Showing and Telling || A short explanation

Showing and telling are two elements in a novel that are necessary.

Showing:

Showing refers to a form of writing that reveals the events of a story as they are happening. Thus, allowing the readers to create their own judgements on what they are perceiving.

For example: The cat peers around the corner, scanning the hallway for movement. Her eyes suddenly freeze. The small, brown mouse scurries towards the gap under the front door. The cat leaps into the air and dashes towards the mouse, but not before he was able to swiftly escape into the outside world. The cat hung her head, walking to the living room. She jumps on the couch and curls into a ball until, all that can be heard, is her gentle snoring.

Showing is necessary in a novel to engage the readers within a story. It captures their attention and leaves readers wanting to know more. Through showing, the readers are encouraged to ask questions and make predictions as to what could possibly happen next. Showing is particularly used when the author wants to progress the story further and can be written in both present and past tense. It does not explain to the reader what is happening and, instead, allows the events to unfold for the reader allowing them to experience it for themselves.

Telling:

Telling refers to a form of writing that explains and recounts an event that has happened. It usually tells the reader what to think and what the event means.

For example: The cat was looking for the mouse that she had seen earlier. She felt it was her duty to keep her house safe from unwanted visitors. She finally saw him running towards the front door. Unfortunately, the cat was not quick enough and the mouse escaped. The cat felt disappointed and wished she could go outside and find him. Instead,  she went into the living room and slept on the couch.

Telling is necessary to help readers fill in the blanks and understand an event that has happened. It allows a clear way of explaining to the readers worlds, situations and people that can not be presented in a showing format.

In terms of world building, telling can set up and explain to readers what exactly they can expect from the novel they are reading. This is usually done through description and informing. This tends to answer the question of location and genre. Are they in a dystopic world or a place like our current society? 

For events, the author may need to tell the reader about a situation that has already happened. It does not need to be seen but is necessary to know about for the plot. This usually entails a recount with some after thoughts from the character or narrator.

People are usually described to the readers in a telling format. ‘Lilly has blonde hair and blue eyes. She always says please and thank you and is always willing to lend a helping hand.’ Telling presents to the reader, the protagonist’s view of the people that are around them.

Telling is mostly told in a past tense, however can be told in a present tense as well.


You will hear from many teachers that it is best to show rather than tell. This, in most cases, is true; however, it is best to remember to do whatever your story needs. Do not hold back from telling if you really need to explain something to your readers, but do not get carried away as they can lose interest if there are pages and pages of explanation and not enough progression.

‘1984’ by George Orwell, is an example of a story where there are clear examples of both showing and telling.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment.

Different Bookworms

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Everyone is a different type of bookworm. Which one are you?

 

The Procrastinator:

The procrastinator is the type of bookworm who loves to visit bookshops and buy as many books as their hearts desire, despite having a million books at home they haven’t read or finished.

The procrastinator rushes home to display all their new books on their bookshelves, bedside tables and even on the floor. Looking around they smile to themselves and try to decide what they should read first. After an hour of contemplation, they resort to book roulette where they close their eyes and point at any random book. Opening the book, they read the first page and yawn before closing the book and moving onto another activity. The procrastinator requires action and excitement. They need to be completely invested in their book or else they will lose interest and stop reading.

If you are this type of Bookworm and you want to stop the cycle of procrastination, here are some recommendations of books you should be able to finish with little to no procrastination stops. Tip: It helps to start with a smaller book and work your way up to the larger ones when you are this type of bookworm.

  • The Chronicles of Narnia- C.S Lewis
  • Holes- Louis Sacher
  • Girl interrupted- Susanna Kaysen
  • Winter’s Shadow- M.J Hearle
  • Harry Potter- J.K Rowling

 

The Multitasker:

The multitasker, is the type of bookworm who can read three or more books at once. They tend to switch books due to boredom, a change in pace and curiosity. They have the ability to be as invested in multiple books as a normal reader would be in one book. They find it incredibly tempting to keep starting new books, in hopes of finding the sense of adventure they crave so much.

They glance at the many books spread out all over their bed, each with a carefully placed bookmark. The multitasker immediately sets out to work as they pick up the book nearest them and begin to read. After half an hour, the story begins to slow its plot into a more stable position. The multitasker begins to grow slightly bored as their eyes wonder to a new book on the shelf. Immediately a bookmark is placed and a new story begins.

If you are this type of Bookworm and you want to stop the cycle of multitasking and be 100% invested in one book, here are some recommendations:

  • Blood Red Road (The Dustlands Trilogy)- Moira Young
  • Delirium (Delirium Trilogy)-  Lauren Oliver
  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas- John Boyne
  • Legend (Legend trilogy)- Marie Lu

 

The Speed Reader:

The speed reader, is the type of Bookworm that can read a whole series within a day or two. They are able to read this fast as they are so captivated in the story it doesn’t even seem like reading. The speed reader can usually be captivated in any story so long as it is interesting. They tend to have full shelves of book both physically and electronically.

They have just finished the whole Harry Potter series. Glancing at their phone/watch, they realise they have successfully entertained themselves for the day. Their pride slowly fades as they glance around at the many books they have finished repeatedly. They have a need for something new. Immediately they rush to their phone and research different books until they find the one.

If you are this type of Bookworm and you want to have a book to read that occupies your time, here are some recommendations.

