By | Giugno 7, 2018


Today I want to talk about the difference between Showing and Telling.

scrittissimo come scrivere un libro, un romanzo, un raccontoBut before starting this lesson there’s something I want to tell you. This article is the translation in English language of another article written by myself in Italian and titled: Differenza tra Mostrare e Raccontare”.

So I do apologize in advance for any translation error, for any English grammar error and for any syntax error. So, let’s go forward with this lesson!

showing and telling: differences

Differences between Showing and Telling

Is it better to show or is it better to tell? Well… this is one of the most debated dilemmas in the world of Narrative Writing and Fiction Writing.

Before answering this question, I want to clarify the difference between Telling and Showing.

Telling means providing an explanation in words of a situation, of a Character, of an action, of an object, without leaving too much room to the imagination of the Reader.

difference between tone and style


Mario is a very tall man.

In this simple phrase the Narrator clearly explains (tells) the Mario’s height.

Now take a look at this example:

Mario tilted his head to pass through the door and enter the room.

In this second case the Narrator uses the device Showing because he allows the Reader to extract information from the text without being explicitly written.

In plain words, the Narrator shows to the Reader Mario’s height by means of an action.

These two examples make the device Showing looks better than the device Telling.

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This is not true! Simply Showing or Telling find the correct use in accordance with the different Narrative Modes.

This means that Telling is more suitable for informational Narrative Mode as Summary, Description or Exposition.

Instead, Showing is more suitable for operational Narrative Mode as Reflection, Dialogue and Action.

All this, once again, in order to impart rhythm to the Narrative and to develop in the best possible way the different Narrative Conflicts and the various Narrative Lines.

If you want to learn more about the Narrative Mode and the difference between them, I invite you to read the article published on Scrittissimo and entitled “Le sei Modalità Narrative“.

That’s all for today!

See you soon on the next lesson on Scrittissimo.

Bye Bye


Author & Admin of SCRITTISSIMO: ideas, techniques and tips to write a Novel, a Tale, a Story.