show don't tell header

Critique: 8 Quick Tips for Show, Don’t Tell

show don't tellThe key to immersive story experiences is convincing readers they’re right there with characters. They’re smelling the ash in the air, tasting the rain, feeling the churning gut, seeing all the same colors, hearing all the same notes. When narrative writing accomplishes that level of verisimilitude, it has the ability to move readers beyond their comfy reading chairs, beyond even the movie projectors in their heads, and right into a deeply visceral experience.

When done well, we call this technique “show, don’t tell.” This is actually an umbrella term for hundreds of little tricks that all combine to create strong narrative writing. If you master show, don’t tell, you will have largely mastered narrative writing itself.

This is why show, don’t tell is such a popular, pervasive, and challenging topic for all writers. It’s usually one of the first techniques we stumble over when we get serious about our writing, and it’s one we continue to tweak with every book we write.

I’ve written about the topic before—both about the basics and about more advanced approaches. Today, however, I want to use our ongoing series of “excerpt analyses” to explore several specific ways you can knit showing into the fabric of your story.

Learning From Each Other: New WIP Excerpt Analysis

Today’s post is the third in an ongoing series in which I am analyzing the excerpts you all have shared with me. My approach to these critiques is a little different from those you normally see on writing blogs. Instead of editing each piece, I’m focusing on one particular lesson that can be drawn from each excerpt, so we can deep-dive into the logic and process of various useful techniques.

Today, my thanks to Gary Myers for sharing the following excerpt from his historical novel Vaderland. Let’s take a look (the bolded entries and superscript numbers will correspond with the tips I’ll talk about in subsequent sections):

The young woman deftly unclipped the limit chain and moved it aside, immediately regretting not being more careful1 as the metal sign suspended below it clanged loudly against the rail.2 Swiftly,3 she lifted the hems of her skirts, took the first step up the steep stairs, and spun around to reattach the chain. One hand on the rail, the other pulling her skirts aside so she could see the narrow steps, she rose4 quickly to the deck above.

Hurried along by a stiff and steady wind angling down from the North Sea, the frigid December air immediately buffeted her as she emerged onto the port side of the open Boat Deck.5 How foolish, she thought, not to have thought of that. To not have realized how sheltered the Promenade Deck below had been.6 Outside, of course, but, at least on the starboard side where she had started, protected by the main deck house from the full force of the icy wind that blew from the northwest. Barely checked by the low marshlands in the estuary of the River Scheldt in northern Belgium, and totally unimpeded for the last thousand feet as it swept across the river itself, it slammed into her slight figure just as forcefully as it did into the new and untested steel-plated hull of the twin screw steamer Vaderland.

She resisted the urge to wrap her arms about her and rub her shoulders to warm herself. It was painfully obvious that a crisply starched shirtwaist was unsuitable for these conditions; returning to her cabin to don the grey wool jacket and cape that matched her skirt would be the prudent course of action. But Liza Dodson could withstand the memory of cold and discomfort more readily than that of not having been up to the task. That was unacceptable, and as unthinkable to her as smiling sweetly and acting helpless of body and thoughtless of mind.

It wasn’t that she was unable or hadn’t learned her lessons. As a child she’d discovered that even a face described as “pleasant enough” and dull blond hair that hung limply around it would usually be sufficient to get her way if she smiled and cocked her head just so. By the time she’d escaped awkward teenage years, she’d discovered the same of a figure judged only “more than passable,” even with her midriff stayed, her back forced into a graceful arch and her posture thus corrected. Had she chosen to behave as expected, she was fully capable of employing both face and figure to the desired effect, as most would willingly do. But she was not most and would not—could not—tolerate behavior that indicated she was less than she was. And what she could not tolerate in herself she suffered poorly in others, men and women alike.7

Ignoring the wind and the cold, she set about her task8 and found it no challenge at all, or at least not what she’d expected. She’d thought it would be difficult to find the object of her quest amidst the clutter of the Boat Deck.