  • The Hobbit/ The Lord of the Rings series- J.R.R Tolkien
  • Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Gone with the wind- Margaret Mitchell

 

The Soulmate:

The soulmate, is the type of Bookworm who sticks to one book or series until they have completely finished it. After completion they would then wait an appropriate amount of time before moving on to the next book.

They are nearing the end of the book, they can feel it. With every turn of the page, their right hand has less to hold until finally, they turn the last page. They are overcome with a sense of denial. “No wait this can’t be it, this can’t be how it ends.” What follows is 10 minutes of researching whether there are any more books left in the series, even a spin-off would do. When they discover there is no more and that what they read really was the end, they are then overcome with anger. How can that be the end? It left so much answered.

Next comes bargaining. This can range anywhere from tweeting the author and attempting to bribe them into writing another book, to screaming in their pillow offering their life for just one more book.

Once that stage is finished comes the immense sadness and questioning. What happened to these characters? We will never know. There is no point in dwelling on what could have happened, the bookworm knows this.

Instead they are be glad it happened that they were able to go on that adventure in the first place. Which comes to the final stage, acceptance, until they repeat the process again with another book.

If you are this type of Bookworm and you want to read a book that finalises everything and doesn’t leave you with questions, here are some recommendations:

  • The Outsiders- S.E. Hinton
  • Tuck Everlasting- Natalie Babbitt
  • Bridge to Terabithia- Katherine Paterson
  • The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • 1984- George Orwell

 

Thanks for reading!  Tell us which Bookworm you are in the comments.

Book Review|| 1984 by George Orwell

Book cover of 1984 by george Orwell

War is Peace.

Freedom is Slavery.

Ignorance is Strength.

1984 is a book everyone has read … at least, it seems like it is.

I was never really interested in reading it because it was a HSC prescribed text (this meant it was a book some students had to read for their final exams of high school.) Thus meaning, there was a good chance it was going to be boring. My friend finally convinced me to read it when he said, “how can you claim to love the dystopic genre but have never read 1984?” So, I borrowed his annotated copy and began reading.

At the beginning, I was very excited to read it due to the hype my friend had created around the story. Orwell has a way with words that most authors can only dream about. He is able to make the simplest of sentences sound magnificent, especially his contradicting slogan: War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength, which can be said backwards as well.

However, as I delved deeper into the book, I was quickly losing interest. It wasn’t because the story was boring, in fact, I found it really interesting. It was due to the structure in which Orwell had written it. There was a constant switching between a story telling format and an essay writing format.

You would be captivated in the story Orwell is presenting when all of a sudden, he would start analysing and explaining everything in the story for pages and pages, rather than showing this to the reader and allowing the reader to create their own judgements. In most stories you would slowly be revealed all the answers, but Orwell shows all his cards as soon as he is able to. If this was intentional by Orwell, telling the readers how to think rather than allowing them to see for themselves in order to replicate the control of Big Brother, though overdone was effective. Whether this was intentional, this form of storytelling tended to overshadow the story and I yearned for the parts of the book that were pure showing rather than explaining.

During the book, I told my friend I was bored and felt like I was reading an essay on the book rather than the book itself. He kept saying “wait till Part III.” Finally, I got to Part III and Orwell had done what I wish he had done for the whole book. He stopped analysing, stopped explaining and just let the story and its events unfold for the reader.

Despite this, I did enjoy the story and I felt Orwell utilised the potential of his world well. The ending I loved because (spoiler alert) I had not yet seen a dystopic book that did not end in an uprising or with some dramatic change, but rather in a way where it seems all was for nothing. That is, until I read the appendix at the end of the book. The appendix is something most readers would skip since the story is over and there would most likely not be anything interesting in an essay about newspeak. That’s where everyone is wrong! The appendix is written in past tense in the voice of a historian who implies, in many sections of the appendix, that Big Brother eventually fell when the Party attempted to eliminate speech and therefore free thought. This means that though our characters, Winston and Julia, did not have a happy ending, it was not in vain because eventually, after the year 2050, the party did in fact fall. Whether this ruins the ending or makes it better for readers is entirely subjective. Personally, I preferred the original ending rather than what is said in the appendix.

Final thoughts:

I would like to make it clear that I did love 1984 when the story was progressing. It was only when Orwell began explaining the book that I felt disinterested and disconnected. I do feel it is a book everyone should read at least once.

If I were Orwell, I would have divided 1984 into three books.

Book 1: “1984.” The original story of 1984 without the analysis, the explanation and Goldstein’s “The Theory and practice of oligarchical collectivism.” 1984 would be the exact same story except the whole story would have been like Part III

Book 2:  “Goldstein’s, The Theory and practice of oligarchical collectivism.” This would be the entire book that Goldstein gave Winston when he joined the rebellion (This book is in 1984 already but would have been much clearer for the story and Goldstein’s book if it was separated)

Book 3: “1984, An Analysis” All the analysis and explanation into a proper essay.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment.

Hello!

Row of books

Welcome to my new blog!

Here you will find everything to do with books.

The image you see featured on this post are some of the books that I own. I recently bought a new bookshelf, so I am in the process of buying new books and organising the ones I have. These are the books I had prior to the new bookshelf. Hopefully in the future I can show you a more completed collection, but for now please enjoy this snippet of what is to come.