on Helping Writers become Authors:
When looking for a new book to read, there are a couple quick tests I do to determine whether it seems like I can trust the author to know what they’re doing all book long. The first and most important of these tests usually requires just a quick glance across the first page to see whether the author demonstrates a grasp of “show, don’t tell.”
Show, don’t tell is one of the most basic principles of narrative fiction. Defined in a nutshell, it is the technique that allows readers to experience the events of the story, rather than observing them. Showing readers what’s happening involves active verbs that evoke all the senses. Showing invites readers to inhabit the context of the story with the subtext of their own imaginations.