This week, Alida and Emma Darwin discuss the old adage “Show, don’t tell.” We get deep into what that saying really means, discussing the point of view lens, distance, and common mistakes writers make as a result of misunderstanding show, don’t tell.




What does “show, don’t tell” actually mean? And how is it misleading? How should you use narrative summary to your benefit as a writer? Do you need scene breaks? And how do you make your telling showy? How present is your narrator? And what are the dangers of losing your narrator in a first person point of view?

Visit Emma at This Itch of Writing.

What we talked about:

What does “show, don’t tell” actually mean? (1:20)

You need both! The importance of telling in narrative exposition. (3:16)

How to use narrative summary to your benefit. (6:08)

You don’t need a scene break. (7:20)

Showing is about the senses and specificity. (8:28)

Story teller versus the Character. (9:36)

How present is your narrator? (10:30)

Set rules for your narrator and stick to them! (13:06)

How do you cover ground quickly and still be vivid? (14:16)

The pitfalls of “don’t tell”. (15:50)

Every point of view will experience things differently. (19:00)

Pay attention to the psychic and emotional distance of your character who is relating the story. (21:05)

How first person closes down the choices. (22:55)

Internal and external narrators. (24:05)

The danger of losing your narrator in a first person narrative. (24:40)


Things we mentioned:

The Art of Fiction by John Gardner

Emma’s Blog posts on Scene Breaks:

“Getting from One Scene to the Next”

Want more about these topics? Check out:

SWRT 058 Narrative Drive

Have thoughts, questions, other examples? Join the conversation at the Story Works Writers Facebook group

Get Your FREE Guide to reVision

Join hundreds of Word Essential Writers to receive inspirational writing tips and advice.

Thanks for subscribing! Look for a confirmation email in your inbox.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This