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Author Topic: "Show don't tell". Always good advice?  (Read 20789 times)

DKT

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Reply #60 on: April 20, 2007, 04:31:19 PM
Oh yeah, I get what you're saying about wasting time -- you need to be efficient.  I've got no problem with info-dumps and world building (apologies to M. John Harrison), as long as it's done well.  It's just the "I felt like you were showing, and not telling enough" comment was a new one for a rejection.  Usually, it's the other way around.


SFEley

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Reply #61 on: April 20, 2007, 07:14:03 PM
I don't think it's an unreasonable rejection. Michael Swanwick told us at CW that he thinks there's a real trick in knowing what information to just lay out flat. If your character's a time traveling lesbian vampire (as was the case in the story we were discussing), just say it in the first sentence. If you have to waste 10 pages expositing that, that's ten pages the action doesn't happen.

Depends.  If it's a ten-page vampire lesbian sex scene in the Roman baths, perhaps that's exactly when you want to show and not tell.  >8->

(If you are writing that sort of story.  I am sure it's possible to write a non-erotic time traveling lesbian vampire story...but why?)

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Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #62 on: April 20, 2007, 07:21:22 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Sisters-Lesbian-Vampire-Tales/dp/1555838839

(The story I wrote for the anthology -- which was not about time travel, I fear -- was declined. It's in Cthulhu Sex 13.)



SFEley

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Reply #63 on: April 20, 2007, 08:43:21 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Sisters-Lesbian-Vampire-Tales/dp/1555838839
(The story I wrote for the anthology -- which was not about time travel, I fear -- was declined. It's in Cthulhu Sex 13.)

Clearly you just need to rewrite it with some time travel, then go back to 2005 and get it accepted.  >8->

...
...

(Jots down sudden fully-formed story idea)

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BlairHippo

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Reply #64 on: April 27, 2007, 06:50:03 PM
Ah, nothing like the urge to answer a question two months after it was asked....

While "Show, Don't Tell" can be carried too far, I think it gets bandied about so much because it's the antidote to a bad habit a lot of writers, particularly beginners, seem to fall into.  Either extreme can and will bring your story to a grinding halt, but I've seen an excess of Tell a lot more than I've seen an excess of Show.



JaredAxelrod

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Reply #65 on: May 02, 2007, 07:06:42 PM
While "Show, Don't Tell" can be carried too far, I think it gets bandied about so much because it's the antidote to a bad habit a lot of writers, particularly beginners, seem to fall into.  Either extreme can and will bring your story to a grinding halt, but I've seen an excess of Tell a lot more than I've seen an excess of Show.

Good point; I don't think I've ever read a book and thought, "Y'know, this writer "shows" too much, I'm bored."
« Last Edit: May 02, 2007, 07:09:43 PM by JaredAxelrod »