of having to read through paragraphs of text just to find out that the boy was scared. I understand that description is important, but keeping your audience interested is also important. Any suggestions as to when one should 'Show', or 'Tell'? Or is it perhaps that you 'Show' the reader what you want in a shorter amount of writing?
Sorry it has taken so long to answer this, Xia! I've found a few resources on the net regarding when telling is usually used to a better extent than showing:
The first is from the website >HERE<
. Not much specific info in that article, but this good paragraph:
Another oft-quoted writing rule is show, don’t tell – and that’s an important one, too, especially in poetry.
However, there are times when the reverse is true. It’s vital to keep your story lean and cruft-free, and E. E. Knight has some suggestions on how telling rather than showing can be the course of greater wisdom in certain situations:
“Most of your telling-not-showing is going to happen at the beginning or end of chapters or scenes. It’s routine business keeping, letting the reader know that time has passed and location has shifted (if it has).”
As usual, he’s included examples and quotations – which are invaluable, as it helps to see the effect of a technique rather than simply being advised to use it.
A good one is from >THIS<
"Show, don't tell", like all rules, has exceptions. According to James Scott Bell, "Sometimes a writer tells as a shortcut, to move quickly to the meaty part of the story or scene. Showing is essentially about making scenes vivid. If you try to do it constantly, the parts that are supposed to stand out won't, and your readers will get exhausted." Showing requires more words; telling may cover a greater span of time more concisely. A novel that contains only showing would be incredibly long; therefore, a narrative can contain some legitimate telling.
Scenes that are important to the story should be dramatized with showing, but sometimes what happens between scenes can be told so the story can make progress. According to Orson Scott Card and others, "showing" is so terribly time consuming that it is to be used only for dramatic scenes. The objective is to find the right balance of telling versus showing, action versus summarization. Factors like rhythm, pace, and tone come into play.
According to novelist Francine Prose:
[The Alice Munro passage] contradicts a form of bad advice often given young writers—namely, that the job of the author is to show, not tell. Needless to say, many great novelists combine "dramatic" showing with long sections of the flat-out authorial narration that is, I guess, what is meant by telling. And the warning against telling leads to a confusion that causes novice writers to think that everything should be acted out ... when in fact the responsibility of showing should be assumed by the energetic and specific use of language."
The issue of when to "show" and when to "tell" is the subject of ongoing debate.
I hope that helps a little or at least starts you off on your own search for the answers!
"To see the world, things dangerous to come to. To see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life."
"Vision does not ignite growth. Passion does."
THE MAMMOTH HUNTERS - by Jean M. Auel