If you’ve taken a creative writing workshop or even a high school composition course, you’ve likely heard the advice: “Show, don’t tell.”
When we’re writing fiction or creative non-fiction, we want to show instead of tell, which translates to telling our story through a series of interconnected scenes, instead of summarizing the events that happened.
If a character needs a raise to pay the rent, the writer shouldn’t explicitly state, “Bob needed a raise to pay his rent,” at least not without also providing supporting details. Instead, she may place an important conversation between Bob and his work best friend in a coffee shop, where Bob explains that he’s having his second triple latte of the day at 10:00 a.m. after pulling an all-nighter with the quarterly earnings report.
So, yes, “Show, don’t tell.” You know that intuitively. But I’m here to explain part of the “why” behind this age-old adage.