Showing versus Telling: Intricacies of Writing

The wind whistled through the trees, the colorful yellow and orange leaves of autumn rustling around. Already, the emerald green grass that had shone so proudly just yesterday was covered in a carpet of the tree’s intricately-shaped presents. The leaves made a satisfying crunch sound as my red Converse met the ground- as satisfying as biting into a Lay’s potato chip. It was chilly as of now, and heavy clouds hung about in the gradually graying sky.

Showing.

It was quite windy today, and many of the colorful leaves had fallen to the floor. They were crushed beneath my shoes as I walked over them. It was quite cold today, and it seemed as if it was going to rain soon which was quite unfortunate because I had investigating to do. I knew something bad was going to happen tonight.

Telling.

In elementary school, teachers encourage you to show, not tell. They encourage you to put as much description into your work. If you’re describing a plain white wall, describe it as: A canvas ready to be strewn with slashes of red, green, and purple…

However, showing often leads to extending scenes for longer than necessary. In stories, or, in this case, blog posts, you don’t want to drag your reader along for a description of a basic place.

The key factor for having readers to hang onto your very words is to get into the action. However, don’t completely neglect showing. Even if you are moving at a fast pace, you will want some areas that slow down and show the reader exactly who the person is you are talking about and what area or place this is taking in.

Therefore, for the best results, you need to combine showing and telling. Shelling?

Don’t just go with showing, and don’t just go with telling. If you go with the former option, the audience will be bored quickly; if you go with the latter, the audience will wonder what is going on and will be unable to connect intimately with your character.

The wind whistled through the trees, a delightful waterfall of yellow and orange leaves sprinkling down onto the ground underneath my feet. Even then, I sighed as the dark clouds rolling in meant rain on the way, and rain meant I would be unable to investigate. Yet, as small patters of rain poured onto me, I knew something was going to happen tonight. Something bad.

Lots of love, and show and tell,

Jess

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