Show, Don’t Tell is a Metaphor? Phew!

Over ten odd years of writing, I have been told ‘Show, Don’t Tell’. The latest term I’ve heard it called is Deep POV. I looked it up and, yes, when I show, it tends to be Deep POV. Okay, not all the time. I try to, but my writing is not drowning in Deep POV. There are other considerations. The information I need to convey; the hints I want to give readers, details not necessarily forefront in my character’s POV. I pick and choose what I show, show (Deep POV), and what I tell. Sometimes I forget to pick and choose. Transforming errant Tells into Shows can be immensely satisfying, but are all Tells insidious, nasty bugs that need to be ‘beta-ed’ into oblivion?

Researching Deep POV versus narration, I chanced upon a gem of sage advice that will keep me sane. I need to seek out more of Bill Bowler’s advice, but this post/article in Bewildering Stories is a very helpful description of narration and POV that puts Show, Don’t Tell in context. I think the crux of the matter is: use Show to engage the reader, don’t let the Tell drive the reader away.

I agree that Deep POV can only help the Show, but I’m not chewing my nails over it.

I wanted to share. Hope these links prove useful to you.

3 thoughts on “Show, Don’t Tell is a Metaphor? Phew!”

  1. I’ve been realizing lately how that phrase helps me out a lot – the show not tell phrase. To be honest, though I sorta understood the concept, it never truly soaked in to be useful before. In my current WIP, I’m noticing where it helps me out and lets me know when I need to develop a description, a scene or a character more. I’ve got a lot of work to do!


    1. Everytime I look at my MS I find more tell that cries out to be a show! But every now and again, I think, “This tell is supposed to be here. Leave well alone.” The trick is recognizing what works best for the story. Thanks for visiting and good luck with the writing. πŸ™‚


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