History Main / ShowDontTell

11th Mar '18 11:05:26 PM DragonQuestZ
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* To '''tell''' that she is a badass, the narrator, Alice herself and/or other characters around her would [[FauxActionGirl merely state that fact]]. For instance, they might report on previous incidents that have happened in the past and/or "offscreen" while the other characters were busy. Or maybe there'll be no support for the statement whatsoever, but that's unlikely ("Hey, did you hear about the badass things Alice did the other day?" "No, I didn't." "Well, they sure were badass!" *[[ChirpingCrickets crickets]]*). In particularly {{egregious}} works, the narrator may state that Alice is a badass, even going so far as to include list of badass things she did, and then [[InformedAbility never mention it again]] or--taking the cake here--''not have her act badass'' when the option is available.

If you're using a story structure or {{Point of View}} that doesn't include a narrator (such as limited third-person, in which you only see into the head of one character), showing is a far better idea, if only because having a narrator suddenly show up just to tell this stuff would break the reader's {{Willing Suspension of Disbelief}}. It's even more important in a visual medium, since people don't tend to [[ThatMakesMeFeelAngry say precisely what they're thinking or how they feel about it]] for a hypothetical audience's benefit; watching [[AsYouKnow two characters discuss the details of something they both already know]] rather than making economical use of a flashback to when one or both ''didn't'' know is extremely poor storytelling.

This also relates to sentence-by-sentence writing decisions that have more to do with an author's language and word choice than anything else. In general, something happens in every sentence written. Is the author merely stating those events, or describing them? "Alice was angry and upset over Bob's death" is the telling version of "Alice's heart raced as her husband slumped to the floor, blood gushing from his throat." One of these two sentences has slightly more dramatic power, and it's for reasons of impact that showing is generally advocated over telling.

Now this line is sometimes quoted as an absolute gospel truth, which is not really true. It's certainly a good habit to get into (particularly in character writing; nobody likes being ''told'' what they're supposed to think of someone), but it's not an ironclad rule, and knowing when to break it to quickly explain minor details is a major aspect of learning to write. One of the best times to Tell something instead of Show it is when you want to summarize lots of events—the written equivalent of a TimePassesMontage. Some times, one might Show so much that it becomes TooMuchInformation.

to:

* To '''tell''' that she is a badass, the narrator, Alice herself and/or other characters around her would [[FauxActionGirl merely state that fact]]. For instance, they might report on previous incidents that have happened in the past and/or "offscreen" while the other characters were busy. Or maybe there'll be no support for the statement whatsoever, but that's unlikely ("Hey, did you hear about the badass things Alice did the other day?" "No, I didn't." "Well, they sure were badass!" *[[ChirpingCrickets crickets]]*). In particularly {{egregious}} works, the narrator may state that Alice is a badass, even going so far as to include list of badass things she did, and then [[InformedAbility never mention it again]] or--taking the cake here--''not have her act badass'' when the option is available.

crickets]]*).

If you're using a story structure or {{Point of View}} that doesn't include a narrator (such as limited third-person, in which you only see into the head of one character), showing is usually a far better idea, if only because having a narrator suddenly show up just to tell this stuff would break the reader's {{Willing Suspension of Disbelief}}. It's even more important in a visual medium, since people don't tend to [[ThatMakesMeFeelAngry say precisely what they're thinking or how they feel about it]] for a hypothetical audience's benefit; watching [[AsYouKnow two characters discuss the details of something they both already know]] rather than making economical use of a flashback to when one or both ''didn't'' know is extremely poor storytelling.

This also relates to sentence-by-sentence writing decisions that have more to do with an author's language and word choice than anything else. In general, something happens in every sentence written. Is the author merely stating those events, or describing them? "Alice was angry and upset over Bob's death" is the telling version of "Alice's heart raced as "As her husband slumped to the floor, with blood gushing from his throat.throat, Alice's heart raced and she chocked back tears." One of these two sentences has slightly more dramatic power, and it's for reasons of impact that showing is generally advocated over telling.

