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Story Telling; Story Showing

Show & Tell

Shannon Donnelly

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Copyright 2012 Shannon Donnelly

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This book is meant to serve two purposes. First, this is a companion to the “Show and Tell: An Interactive Workshop” I teach online. Second, and more importantly, I hope the information here will help writers of all skill levels make their stories more dynamic with strong story telling techniques and scenes that reveal more about the characters by showing those people in action.

While the phrase “show, don’t tell” has become a cliché, there’s both truth as well as a caution in there. Good stories need dramatic scenes, but they also need strong narrative passages to connect those scenes: a writer really needs both showing and telling skills. In this guide, we’ll go into how “show, don’t tell” really should be phrased as “show more with stronger scenes, and tell when you need to move the story along.”

To break this down further, the “telling” part of this guide includes tips, tricks, and techniques to help improve fiction narrative. This will help you identify when it’s time to “tell” more to the reader to compress information, smooth transitions, or otherwise better establish settings to help move readers into or out of scenes. The “showing” part blends a set of exercises to strengthen an understanding of what makes a scene come to life by using vivid descriptions that reveal a character’s thoughts and emotions by showing that character in action instead of just telling the reader about this character.

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