Editing the first draft: Show VS Tell and Infodumps.
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Editing the first draft: Show VS Tell and Infodumps.

Editing the first draft: Show VS Tell and Infodumps.


Show VS Tell


Editing the first draft: Show VS Tell and Infodumps. We heard it all before show don’t tell. Even though, when you open a classic, you’ll notice that the style back in the day, was told, not show and some of those classics are best books ever written. Since we advanced so did writing.


Editing the first draft: Show VS Tell and Infodumps.


This is a common writer mistake especially, by writers who are starting out. As I said in the previous post, good writing is rewriting.








Steve was angry.




Steve slammed his hand on the table, his jaw tight; he clenched his hand into fists as his blood boiled.


On the first example, you’re saying Steve is angry, on the second, I expressed his anger by showing it and Steve’s character becomes alive on the page.


Another great way when editing the first draft: Show VS Tell and Infodumps, is using dialogue. Dialogue makes everything more believable and the characters come to life. It is also entertaining to the reader.


Let us say you have a scene that says Aly poisoned Janice Drink.

Editing the first draft: Show VS Tell and Infodumps.


Add dialogue to the story and exchange between Aly and Janice to show how Ali poisoned her drink.








Use the five senses.







Instead, you say the room was ugly, use the five senses to explain it and it adds more vivid descriptions.


While editing the first draft look for Infodumps.

What is an info dump?


As the name states itself, it’s when you write the character backstory on the first few pages of the book. This is a big no, no in the writing world. Don’t worry I did this mistake and I can say, I’m still guilty of this crime.Editing the first draft: Show VS Tell and Infodumps.


Let’s say for example your character name is David you are excited about David because he’s your MC (the main character) but you start dropping lots of information that can be relieved later on.

Part of the plot, David was back home living with his estranged father. He got in trouble with the law and you ramble how he got in trouble instead of leaving it for later.


The first chapter is tricky to write, some writers leave it for last. A writer once told me the first chapter starts at chapter three cut out the previous chapters, and that is when the story starts.


The first chapter is when the reader starts to know your character. Think of it like meeting someone at a party for the first time. You don’t start telling about your life story to a stranger, same with the writing. First, you introduced your main character to your reader. Write about going on with their day. BUT, don’t write about them waking up, having coffee, brushing their teeth that’s boring and clinched.


The first chapter is where the incident happens, which is by the end of the first chapter beginning of the second chapter.


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  • Shash

    I’ve never heard of the technique of showing, not telling before – but your explanation makes so much sense! I’m always lazy when editing my drafts, but this will be something I keep in mind with my next post, thanks for the tips!

  • Daima Hussain

    Hi Joanne! I completely agree, I have made the same mistake, many many times. I am currently trying to write a novel and when I read my first draft of the first chapter it wasall basically a huge info dump and i had to scrap it and go back to the drawing board.

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