Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I've been noticing lately some books and some magazines have a lot of telling in their stories. One short story magazine I'd really like to publish in has a huge amount of telling and narrative in its stories. I'd estimate the showing is about 10%. They often end ambiguously as well.
Literary and "mainstream" fiction also seem to involve a lot of telling. I recently read The Time in Between by Maria Duenas. It was very good, but it involved a lot of telling, summarizing the story, rather than showing us the story. Speaking of summarizing, it is the story of Sira, a young woman in humble circumstances living in Spain at the time of the Spanish civil war and World War II, and who must do some surprising things to survive. The title refers to those who live without history taking note of their lives. Like all good fiction, this novel raises questions like: What is the point of life? How would I act and react in such dire circumstances? etc. This novel covers a lot of historical ground, so telling is totally appropriate.
I guess my point is: take 'show, don't tell' with a grain of salt. Do your market research. Some markets desire telling and some do not.

How about you? Do you like to show? or tell?
Have you read any good books lately?

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