Dummies Guide to Show vs Tell

In the writing world, the current mantra of ‘show vs tell’ is all over the place. But if you over analyze the statement you begin to ask, what does it actually mean? But before you have a meltdown and end up on the street shouting out phrases like ‘But technically isn’t everything you write telling in some form or another?’ or ‘These examples are too small (even though they are great, you just want more). Stop and just admit you want someone to not chastise you for saying, ‘Just tell it to me like I’m an idiot.’ Well here is that answer:

Show vs Tell is pretty much Scene vs Summary.

I just came across a TedTalk by John Dufresne and he gives a great description.

‘Scene is vivid and intimate and Summary is distant and efficient‘. He says this at the 4.20 mark in the video below.


What is my genre!? . . . weird?


Readers of my blog will know that I’m working on my first novel called Feet or Fins. At the moment classifying my book’s genre is difficult because I just wrote a story I liked.

Screw the fact that other people would be reading it.

Currently I believe that my novel is a bit of an orphan in terms of genre. It fits in the Weird Fiction genre category, simply because it doesn’t seem to fit anywhere else. The story has;

  • Supernatural elements explained through scientific realism, but it is not science fiction;

  • It has sporadic horror and slash and gore elements, but it also has a bit of romance;

  • It has fantasy elements like dealing with mythical creatures, but it is set in contemporary times;

  • It has monster literature themes, but the Mira are not the only monsters in the book;

  • It has elements of thriller, suspense and action, but this book does not revolve around this;

  • It is has elements of the French Fantastique cinema and literature genre, but it is absent of science fiction;

  • It deals with differences in culture and the issue of US vs THEM, in which the characters have navigate to their advantage or not;

It fits most snugly in Weird Fiction because the story is a blend of horror and fantasy set within speculative fiction. Previous writers of weird fiction have come from the 19th and 20th centuries. The downside to this definition is that weird fiction also encompasses ghost stories and tales of the macabre, which this novel does not have.

An alternative is that this story could also be placed in The New Weird, an emerging sub-genre beginning from the 1990’s. This story fits into the definition given by the proponents of New Weird Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, which is that it “subvert cliches of the fantastic in order to put them to discomfiting, rather than consoling ends.” New Weird fiction breaks down the barriers between fantasy, science fiction and supernatural horror.