I was thinking today (you guessed it; during math class) and writing, as I typically do. That combined with me remembering something I read long, long ago (or maybe someone said it..or maybe I never read it or no one said it. Who knows.)  about when characters in a story “show” not “tell”.

Telling from a writers language is basically coming right out and saying “She left.” or “I’m scared.” or something along those lines. Showing from a writers language is when instead of saying “I’m nervous” you would say something like “I felt my face turn a dark shade of scarlet, and began to feel my palms leak hot sweat. He…” and so on.

I strongly feel that “showing” as opposed to “telling” is an important thing in writing. Would you seriously want to read a book that went something like this;

“I looked both ways, then crossed the street.
I ran across quickly.
I then walked into the store and sat down at a table.
The table was red.
The waitress asked me what I wanted.
I said that I wanted some coffee.
She nodded at me and walked away.
I waited for her to bring my coffee.
It took too long so I walked out
I went into a different shop down the street.
They said that they were out of coffee.
So I went home without coffee.
I was sad.”

That’s just..uhm *coughs inconspicuously*. Yeah. I won’t bother to make that horrible example above semi decent, but will instead fix the last line from “showing” to “fixing”.

“I let my body collapse under my weight and onto my bed, purposely shoving the pillow on my bed into my mouth so I could scream to my heart’s content without any of my neighbors becoming concerned. Tears now falling freely, I resolutely stood up and went over to the forgotten coffee machine in my house and..”. That’s obviously not “good”, but as I think I mentioned above, it’s semi decent.

Admittedly, in certain books I can skip paragraph upon paragraph because the book is so littered with “fluffed” up words. For example instead of saying what I put above – “I let my body collapse under my weight and onto my bed, purposely shoving the pillow on my bed into my mouth so I could scream to my hearts content without any of my neighbors becoming concerned. Tears now falling freely, I resolutely stood up and went over to the forgotten coffee machine in my house and..” they would put – “I let my wobbly average sized body collapse from sadness onto my old wooden bed. I had always hated the strange sounds that the bed would make when I placed my body onto it at night, but at this moment it didn’t matter in the slightest. All in one motion I shoved my face into the pillow upon the bed and let out a long scream. To an untrained eye it may have looked like I was trying to commit suicide by cutting off the amount of oxygen that could flow into my nose and mouth. Whereas, to the trained eye I was simply letting out my anger on the pillow, in a way where I could scream until I ran out of necessary air for my body to live on. The bed creaked as I made a movement, turning my body sideways since I was done with my behavior. Hot, pure, clear water came running down my face now, I let it flow willingly. Then, a miraculous thought had struck me. A thought I had once lost, but now was coming easily to mind now was forming. I ran quickly into the kitchen and opened a cabinet, getting out the gift from my mother-in-law from a year ago. A coffee making machine…

I added in some “I ran quickly”‘s (tellings) into it – but really, you can’t have a story completely of showings and no tellings. It just doesn’t work like that. That’s basically what the point of me writing that was to get across haha.

Also, I actually do remember having an assignment a year or so ago (I think) in some class where you have to do something like this –

1. Choose one of the following sentences.

A. The room was a mess.
B. He/She had a temper.
C. He/She was a kind person.
D. The dog looked dangerous.
E. He felt depressed.
F. She was a good listener.
G. She loved folk music
H. He was good at writing

2. Now, got your sentence? Pull out a piece of paper and write, “Telling: *Your sentence here*”

3. Skip a few lines, and now write, “Showing:”, and let your imagination go wild. Show that he was depressed, “He sat on the edge of his bed, the black window nearest to him putting a glare in his once cheerful blue eyes” Make sure your paragraph is at least five sentences.

And that’s basically how it goes. I know you’re surprised.

Now you’re wondering “Why am I supposed to be surprised..”

The answer is “Because I (Anathema) have not gone off topic for this whole blog post (I think..correct me if I’m wrong).

[Insert obscene word here] Now I just did with the three sentences above..

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