Thursday, April 7, 2011

Guest Post with Author Mila Ramos


Showing vs. Telling

Hi all,

Mila Ramos here of the and I come to you with an interesting tale of woe. Sounds Shakespearian but it isn’t, it’s just a case of the frustrations.

So lately I’ve had to revisit this annoying little problem I fall into, I think every author has this problem. You start at one part where you know what you want to say but you accidentally fall into the rut of telling what is going on instead of showing what is going on in the scene.

How much is too much? Well this is what I saw that really made me rethink something’s and check again what I have written so far. I hope it helps some of you out there.

Showing vs. Telling
The key to effective observing [and to narrative writing] is to show your reader the person, place, event, or object through specific detail. Good description allows the reader to draw general conclusions based on specific detail. Rather than just telling a reader, "This bicycle has good technical components," the writer should show or describe how it feels as she rides it. If your reader is going to learn from your observations, you need to give the exact details that you learned from, not just your conclusions or generalizations.

Even in writing, experience is the best teacher, so use specific details to communicate the feel, the data, the sights and sounds and smells. Whether you are a tourist describing the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, a salesperson analyzing consumer preferences for your boss, a physicist presenting data on a new superconducting material to other physicists, or a social worker putting together the details of a child-abuse case, your first task is to describe your subject--to show your readers, to make them see. [Reid, The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers, 4th ed. 49I]

What I really love about is that it really is easy to do but hard when it comes down to actually doing some times. People do not realize what has been occurring until they go back and actually look at their work.

Amazing huh?

Today when I did the usual writing this is pretty much how it felt on this end. Feel what the character is feeling, feel as the character do and learn to switch in the omniscient presence. I like that, and more so that it hits the point to make sure you show it instead of telling it.

Has anyone had those similar problems? How do you combat the very tricky showing vs. telling within writing? How do you readers feel about when an author is writing in one tense telling but you wish they were more in the showing tense?

Well I hope everyone out there has enjoyed this little trip and please keep an eye out as I go on a virtual book tour in the month of April. For more details as to my stops please drop by my blog (, there will be prizes and various little goodies depending on the stop.

This anthology contains 4 different paranormal stories

Keep Writing.


Find her at:

Short blurbs:

A curious invitation mystifies acclaimed movie critic Moira Castle as she returns home to face hidden memories and answers she's not ready to hear or feel.

The Seventh Legend:
A children's tune states the key. A children's story holds the clues. Millennium has passed for the justice to be served.

The Watchers:
Watchers are sworn to uphold the Sacred Draleigh Coven. Selene is their Enforcer and Protector. Yet the Coven never prepared her for one thing – Michael.

Smoke and Mirrors:
Ana Fiore and Dakota Hastings are rival doctors vying for Chief of Staff position. Snowed-in at a conference, the doctors must face their pasts and feelings.

Please stop by her site, to read more and check out all of her books.


Denise K. Rago said...

I agree Mila. Showing vs telling is one of the keys to good writing.
Thank you.

Gabby said...

It's good advice! Especially for a budding writer like myself, but how would I know that I was telling more than showing.

Is it just something you can tell when your looking over your work?

Mila said...

Hey there Gabby,

Best advice I can give you as to knowing the difference is when you leave your manuscript for a while and you come back to it, does it sound like a set of instructions? Or is it your emotions on that page?

I've attached a great page for you that gives brilliant examples. I refer to it constantly, when writing.

I hope it helps!

Mila said...

Hi there Denise,

You are very welcome, I think those writers that can suck you into a book and keep you there, has this ability down like an art.

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