24 Feb “Show” and “Tell”
I remember when “Show and Tell” was a painfully embarrassing exercise in elementary school, a time to stand in front of a room of bored (if you were lucky) or humiliation-hungry students and talk about something of interest to you but probably not another soul in the room. Some students talked about their new car, summer vacation, or whatever they found on the way to school once they realized it was their turn for “show and tell.”
But in the writing sphere, “show not tell” means something entirely different: an admonition to spice up the reading experience with action and dialogue that makes the reader an active participant in the storytelling. I understand the value of showing who is character is or why an event is important, but sometimes–when the “showing” seems to have taken on an alien life-form of its own–I just want to shout, “Jeez, get to the point already.” That tendency is one reason I’m glad that I can read silently…without even moving my lips!