Bad Advice Boogie: Show Don't Tell



hi I'm Jeff summers author of the Avery Cade series the novel trauma and writing without rules from writer's digest books and this is Otto who is here to supervise because I'm kind of unreliable today I'm banded by his boogie we're gonna be talking about that pervasive chestnut show don't tell if you're a writer who has submitted a piece of work to any kind of critical assessment in your lifetime you've no doubt seen those three little words scrawled someplace on your manuscript show don't tell is exactly the kind of pithy easily repeatable advice that you hear all the time in your writing career and it's not bad advice per se as most advice is it's all about interpretation personally I have two problems with show don't tell one a lot of writers don't realize that show don't tell really is a revision table it's not really meant to be something that you apply during a first draft first wraps are about the magic first wraps are about the flow first drafts are about getting ideas down on the page working out plot Kings developing characters and having fun having fun is one of the most important aspects of a first draft if you're sitting there torturing yourself over show don't tell and other little ticky-tacky worries you're just gonna slow yourself down you're gonna break your flow you're gonna have a jumble the terrible manuscript that takes forever to finish because you're constantly going back and revising in the moment in the moment which is a terrible idea the second reason I don't much care for Schroeder Motel is a piece of writing advice is the way a lot of writers choose to handle it especially in the modern age you know increasingly influenced by TV and films a lot of people try to write so which might call a cinematic way what people often forget is that directors in visual media in films and television they were they're relying on actors to interpret their lines they were relying on people who have been trained to show emotion to show the inner world of a character visually when you're writing you don't get that your your characters are not actors they're not going to independently interpret what you're trying to say and that gets lost on the page a great example of cinematic writing gone wrong is the opening sequence the Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code it's spatially and visually confusing and it doesn't really work as a piece of writing sure there's a lot of showing there's not a lot of telling but it doesn't really work well thanks for watching until next time I'm bad advice boogie I'm Jeff summers and I think I've just been fired

5 thoughts on “Bad Advice Boogie: Show Don't Tell

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