Wednesday, January 4, 2017
IWSG - Why "Show Don't Tell" is a confusing rule.
It's the first Wednesday of the month. Time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group Post. IWSG is a safe place for writers to get together, share our insecurities, and offer feedback and support.
Click !!!HERE!!! to join.
In the past I thought show don't tell meant more dialogue, less exposition. My first two books are packed with conversations.
I get it. When exposition sounds bad it roars like your drunk Uncle Steve at a karaoke bar. Exposition as backstory is like medicating your child who is a touch hyperactive. What was once an exuberant child is now a drooling overmedicated fat kid. Exposition can slow down and anchor a plot. Why put a torpedo bra on something that's already nicely shaped?
Inversely, exposition can be artfully done when you show don't tell.
But, we're storytelling. As storytellers being told "show don't tell" can be a bit confusing.
telling: Voodoo dolls lined the wall of the Black Magic Voodoo Lounge.
showing: Inside the Black Magic Voodoo Lounge dolls made of Spanish moss, dark twigs, and clay heads wrapped in paisley cloth stuck with multi-colored pins covered the wall facing the street.
Show don't tell simply means, don't be so damn lazy. When it comes to 'the rules of writing' I tend to overcomplicate what isn't complicated. Does anyone else do that?
Do you have a beef the show don't tell rule?