Critics of "Show, don't tell" ~ I feel like a rebel today...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Not all writing coaches and bestselling authors agree that "Show, don't tell" is sound advice. According to Renne Browne and Dave King, narrative summary has its uses, the main one being to vary the rhythm and texture of writing. Narrative summary can also be useful where the story has a lot of repetitive action. Also, some plot developments are simply not important enough to justify scenes.

According to Orson Scott Card, "showing" is so terribly time consuming that it is to be used only for dramatic scenes. The objective is to get the right balance of telling versus showing, action versus summarization. Either could be right; either could be wrong. Factors like rhythm, pace, and tone come into play. The issue of when to "show" and when to "tell" is subject to ongoing debate.

Info courtesy of Wikipedia...don't you just love Wiki-world?