Now '''Now this line is sometimes quoted as an absolute gospel truth, which is not really true. true.''' It's certainly a good habit to get into (particularly in character writing; nobody likes being ''told'' what they're supposed to think of someone), but it's not an ironclad rule, and knowing when to break it to quickly explain minor details is a major aspect of learning to write. One of the best times to Tell something instead of Show it is when you want to summarize lots of events—the written equivalent of a TimePassesMontage. Some times, one might Show so much that it becomes TooMuchInformation.
TooMuchInformation.

It should also be noted that '''action is not the same as showing, and dialog is not the same as telling'''. If characters are having a conversation, things can be revealed, but the way they are revealed, and how others react, can be a form of showing. Conversely we could see characters doing their job, but nothing else is revealed, so while we are shown characters have employment, it would not show much else about the character.
11th Mar '18 10:56:09 PM DragonQuestZ
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%%* {{Exposition}}

to:

%%* {{Exposition}}* {{Exposition}}: Dialog informs other characters, and also the audience, of key information.



* HollywoodPudgy: Alice is of ideal or slightly below ideal weight, has broad shoulders, and has round cheeks. Alice is fat.

to:

* HollywoodPudgy: Alice is of ideal or slightly below ideal weight, has broad shoulders, and has round cheeks. Characters act as though Alice is fat.
11th Mar '18 8:59:11 PM CaptainCrawdad
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** HollywoodPudgy: Alice is of ideal or slightly below ideal weight, has broad shoulders, and has round cheeks. Alice is fat.
* InformedAttribute: We are told that Alice is smart/funny/ugly/pretty/a vampire, but we never see any evidence for this.

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** * HollywoodPudgy: Alice is of ideal or slightly below ideal weight, has broad shoulders, and has round cheeks. Alice is fat.
* InformedAttribute: We are told that Alice is smart/funny/ugly/pretty/a vampire, but we never see any evidence for this. Subsets include:
25th Aug '17 7:04:26 PM JRSL88
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Added DiffLines:

* EsotericHappyEnding: When the author thinks the story ends on a happy note.
22nd Jul '17 8:37:52 PM Jeduthun
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Added DiffLines:

* AndSomeOtherStuff: We're told that the characters made something dangerous, but the ingredients aren't shown, to prevent [[TooDumbToLive idiots]] from [[DontTryThisAtHome trying this at home]].
31st May '17 5:57:19 PM BunnyStar
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* InformedAttribute: We are told that Alice is smart/funny/ugly/pretty/can turn into a bat, but we never see any evidence for this.

to:

* InformedAttribute: We are told that Alice is smart/funny/ugly/pretty/can turn into a bat, smart/funny/ugly/pretty/a vampire, but we never see any evidence for this.
4th Feb '17 9:16:28 AM Josef5678
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Added DiffLines:

* Administrivia/JustAFaceAndACaption: Images for tropes should ''show'' the trope being used, rather than just have the caption tell how the trope is used in the image.
4th Jan '17 8:24:19 AM justanid
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!!Tropes:

to:

!!Tropes:!Tropes:
28th Oct '16 6:00:20 AM Hjortron18
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[[quoteright:164:[[Webcomic/SluggyFreelance http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/donttellus.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:164:Unless, of course, you are [[LampshadeHanging Lampshading it]] [[PlayedForLaughs for laughs.]]]]



[[quoteright:164:[[Webcomic/SluggyFreelance http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/donttellus.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:164:Unless, of course, you are [[LampshadeHanging Lampshading it]] [[PlayedForLaughs for laughs.]]]]
21st Oct '16 10:08:52 PM Josef5678
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For example, say Alice is a {{Badass}}:

to:

For example, say Alice is a {{Badass}}:
badass:
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.ShowDontTell