Dazzle the Reader: Why “Show, Don’t Tell” is a Crock [Steve Almond]
“Show, don’t tell” is a well-worn cornerstone of creative writing workshops, a slogan cited like scripture. It also might be the single most destructive piece of advice aspiring writers ever receive. In this freewheeling session, participants will look at concrete examples of how the “show, don’t tell” mantra often wreaks havoc on writers’ storytelling by creating confusion, sapping their prose of suspense, and causing them to write disjointed scenes. In short, how “show, don’t tell” leaves readers bewildered rather than dazzled. The workshop will offer a much more useful creed: Tell the reader just enough to feel what they’re being shown. Participants will also complete writing exercises in class to bring the lessons home.