Another quick look at Show versus Tell

One of the pieces of advice frequently told to writers, particularly new writers, is to show what happens rather than telling what happens. It comes out in all sorts of ways. Things like “show me the frost on the grass rather than just say it’s cold”. Problem is, a lot of writing needs the tell component – it’s a kind of short-hand really and doing so for less important aspects of the story can help keep its pace up.

But sometimes you come across an example of show that can exceed what novice writers think is possible.

The following is a music video from a Korean group. Never mind if you can’t understand Korean. In fact, it works better here if you don’t because it tells a powerful story in five-and-a-half minutes with almost no words. Yes the song is actually relevant, but that’s beside the point.

I dare you to not feel the emotion.

1 Comment

Filed under storytelling

One response to “Another quick look at Show versus Tell

  1. I think it’s quite difficult to find the balance between the ‘showing’ and the ‘telling’ aspects of writing. When I read books I like to ‘see’ the story behind the words which can only be achieved if the author shows me her world, but then again with too much imagery the pace, as you suggested, does tend to falter.

    I loved the Korean video, you were absolutely right about the powerful story – it’s interesting how different the music videos in different cultures are. I used to watch a tonne of Japanese music videos (as well as the odd Korean) and although they don’t always appear to have a story behind them, they often do and it’s fascinating to look into. It helps to understand the language too, but, like you said, that’s besides the point.

    Lovely post!


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