Fran Thoughts and Telling Instead of Showing

Show, don’t tell. Show, don’t tell. That’s the mantra that most writers write by. The Reader wants to feel like he or she is in the story. The Reader wants to be an invisible voyeur, but still have intimate relationships with the characters.

What I’m wondering is, can I write a story that tells instead of showing, and still end up with something people want to read?

That’s what I was trying to do when I wrote Francis Rhododendron and Humanity’s Great Return to the Sea. I didn’t want to use embellished prose. I didn’t want to go out of my way to try to “insert” the reader into the action. I wanted to say what was happening, and why. I wanted to zoom out a bit and just observe, maybe with a sarcastic or cynical spin to give it the necessary impact.

I decided to rely on the story itself to hold interest. I wanted the events to speak for themselves.

With any luck, FRaHGRttS will read like a humorous fictional history lesson.

I suppose it also bears repeating that this is the novella that my friend is illustrating, and that we’re going to release in (extremely short) episodes.

But still, I have doubts. Might just be jitters because every day is a day closer to the release (even though we haven’t even really settled on a date yet).

But I’m hoping that someone will care to opine. I’d like to know if anyone else thinks it’s possible to have a story that tells instead of showing, but is still enjoyable.

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6 responses to “Fran Thoughts and Telling Instead of Showing

  1. No traditionally published novel relies on telling. Telling has it’s uses to condense less-important info but a novel that’s largely telling will sink. “showing” doesn’t embellish the writing. It creates interesting story.

    • Thanks so much for the thoughts. I can definitely appreciate the value of showing, and I agree that it’s largely what creates an interesting story.

      Definitely makes me wonder whether this story will hold up. It’s certainly a peculiar brand.

  2. My opinion will count little since I haven’t read the work you are referring to, but yes most will tell you to show, don’t tell. HOWEVER, some things that shouldn’t work do, indeed, work. Sometimes it doesn’t just work, it’s pure genius. If you are satisfied with what you’ve written and it conveys the message you want, allow your readers to decide if you’ve done it up properly. If you have someone you trust to be a read/critique buddy, get them to take a look. My best advice to you is to develop thick skin. Anyone who tries to do something innovative, different, against the grain better be prepared to take the criticism, whether it’s truly warranted or simply a bunch of blowhards taking a ride on the traditional train of thought. Good luck!

    • It’s nice to hear that someone else thinks that, at least in theory, it could work. That makes me much less worried about my sanity. I like to think I’m thick-skinned, but I guess I won’t REALLY know until I start to take a bunch of flak for something.

      I think the story will appeal to a certain crowd. Finding that crowd is going to be the hard part.

      I’m all for innovation! Trying new things is the only way to have true progress, in my opinion.

      Thanks for the encouragement!

    • It’s an omniscient narrator. I’m loath to compare it to a history lesson too many times for fear that people will think I’m saying it’s boring, but that’s the closest comparison I can think of right now. Like a biased history lesson.

      Thanks for the comment!

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