“Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.”
- Theodore Roosevelt
Nothing says Polished Writing to agents and editors like showing rather than telling in your story.
But what exactly, does that mean?
Basically, this is a warning to the uninitiated writer who needs to be cautioned, “Resist the Urge to Explain”.
If you’ve ever had a critique or a contest entry returned to you with RUE in the margin, that note serves as a caution that your reader is smarter than you think. They trust us, and they get it, knowing when we share things the hero or the heroine doesn’t know or hasn’t quite figured out yet; we never need to explain it to them more than once.
Telling, which is essentially narrative summary or explaining, will slow the story down. Vivid description and adequate world building, regardless of genre, allows for the readers imagination to take your story to a whole new level of personal experience.
When you break from the story to explain to the reader how they should experience your story, you disengage them from the action and allow an opportunity for them to stop reading your book.
Showing rather than telling,–and Resisting the Urge to Explain–provides an unforgettable chapter or scene that encourages your readers to ask for more, to turn the page, start the next chapter or buy the next book.