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Part 2: Point of View

Why Show, Don't Tell Advice Might Be Holding You Back

Part 2: Why Show, Don't Tell Advice Might Be Holding You Back Series - The Writer's Cabin

Level 1: The Foundation of Show, Don't Tell—POV

Most everyone here should have a firm grasp on POV, but if you do not, that's ok too. Do a quick google search, and you will catch up quickly.

Different POVs allow you to move the reader in different ways. Writing is all about manipulation. That might not sound good, but it's true. It's the writer's job to tap into the reader's emotions and twist and contort them to their will. Fiction is writing about and for human emotion. Without that, you have nothing.

Take some time to think about what POV choice will best allow you to evoke the emotions you need to.

What tone do you want your overall story to take on? Keep in mind POV is more than the tense of your story, but also who is telling it, when they are telling it, how they will tell it, and why.

Last time, we discussed Show, don't Tell and why popular advice falls short for most writers.

I introduced the Levels of Show, and in this part we are creating a foundation on which engaging writing can be built.

And I quickly outlined last time how Show all comes down to imagery. So for the remainder of this series, the terms Show vs. Tell will mean:

Strong Image vs. Weak Image

Thinking of Show vs. Tell this way may confuse some of you because of previously heard advice. In some instances, advice writers give examples of Showing that lack so much imagery they may as well be examples of Telling. Or, they give "Telling" examples that create a beautiful image.

But as we move through the series, try to remember that just because something doesn't follow the "rules" of Show you are accustomed to doesn't mean it isn't strong writing.

Because good writing happens on multiple levels, yes?

So here we are at the first of these levels: The POV.

This post will be pretty...obvious....relative to the others coming in this series because there is only one thing to say about Showing through POV, and I think most writers know this, at least in their subconscious.

And that is this:

POV is All About Emotion!

I said in the last post that a good image is physical, emotional, and psychological—sometimes even spiritual. When choosing a POV for your story, your first concern should be for the emotional.

Ask yourself these types of questions.