View Full Version : Too Telling

01-02-2008, 05:00 PM
Hello all,

It's me again. Stupid question, but I need help with the term "too telling".

- Does this mean too much information for the reader?
- Does this mean,...Heck, I don't know.

Devil Ledbetter
01-02-2008, 06:02 PM
It probably means you are telling more than showing.

Telling =

He asked her to have sex with him. She turned him down.

Showing =
He squeezed her hand. “I want you, babe.”

“People in hell want Klondike bars.”

Most readers find showing more rewarding to read.

Calla Lily
01-02-2008, 06:26 PM
He squeezed her hand. “I want you, babe.”

“People in hell want Klondike bars.”


01-02-2008, 06:35 PM
In addition to the tell-versus-show definition, if someone's saying your work is too telling, it could also mean that your characters (or the author pulling their strings) is being too emotionally open, revealing thoughts or feelings that real people would hide.

Maryn, whose characters usually play it pretty close to the vest

01-02-2008, 06:36 PM
Thanks Fellow AWers.

This helps a lot

01-02-2008, 06:38 PM
In my original MS, I was told the whole piece read like a social services document. I wasn't inviting anyone in to share my experience. Like Devil says (not my choice for an example lol)

01-02-2008, 08:29 PM
It could also mean, you're explaining too much to the reader. Which equates to not having enough respect for the reader.

Like when two characters who, despite having witnessed the same event from the same vantage point, and having the same background information, suddenly turn to one another and explain what they saw.

"Yes, I saw when he opened his back-pack, too, Ray. That was YOUR lunch box in there. He must have stolen it from your locker."