Show, Not Tell


Scrabble, Word Games

Image by libbydorazione via Flickr


Wasn’t the best part of show and tell always the “show” part?

Sure, it was fun to fath on a bit about the turtle or arrowhead you brought. But none of the fathing held a candle to the pure holding up of the thing.

Writing’s the same way. Don’t tell me what you want me to see or feel or think. All that shows me is what you want. Lead me. Take your reader by the hand – or heart, mind or eyes – and lead them down a path inexorably ending in your point. Create an argument for your point of view and then make it elegant, lovely and captivating.

Build word castles, sentence villages and paragraph woodlands. Grow gardens of images arranged into a bouquet of meaning so streamlined and well-put together that one flower leads to the next scent drawing the nose forward until confronted with the fragrance of truth: meaning.

All show, little tell.