• Editing,  Style,  Writing

    Showing or Telling? A strategy for writers

    How do I know if I’m showing or telling? Does my writing have a good balance of narrative modes? Have I managed to avoid writing big chunks of backstory? If you need answers to these questions, keep reading!  In this episode of Showing and Telling Made Easy, we’re going to explore a practical strategy that will help you find answers. First, let’s recap the five tools, or narrative modes, fiction writers use to communicate their stories. They are: Action Dialogue Thought Description Exposition Action and dialogue are the tools most commonly used to show, but it doesn’t mean that thought, description and exposition should never be used. Each tool has…

  • Style,  Writing

    How to Handle Backstory in Fiction

    You. Must. Cut. Your. Backstory. How many times have you heard this? Plenty, I bet. Along with “show, don’t tell”, it’s one of the first things a writer learns. But it can be difficult to know how to handle backstory. You’re probably thinking that if you cut your character’s backstory, the reader won’t understand why your character behaves in a certain way and they’ll probably end up very confused. And you’d be right! But problems arise when you don’t know how to handle backstory. New writers tend to present it to the reader using exposition, one of those pesky writing tools we need to learn to use effectively or risk disengaging our readers. If you…

  • Style,  Writing

    How to Tell Effectively in Fiction

    Effective telling? But I’ve been told “show, don’t tell”—now you’re telling me I have to tell effectively? I’m so confused! Don’t be, dear reader. The first two episodes in this six-part blog series, Showing and Telling Made Easy, will give you the grounding you need to wrap your head around ‘telling effectively’. So far, we’ve covered 3 Reasons to Show Before You Tell and 5 Tools that Show and Tell in Fiction. Check them out if you haven’t already. So what do I mean by effective telling? Well, there are times when it’s acceptable, even necessary, to tell rather than show in fiction. But there’s telling that will put your readers to sleep—and then…

  • Style,  Writing

    5 Tools that Show and Tell in Fiction

    “I know I’m supposed to show rather than tell, but how do I do it? And when must I do it? Every new writer. Ever. Are you a fiction writer struggling to master how to show and when to tell your story? This episode of Showing and Telling Made Easy will take you back to basics as we take a close look at the tools fiction writers use to communicate their stories. To understand the difference between showing and telling, and the importance of showing before you tell, read episode one of Showing and Telling Made Easy—3 Reasons to Show Before You Tell. 5 Tools that Show and Tell When you sit down to put…

  • Style,  Writing

    3 Reasons to Show Before You Tell

    ‘Show, don’t tell.’ I know you’ve heard it before. It’s one of the first things a writer learns, the cardinal rule, the greatest commandment bestowed on us by the writing gods. So why have I titled this post: 3 Reasons to Show Before You Tell? Because there are times when it is acceptable for a writer to tell and not show. We’ll start to explore that in the next episode of this five-part series of Showing and Telling Made Easy. For now, it’s imperative to know what it means to show and tell in fiction, and why it’s a skill every writer needs to master. So, what does it mean to show and tell? Telling…