Dead Squirrels

This Show, Don’t Tell post from Drunk Writer Talk is one of the clearest examples of what the ubiquitous writing advice ‘show, don’t tell’ actually means. The penultimate paragraph was so well stated that I’m reproducing it here:

Both women’s reactions really showed me something. Both were equally compassionate. Both felt terrible for the little squirrel. Ellen (who is one of the sweetest, most empathetic people you’d ever want to meet) was devastated and could hardly move. Deb (who is one of the most capable and pragmatic people you’d ever want to meet) was prepared to do what had to be done.

Two people demonstrate the same feeling in different ways that tell you something about their character.

I struggle sometimes with ‘show, don’t tell’. I get the what and why. I can see how a story can suffer from too much telling. What I don’t always get is the how and I think this post has really helped.

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