Not intended for access by the passengers, as the metal sign on the limit chain had politely but sternly informed and instructed, it was clearly designed with little thought toward easy navigation, rendering it unsuitable for casual foot traffic as well. The port row of lifeboats hung from their davits, looming over her and crowding her from the right, while to her left towered the bridge and the two tall black funnels with the broad white stripes indicating the ship belonged to the Red Star Line. On center-line with the funnels, she could make out the low skylights for the dining rooms and saloons, surrounded by an assortment of fan housings, pumps, winches and water tanks. Ducts, pipes and steel cables of all sizes crisscrossed the deck at her feet; more cables, stays for the funnels and masts, zigged and zagged through the air at a variety of angles in front of her. Trumpet-shaped vents of all sizes littered the landscape, their flared openings bent at right angles to cylindrical bases that disappeared into the deck.

The description in the final paragraph is an excellent example of showing. Through well-chosen details, we are allowed to see what the protagonist sees. The ship comes to life before our eyes.

The earlier paragraphs, on the other hand, provide us an opportunity to look at ways we can all strengthen the force of our narrative writing (especially in the beginning of a story) by avoiding several sneaky instances of telling.

8 Tips to Spot Telling and Strengthen Showing

One of the reasons show, don’t tell is so difficult to master is that it is first of all difficult to understand. What exactly is showing? Most of the time, authors in search of this elusive skill will rightfully start out striving to use strong action verbs and write vibrant descriptions (as Gary did in his final paragraph). But there’s more to show, don’t tell than just that. Today, I want to point out several examples that aren’t always at the top of show, don’t tell guideline lists, but which are vital to strong narrative writing.

1. Never Name an Emotion

In the first sentence, the unnamed POV character “immediately regret[s] not being more careful.” This is perhaps the sneakiest of all bits of telling—and also one of the most potentially damaging. If we do our jobs right as writers, we should never need to directly tell readers what our characters are feeling. Rather, their emotion—joy, sorrow, confusion, regret—should emanate from the powerful context we have created.

Initially, this one can be a head-scratcher. How else would you let readers know a character is experiencing regret? Sometimes, admittedly, there is no other way. But usually, if you take a moment to consider how someone would act—facial expressions, body language, physiological reactions, thoughts, language, etc.—in a specific situation, you can show readers the appropriate emotion. Perhaps the character immediately flinches, bites her lip, and looks around to see if anyone noticed.

2. Let Cause and Effect Work for You

One of the easiest ways to let showing emerge from your writing is to adhere to causal order. By letting events unfold chronologically, you are giving readers their best chance to experience the story with your characters.

Let’s take a look at the entirety of the excerpt’s opening sentence:

The young woman deftly unclipped the limit chain and moved it aside, immediately regretting not being more careful as the metal sign suspended below it clanged loudly against the rail.

Did you catch that the event described in the third part of the sentence (“the metal sign … clanged”) actually happens before the second part (her immediate regret)? This means readers experience the character’s regret before they have any idea what she’s regretting. Even when the disorientation lasts no more than a split second, it still jars readers.

Fortunately, the fix is as easy as organizing sentences to reflect proper cause and effect.

3. Avoid Adverbs

Stephen King famously told us:

The road to hell is paved with adverbs.

Many writers buck this. Adverbs, after all, are perfectly good parts of speech! But there are good reasons for King’s hyperbolic frustration, one of the biggest being the reality that an over-reliance on adverbs often contributes to telling instead of showing.

In today’s excerpt, we can count twenty-two adverbs ending in “-ly.” All but two or three could be deleted to the narrative’s benefit. Although nothing beats a well-placed adverb, adverbs are too often a demand for readers to see the story in a certain way. Instead of telling readers the character “swiftly lifted” her skirt, it’s usually better to show her “snatching up” her skirts, or some more evocative (but less bossy) equivalent.

And that brings me to…

4. Choose Verbs for Maximum Impact

There is no single show, don’t tell rule more important than that of choosing strong verbs. As Kingsley Amis points out:

If you are using an adverb, you have got the verb wrong.

Multitudinous adverbs usually signify one of two problems:

  1. The verbs are weak.
  2. The verbs are strong, but you don’t trust them.

If we cut all the “-ly” adverbs from our excerpt, we’d see most of the verbs are strong enough to carry the narrative by themselves.

