What does “telling and not showing” mean?

Asked by: Corrine Eickhoff

Showing uses actions, dialogue, interior monologues, body language, characterization, setting and other subtle writing tactics to pull readers into your story. Showing vs. Telling means your writing paints a picture instead of simply summarizing a story’s main points.

What is the difference between telling and showing?

In a nutshell, showing is about using description and action to help the reader experience the story. Telling is when the author summarizes or uses exposition to simply tell the reader what is happening.

Is it okay to tell and not show?

The reason they say “show, don’t tell” is so that you, as the writer, will work harder to convey the proper mental image to the reader. It’s harder to show something in words than it is to just tell it. It is also more enjoyable for the reader to see it.

What is an example of showing not telling?

“Show, Don’t Tell” Examples

Showing: She trembled and looked up at him with fear in her eyes. Notice how much more powerful the showing example is here. It uses half the worlds but packs twice the punch because you’re seeing her in action demonstrating her fear instead of being told what one character noticed.

Why is showing better than telling?

Telling uses exposition, summary, and blunt description to convey the plot of a story. Showing uses actions, dialogue, interior monologues, body language, characterization, setting and other subtle writing tactics to pull readers into your story.

How can I be more showing than telling?

One of the best ways to show rather than tell is to create a sense of setting. You can do this by writing about how characters perceive and interact with their surroundings, weaving plenty of sensory details and occasional action into the scene.

Why is show not tell important?

“Show, don’t tell” writing gives the reader a job that goes far beyond simply “understand” or “agree.” In other words, “Show, don’t tell” writing gives the reader an experiential and interpretive job that goes far beyond simply “understand” or “agree.” Readers are always meeting writers halfway.

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Who said show dont tell?

playwright Anton Chekhov

The concept is often attributed to Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, reputed to have said “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” What Chekhov actually said, in a letter to his brother, was “In descriptions of Nature one must seize on small details, grouping them so that when …

How do you show not tell in first person?

Here’s how to show don’t tell in writing:

  1. Understand what show don’t tell means.
  2. Learn from examples of showing versus telling.
  3. Cut the “sensing” words to show don’t tell.
  4. Avoid emotional explaining when showing not telling.
  5. Describe body language.
  6. Use strong verbs to show don’t tell.
  7. Focus on describing senses.

How do you show someone is scared of writing?

In this post, we have included 32 things for you to consider when you write about fear.
B) Body Language

  1. Hunching shoulders.
  2. Shrinking away.
  3. Open mouth.
  4. Wide eyes.
  5. Shaking.
  6. Trembling.
  7. Freezing.
  8. Wrapping arms around oneself.

How do you show not tell in a movie?

In its simplest form, “show not tell” means letting your characters reveal their thoughts and emotions through images and actions rather than words. Aspiring screenwriters often spend hours honing pages and pages of dialogue, when in fact the whole conversation could be replaced by a single visual image.

How do you show not sad?


  1. bowing postures of the body wall.
  2. cry face and lip-pout.
  3. gazing-down.
  4. slumped (i.e., flexed-forward) posture of the shoulders.
  5. audible sigh.
  6. drooping eyelids.
  7. flaccid muscles.
  8. hanging head;

How do you show a character is upset?

B) Body Language

  1. An increased heart rate.
  2. Feeling hot or flushed.
  3. Shaking.
  4. A clenched jaw.
  5. A dry mouth.
  6. Shouting, ranting, making loud noises.
  7. Staring.
  8. Baring teeth.
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How do you show a character is frustrated?

Things other characters might notice are:

  1. Rushed speech.
  2. Stiffness in movements in posture.
  3. Throwing insults (especially at people who might surpass them in the area of frustration)
  4. Trying too hard to calm down.
  5. Being more confrontational than usual.
  6. Clenching the jaw or speaking through the teeth.

How do you show emotions?

Expressing Your Emotions in a Healthy Way: 18 Tips

  1. Use positive self-talk. …
  2. Be a good listener. …
  3. Know your triggers. …
  4. Try spirituality. …
  5. Teach emotion words to young children. …
  6. Practice empathy. …
  7. Cut the distractions. …
  8. Model emotional expression.

What is it called when you show no emotion?

apathetic. / (ˌæpəˈθɛtɪk) / adjective. having or showing little or no emotion; indifferent.

What is it called when you can’t express your feelings?

Alexithymia isn’t widely known, but this condition has been studied for more than four decades . It’s presented in individuals who have difficulty recognizing and expressing feelings, and it often coincides with another underlying neurological condition or mental health disorder.

What do you call a person who doesn’t express their feelings?

stoic. (or stoical), stolid, undemonstrative, unemotional.

What is emotional detachment?

Emotional detachment is an inability or unwillingness to connect with other people on an emotional level. For some people, being emotionally detached helps protect them from unwanted drama, anxiety, or stress. For others, the detachment isn’t always voluntary.

What do you call a person who hides their pain behind a smile?

Share: JAKARTA – Sadness is often inexplicable and smiling is one way to bury it temporarily in front of coworkers, for example. This condition in psychological terms is rarely known, it is called an eccedentsiast. Eccedentsiast means those who hide behind a smile to convince others that they are happy.

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How do you deal with an emotionally detached person?

If you want to help someone with an emotional detachment disorder here’s what you can do: –Maintain steady communication. Discuss their day to day interactions with people without judgment. Let them share the inner workings of their mind and help them get to the core of their detachment.

How can you tell if someone is emotionally unavailable?

Symptoms of emotional detachment

  1. difficulty creating or maintaining personal relationships.
  2. a lack of attention, or appearing preoccupied when around others.
  3. difficulty being loving or affectionate with a family member.
  4. avoiding people, activities, or places because they’re associated with a past trauma or event.

How do you communicate with someone who is emotionally unavailable?

Both Neblett and Gatling agree that if you address someone’s emotional unavailability, express how it’s affecting you and lead with “I” statements. It’s also important to have clear examples of why you think they’re emotionally unavailable so that they don’t feel ambushed, Neblett emphasizes.

What does it mean to be emotionally cold?

Emotionally unavailable, inaccessible, unresponsive, indifferent, uninvested. Unfeeling, unemotional, affectionless; unsmiling—straight-faced (or stone-faced) Cold-hearted, as in “cold fish” or (even worse) an “iceberg” or “ice queen” Lacking empathy and compassion.

What makes a person heartless?

It is not uncommon that a person might be so overwhelmed by betrayal, disappointment, or other negative emotions that they would rather feel no emotion at all. While being truly emotionless isn’t possible for most healthy people, you can sometimes benefit by appearing to be heartless in certain situations.

How do you know if you are heartless?

To help you understand, here are 19 traits a cold-hearted person might exhibit.

  1. They are uncaring and unempathetic. …
  2. They are distant and detached. …
  3. They come across as superior and unkind. …
  4. They are often self-centered and self-absorbed. …
  5. They are untrusting and untrustworthy. …
  6. They are self-reliant and stubborn.