on showing & telling


I recently completed a pretty deep revision pass on my recent manuscript after some great suggestions from my agent. While plotting out how I wanted to get to the end product I envisioned, I struggled with the dreaded "info dump" and the idea of how to communicate this vast world I had built up in my mind.

Of course, I turned to craft books and wisdom from my CPs which led me to a big realization.

Sometimes, it's ok to tell. 

A lot of the issues I had in my story's setup was from a lack of clarity, which required good, old fashioned telling. Showing would've further muddled the narrative so that readers would be even more confused. And that's not a good look.

Character emotions? Show me that. Make me feel every feel and truly understand what the character is going through internally. Telling takes away from that.

Set up? Be straightforward and tell me what I need to know when it's relevant. Say the country has a monarchy and who the Queen is, be clear that there are three moons which means constant night. Especially if it is vital knowledge to the reader's understanding of the world. Losing vital information in extended metaphors and half answers only makes the narrative frustrating.

It's a small thing, and not always applicable, but telling crucial information can save the reader a lot of time and effort which they can then pour into loving your characters and story.