That said, we might also want to examine whether all the verb choices are strong enough to really show readers what they’re supposed to be seeing. For example, at the end of the first paragraph, we’re told the character “rose quickly” to the upper deck. This might be an appropriate verb if the character were floating upwards or riding an elevator or even just getting her to feet from a sitting position. Under the circumstances, however, the verb is not evocative enough to show readers what is actually happening. Just saying she “hurried up the stairs” or, even better (if appropriate), she “ran up the stairs two at a time,” presents a more accurate, and therefore more visual, picture.

5. Use Paragraph Breaks to Organize Information

In our last excerpt analysis, I talked about how writers can use paragraph breaks to organize information and to subtly indicate to readers what’s about to happen. This isn’t so much a specific rule of show, don’t tell, as it is a helpful aid for making sure readers are given the clearest path to experiencing every aspect of the story. When different types of information are grouped within the same paragraph, the reader’s experience can grow muddy.

For example, the excerpt’s second paragraph opens with a visceral bit of setting information (“a stiff and steady wind”), followed by the character’s internal reaction, followed by further setting details. This information would become more accessible if it were split into three separate paragraphs:

Paragraph #1: [Setting as an “actor” within the scene.]

Paragraph #2: [Character thoughts.]

Paragraph #3: [Setting description.]

6. Avoid Thought Tags (and Reconsider Direct Thoughts)

One of the best ways to unite your readers’ experience with your character’s is via your POV character’s inner thoughts. “Direct thoughts” are shared in present-tense, phrased similarly to out-loud dialogue. That’s what we see toward the beginning of the excerpt’s second paragraph:

How foolish, she thought.

Surprisingly, character thoughts are one of the trickier aspects of narrative. Framed inappropriately, they often feel intrusive (direct thoughts, in general, are much more intrusive than “indirect thoughts,” which require no special punctuation or attribution).

One of the easiest ways to trim “telling” from your character’s thoughts is to cut as many thought tags as possible. As long as it’s clear the sentences in question are the character’s thoughts, there’s no need to tell readers “she thought.”

7. Watch for Info Dumps

One of the most obvious “tells” is the info dump. Any time you find yourself sharing a paragraph’s worth of information, consider whether you might, in fact, be dumping it on your readers. This approach is especially tempting in your story’s opener, since it often feels like readers need certain chunks of information right away. Usually, though, they don’t.

The excerpt’s fourth paragraph tells us some important things about the protagonist. But note the key word: it tells us. This is the kind of paragraph I inevitably write in my own openers. It’s the kind of thing I need to get out of my system in the first draft. But with any luck, I find and delete it before the book gets out to readers. Why? Because there is no aspect of showing more important than characterization. Readers don’t want to be told who your characters are; they want to get to know them on their own terms.

Writers rarely need these info dumps as much as they think they do. Do we really need anything in the paragraph in question? Basically, it’s telling us the protagonist conforms to societal expectations but doesn’t really like them—and that’s exactly what we’ve already been shown via her tentative rule-breaking.

8. Keep the Scene Focused on Action via Character Goals

Here’s a rule of thumb: it’s much easier to show when a scene features moving parts. This is true not just of physical movement, such as the character sneaking above deck, but even more so of plot movement.

Can you pinpoint the moment in the excerpt when the story’s interest level picks up?

It’s the moment, in the fifth paragraph, when the narrative indicates the protagonist has a goal:

She set about her task.

It’s no coincidence that this is also the point where the excerpt’s descriptive showing becomes more evocative. Why? Because at this point the scene has finished its set-up and is ready to get down to business.

Not only is this a good example of why it’s best to start your scenes with the hook of your character’s goal, it’s also a great example of how show, don’t tell is integral to so many other “rules” of good writing.

If ever you find yourself struggling with too much telling in a scene, first make sure your character has a goal, then make sure the character is actively pursuing that goal. And vice versa—if ever you find you’re writing a flaccid scene that just won’t take off, consider whether maybe you’ve packed a lot of unnecessary telling in there somewhere, especially at the beginning.

***

Show, don’t tell is one of the most foundational aspects of good writing. It is the vehicle that allows readers to cruise through your story, enjoying all the sights along the way. Without this important skill, you will have difficulty convincing readers to engage with what might otherwise be excellent characters and strong story structure. With it, though, many other important writing skills—everything from voice, pacing, description, characterization, and even scene structure—fall into place!

