Show us the Character

Next up: Giving Characters a Life Beyond the Plot

Main Points:

  • Remember, SHOW, don’t TELL, especially when describing your characters. This is a principle even the most skilled writers constantly need to keep in mind.
  • Example of telling: “Bruce hated puppies.”
  • Example of showing: “Bruce kicked the puppy” or “Bruce scowled at the sound of dog’s barking.”
  • Dialogue is inherently more “show” than “tell” because it’s happening in scene rather than in someone’s thoughts. But beware the “maid and butler” syndrome where characters discuss things they already know.
  • Remember the pyramid of abstraction: concrete details will keep you reader in the world of the story while abstract ones will push them out of it.