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Thread: Advice on Show vs Tell - the journey begins

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  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Apr 2018

    Red face Advice on Show vs Tell - the journey begins

    First off, hi to everyone :-) This will be my first post.

    Many beta readers who have critiqued the first chapter to my current project have expressed my bad habit of "telling" not "showing". I have recently come back to my writing after taking a few years break from it and I had not realized just how much I was "telling". So I came across this video, a kind writer sent to me, explaining the Pyramid of Abstraction. For anyone interested here is the link I personally find this Pyramid of Abstraction confusing. I think when I am done writing this post I will re-watch the video to write down the examples he gives to better the craft - maybe I take visual learner to the next level here. I was also given the recommendation to improv and act as if i am the character, to get a better grasp and understanding of the characters. Anyways, I have come to the realization that I am having quite a hard time "showing" the story, in a general sense, as I was unaware of "telling" the reader my story. To be honest, I am puling my hair out with it

    Where I believe I struggle the most, is that in fantasy, how can we "show" elements of a story where the reader has no idea exists until you "tell" them? For example, in my first chapter, I have a princess, who visits the palace gardens and is approached by a woman. Now, to add a sense of mystery, I purposely omit who she is, her history, her name, because she is mysterious not only to the main character but to the reader. I'd have to show the scene without giving off too much information about who she is. So, ok i don't have too much an issue with this. Where I struggle, would be more in the main character's physical description because she is an alien and looks different to us but it is more than normal for her. Later in chapter two, I realized I had two paragraphs of back story that are detrimental to the plot full of "tellings" because I did not want to get into a flash back which is not recommended to do in the beginning of a story.

    Yea, I know, this is a bit of a rant hahaha! But I was curious how some other writers, such as yourselves, tackle your own show vs tells, and how you overcome them. maybe any resources or strategies you use to help you along, like for example the Pyramid of Abstraction?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this!
    Last edited by Yandiel; 04-15-2018 at 02:54 AM.

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