Show vs. Tell – When you should and how

The Phoenix Quill



We’ve all heard the old rule “Show Don’t Tell”. Seems so simple doesn’t it? We nod sagely when someone reiterates this adage and say hmm, yes of course. Yet, arguably, there are times when you kinda need to tell. You might not want to write a flashback scene every time you want your readers find out one small but vital piece of info. So what do you do?

I’m going to break the rule and tell you that in some instances, it is, in fact, ok to tell. BUT (and that is a big BUT) you have to be crafty about how you do it. Nobody really wants to read pages of backstory exposition prose. It sucks to have an author shove info down our throats in such a rough manner, I’ve stopped reading some books for this reason in the past.


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