My thanks to Gary for sharing his excerpt, and my best wishes for his story’s success. Stay tuned for more analysis posts in the future!

You can find further excerpt analyses linked below:

Wordplayers, tell me your opinions! What has been your biggest breakthrough with show, don’t tell? Tell me in the comments!

[Sorry, no podcast this week. I’ve got a bad cold and was too hoarse to record.]

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

Comments

  1. Gary Myers says:

    No matter how much advice you read, there’s nothing like having your own work critiqued to drive lessons home. Thanks for the excellent comments. And great timing, as the first draft is nearing completion.

    Thanks for all you do. I truly could not have gotten this far without your help. And good luck getting over that cold!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your excerpt with us! You asked in your submission about whether longer sentences that reflect the time period were acceptable to modern readers. The short answer is yes, as long as they flow well and fit the narrative. Smoothing out show, don’t tell can actually be very helpful in this regard. It makes the more “formal” verbiage of yesteryear more accessible and vivid to modern readers.

      • Gary Myers says:

        Thanks for taking the time to follow up on that. I can’t wait until my 5 am to 9 am writing period tomorrow morning to get back to my manuscript!

  2. Jason P. says:

    This is a great series, Katie. I especially like tip #5. As I begin my new WIP, I plan on keeping this at the forefront of my prep. Thank you!

  3. Show don’t tell. I’ve never been much of an artist-that was my mom. She painted pictures, some of which I have now in my home. I always envied her talent with the brush and pencil. She brought pictures to life. As a child, I often found myself wishing I could step into them, like Lucy, Edmund, and Eustace in “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”. All that to say, authors are word painters. Our artist’s tools are ideas, brushed and colored in Word docs, in Scrivener, and in notebooks. I still wish I could paint like my mom. But maybe I really do-or am learning to. Thanks, Katie, for adding another brick to my writing shed.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      I’ve always that saying about “a picture is worth a thousand words” to be only half the equation–because a few well-chosen words can bring to life incredibly nuanced images in a reader’s mind.

  4. Eric Troyer says:

    I almost didn’t read this post because I thought I knew enough about “show don’t tell,” but I’m glad I did read it. Excellent job of “showing” several aspects of the age-old writing advice! And kudos to Gary for putting his work out there.

    P.S. I sympathize, Katie. I’ve got a bad cold, too. Yuck!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      I get it! I’m constantly learning new things about show, don’t tell myself. That’s why I say mastering show, don’t tell is really the art of mastering narrative writing. We’re all still working on it!

  5. David Franklin says:

    It’s one thing to read the theory of how to do it, or see examples of polished prose that are doing it right. It’s quite another to get a blow-by-blow analysis of what is working and what isn’t on a work in progress. Thank you Katie for a really useful and rigorous analysis, and thank you Gary for having the guts to put your work on the dissecting table!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Glad it was helpful!

    • My first rejection was from a gracious agent who took the time to explain what didn’t work for her in the excerpt I sent her, and told me what she would like to see in my work. While my writing coach had said the same things, the way she said them clicked better for me. (Much of it was #ShowDon’t Tell.) Currently, I am reading a few novels by someone whose technique inspires me. I go back to my novel and apply, in my less polished way, a bit of what I glean from the reading.

      • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

        The absolute best way to learn any writing technique is to study it in the wild. When we find stories that work for us, it’s always instructive to try to break it down and figure out the author’s secret sauce.

  6. The examples are great! You already know we learn in different ways. You’re a natural as a teacher.

  7. This was the best explaination of show-don’t tell that I’ve seen. Thank you very much.

  8. Critiquing actual excerpts is a good format for learning. I like it very much. Gary gets my nomination for the Author Medal of Honor, for going above and beyond with his submission. I don’t think I would have that much courage.

  9. Ed Gregory says:

    A meaningful blog to start my day. I learn best from concrete examples like these. I want to dig in more, reread, make notes, apply these tips. The brrrrmmmm of my neighbor’s lawnmower is goading me to finish trimming my own lawn. (But Aha! I jumped first to some quick editing of a nearly-finished short story.)

