How to Show, Not Tell: The Complete Writing Guide

Diane Callahan

Duration: 28m

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekov

Writers often have different definitions of “showing” and “telling.” I define “telling” as any time in the story when an important moment lacks depth in terms of detail or narrative voice. However, telling can also be an excellent tool for controlling the story’s pacing and delivering important information.

In this video, I’ll explore the origins of this advice and why “showing” appeals to audiences on an emotional level. Using examples from popular works and advice from published authors, I’ll outline six strategies you can employ to produce stronger writing:

1. Use evidence to support your claims.

2. Replace the abstract with the concrete.

3. Substitute vague descriptions with specific sensory details.

4. Avoid relying too much on body language.

5. Show emotion through dialogue.

6. Filter observations through the narrative voice.

Diane Callahan
Quotidian Writer

Hi there! My name is Diane Callahan. I am a developmental editor of fiction manuscripts and a writer of fantasy/sci-fi stories. This channel is dedicated to providing practical tips for aspiring authors and encouraging discussion about the literary arts.