Show, don’t tell

I’m sure most of my English teachers said it, but I only actually remember it from one. She said it constantly.

And it’s true – when conveying something in the form of a message, or a movie, or a feature story – the real beauty comes from letting the audience experience it for themselves.

If I tell you that someone is an arrogant asshole, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Or I could show you, as in this excerpt from a fiction story I wrote:

Alan’s kidneys were screaming. He slid around the side of the garage and relieved himself on the bushes, aiming for the sleeping butterflies.

This alone may not say much. I’m sure you can be a butterfly sniper with your pork sword (thanks Juno) without being a full-fledged a-hole.

But it’s showing stuff like this that adds up to telling good stories.

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