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Good for you! Time management is always challenging for us writers. Physical tasks in the real world have a way of somehow feeling more “important” than our writing.

  10. Thanks to Katie and Gary for this most excellent post. It’s the best I’ve seen or read about ‘show, don’t tell’ yet.

  11. Paul🐸 says:

    Another great lesson, thank you for all the effort in keeping this going, especially with a bad cold. I wish you speedy recovery there. You might try vitamin C, it tends to shorten the effects for some. I take 5 grams a day and I haven’t had a cold in years. I don’t even get sick when my grand kids (2 live with me) bring all that nasty home from school.

    I’m an engineer and I’ve done technical writing for years, papers and presentations, but I’m new to the fiction world. Numbers are logical, English is not. It’s all nuance. My only salvation has been to memorize all the different ways to say it and pick the one that sounds the best. Your explanations make a lot of sense to me.

    Thank you again for all your work.

    Paul🐸

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Thanks! Been drinking lots of orange juice and lemon water. 🙂 I think I’ve turned a corner today. I’ve said that before, but I think it’s for real this time. 😉

    • Gary Myers says:

      I feel your pain, Paul! As a retired engineer, I often feel like I’m a stranger in the land where “being on the nose” is not, as K.M. often advises us, a good thing. 😉

  12. Joan Kessler says:

    Analyzing excerpts this way is really helpful for me. Having a before & after example makes the whole thing clear in a way that just telling what to do doesn’t – so funny how that show, don’t tell thing works! Thanks for the post. Be well soon! And thanks Gary for putting it out there for us. I like that character very much.

  13. Michele Bartlett says:

    As others have said, having concrete examples brings the lesson alive. I often feel frustrated by the endless iterations of “show don’t tell”, as I feel unsure how to implement this in my writing.

  14. Thanks heaps for that deep dive into show-don’t-tell. Makes me want to attack my new story’s beginning — and that’s exactly what I’m going to do, right now…

  15. Great post, K.M.

    I’d say suggestion #2 will give struggling writers the biggest boost in the shortest time. By keeping cause and effect simple and natural, you’re focused on action and reaction, which I believe will make you more aware of the appropriate verb to use.

  16. Thank you for this! I thought I knew about Show Don’t Tell but yes, I’m guilty of a few of these. I’m on a first draft right now, and I’m not worrying too much about sneaky telling yet, but I’ve bookmarked this article for the revision stage.
    I also wanted to tell you how helpful your older articles on how you use Scrivener have been this week. Without them, I would have struggled much more as I moved my WIP into this amazing piece of software.

  17. David Butler-Groome says:

    Mulling over this post, I noticed that the “immediately regretted” is a phrase I have used before in the same way as Gary here, and it struck me that it suggests a couple of possibilities in the context of Katie’s teaching on structure,
    especially scenes and sequels. This is speculation of course, but the first possibility is that regret is something that usually requires reflection, which is why the modifier “immediately” seems to have been intuitively required here, perhaps indicating that the author knows that ultimately the character will regret the chain clanging… but is sensing that regret may not be the right emotion right here in the midst of the action, immediacy speeds up or energises the entropic emotion of regret. The second possibility is a question: isn’t the action of carefully lifting the chain so it doesn’t make a noise, itself a scene goal that is (as all scene goals have to be) turned into a scene disaster with the accidental clanging of the chain? If we see the clanging as the scene disaster we can see the regret as the sequel emotion and deal with it later. Instead of cutting the telling of the regret we can ask why we felt the need to include it in the first place and in doing so we may reveal structural potential: regret is a sequel emotion, it comes after a disaster, and in this case it might be used as part of the contemplation aspect of a sequel to prompt the clumsy character to decide to be more careful (too careful perhaps) in future. My main point is, I think, if the sign clanging is important enough for the author to feel it needs to be regretted (a strong emotion after all) then the act of lifting the chain could be given more significance by stating it as a scene goal before hand. The reason this is an exciting observation for me is that I have had an epiphany: I find editing difficult, I am not afraid of cutting, but I tend to find I am putting the things I cut back in later because intuitively I know they are supposed to be doing something, only I am rarely sure what. This can have me going round in circles. But by understanding the mechanics of scene and sequel there is the potential to understand that it may not be that something needs cutting or replacing but that it is telling us it belongs to a different part of the structure. Thank you Katie and Gary.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Great thoughts here, David! Although I would hesitate to name action/reaction units on this small of a scale as scenes/sequels, you’re absolutely right that what we’re seeing *is* the scene structure enacted on a minuscule level. You’ve also highlighted why the sequencing of goal/conflict/disaster/reaction/dilemma/decision is so integral at all levels of cause and effect.

