Show and Tell: Classic Writing Advice Explained With Strippers

This is one of my favorite bloggers. She doesn’t interact much, but her blog is always good. Writers out there might appreciate this one today.

Bare Knuckle Writer

Aside from “do better“, my most common editing note to myself is that classic bit of writer advice, “show, don’t tell.”

And, like most classic bits of advice–see my diatribe on “write what you know” here– it’s often misunderstood. It doesn’t mean you should never tell the reader things. Just that, if there’s another way, consider doing that before falling back on the good ol’ tell. Because showing is more inviting.

To put it another way, you’re trying to titillate the reader, give them a reason to continue reading. And titillation events are called peepshows, not peeptells.

I will illustrate the difference in the traditional manner: with strippers.

Imagine it’s your birthday. Imagine your friends have hired two strippers. The first arrives, drops his* pants, and then stands in the middle of the room while Depeche Mode plays for twenty minutes. He doesn’t…

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3 responses to “Show and Tell: Classic Writing Advice Explained With Strippers

  1. That was the best reason for show vs. tell I’ve read yet! Thanks for sharing! 😀


    • I don’t see her Gravatar showing up anywhere, so she’s not real interactive, but her blog is awesome. It was a great example. I’ve struggled with show/tell for years. I still struggle with it, but a good example helps.


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