Show, Don’t Tell

Chalkboard with writing "Today: Show and Tell"
new york barge
Lower Manhattan, well after the Dutch. Photo by Seva Kruhlov on

There are a lot of things to keep straight when you’re writing a story: characters, plot, setting, timeline, names, language, background, and more. It’s a lot of information that you have to keep track of—and a lot of information to convey to your readers.

Given that, it can be tempting to dump all of that information in large blocks of exposition or in character descriptions rather than communicating that information in the narrative. But the advice given to filmmakers and playwrights is just as relevant for writers: show, don’t tell.

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