  18. Tom Youngjohn says:

    Nice.

  19. This is timely for me and I find it helpful. This stuff is hard!

    I am in a quandary of sorts because my character is in a situation where she feels several emotions at once. Her clothes are dirty(blood) so she is a little grossed out. She is also angry and a bit nervous. I am trying to think but nothing happens!

    I hope you feel better soon Katie. Thanks for all that you do!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      I suggest focusing on what’s happening externally first. What does she need to do? Spastically wash her hands? Run out of there while looking over her shoulder (or pretending nothing happened)?

  20. mymindlessdrivel says:

    Excellent look at this subject. My one ‘quarrel’ with the article is that you don’t offset the phrase ‘show, don’t tell’ throughout, and it makes for difficult reading. You start into the sentence and then backtrack when you realize it has a different meaning than you initially thought.

  21. Aaron Jacob Little says:

    This is such a fantastic entry into the list of the nuts and bolts you use to piece together your sentences and paragraphs. I can see bigger picture in my scenes and chapters, but so often getting from “The” to the period seems daunting. However, tools like this really help. If I think in terms of consciously setting a goal in each scene and “showing” how my character(s) accomplish said goal, most of my anxiety will subside.

  22. In my book depicting the “human” side of Yeshua (a.k.a. Jesus), I described him getting beat up after school by the town bully. I had him curl up into a “fetal position” until my writer’s group pointed out that 2,000 years ago there was no such thing as the fetal position. And so I had to show rather than tell what he did to remain historically correct. I learned from this experience that there are times when it is absolutely essential to show.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      This is one of the big challenges of historical writing. So many phrases we take for granted now are completely out of character!

  23. David Snyder says:

    Katie,

    First, I love your library of advice, use it daily, think it’s brilliant and I am enjoying your novel Storming! Your Scrivener’s template along with various K.M. Weiland books and notes from Donald Maass (who’s he!) are right in front of my eyeballs every morning along with the Bible.

    On “showing”: this the bane of my existence and my weakness as a writer even though my first job was as an investigative journalist. In addition to all of your excellent tips here, I have to remember at all times a crusty old newspaper editor yelling at me: WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, HOW AND WHO!!!! If I do not see this on EACH PAGE and I don’t see a microcosm of a 1-page short story/scene on EVERY PAGE I know something has gone terribly wrong and I need to TIGHTEN IT UP YO! I would love to be lazy and blast through an entire page with nothing but dialogue, but if I did, I know I will only have a readership of one. I realize this is macro advice but if I don’t keep it in mind at all times I start “telling and yelling.” Dragged down into the infernal pit of fast writing and laziness. I remind myself to look at what, when, where, why, how and who at the sentence level to see if any fat needs to be cut and if your rules of causality can be applied to make it more powerful.

    Quick note: Making the transition from non-fiction to fiction, I have a literary agent coaching me through some drafts of stuff, and in this context, your book structure guidelines and tips are blessings from God. Why? Well, I have had live conversations with top literary agents and writers and they all say the same thing: in order to “make it” you have to be “great.” Great books sell millions of copies. Good books sell—well, two. People don’t want good books they want great ones. Great ones are the polar opposite of lazy. Your Scrivener’s template shows every step necessary to stay out of the Lazy Inferno.

    And so every morning I pray, stare at my K.M. Weiland Scrivener’s template and tell myself to get real. Thank you!!!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Thanks very much for bringing this up! You’re completely right that another important aspect of show, don’t tell is the need to cover all sensory bases. If we get too fixated one aspect, readers will end up with, at best, a lopsided view of the scene.

  24. Always a great investment in reading your stuff. This one came as more of a review, but it’s nice to see all these things put together, giving a more holistic look at them.

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