The difference between Showing and Telling.

There’s a cardinal rule in writing:

Show, don’t tell.

It means setting up the scene in a way that makes the reader figure out what you want them to feel, instead of telling them what the character is doing.

Jake was furious.

Jake slammed the door and stormed across the lawn.

The second takes more words, but it draws the reader further into the action. It’s a difficult technique, and one I still struggle with when I write.

I think life is a little like that.

I can spout off about injustice, the effects of flooding, the need to be prepared, a kinder, gentler world, but what might really make a difference, what might really get people to care, is if I showed people what I thought the world should look like. If I showed my kids what kind of person I wanted them to be, if I showed my neighbors how important preparation is.

I’d love to know what you think. Do you think there’s merit in showing v. telling? Please comment.

Grace and Peace,


Image: luigi diamanti /