Monday, April 6, 2009

Show vs. Tell - A Good Life Lesson

The cardinal rule of storytelling is show don't tell. On my website (, the quote for this month is, "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." by Anton Chekhov

Today on Rachelle Gardner's blog, she discusses how a query letter represents the writer. She closes by saying, "Let your words SHOW the editor or agent the greatness of your project, don't try to TELL them how great it is."

Isn't that an excellent lesson for life in general?

Don't just tell someone you're a good person, show them by holding open a door, allowing them to step ahead of you in line, or even engaging in polite conversation when you'd rather look at your shoes or play with your mobile phone.

I won't drop the very appropriate cliche about actions and words (even though I'm dying to), but go and do something kind tomorrow. Be generous. Live outside yourself. You never know, you may wind up with wonderful scene for your next book.

Thanks for reading.


  1. How funny is that? I just posted about the same thing! Great minds....

  2. Thanks for the post! Relating show vs. tell to everyday life situations was a nice change for the day.

  3. Actions speak much louder than words....

  4. Seems to be the subject on everyone's mind lately!