Don’t Just Tell Them Show Them



You know how a good story stays with you long after you have finished it. Whether it be a book hangover or a really good movie after the credit have rolled. That’s the exact thing happened to me on Monday night. Anyone who has seen the movie Zodiac from 2007?  I remembered that I liked it the first time I saw it, I actually went to the cinema to see it and brought the DVD but I hadn’t seen it in years. So there I was, house to myself, nine o’clock at night and raining pouring outside. Yes, I know, y’all are shaking your heads, I would be too but I pushed play anyhow.

Within an hour and a half I got up and locked my front door and I wasn’t feeling so comfortable in my favorite spot on the lounge. I had forgotten how much the film crawls under my skin, buries itself in my brain and effectively scares the sh#t out of me for a few days to follow. Don’t get me started on the scene when the Zodiac calls the television news show and tells them that ‘he has headaches’ – So do I dude, but I don’t scream like that!!

My point, A)  if you haven’t seen Zodiac – go see it, find it – do whatever you need to do – its great – freaky, graphic in parts but fantastic.

B) Good stories crawl under your skin.


There is the old writing advice don’t just tell them show them – Why tell Layla that this movie is scary, when we can freak her out for days. Like seriously people I was watching a story on the news about a woman in Pennsylvania who thinks she saw a UFO – I saw the video and I thought – wow, that’s freaky but not as freak as the Zodiac killer at my front door – in my defense it was really early in the morning when I was watching the news and it was really dark outside my front door, which was open at the time.


It’s easy to say don’t just tell them show them but how the heck do you do that. It’s just like they say – don’t start your first chapter with the weather – which I have for my current WIP – but it’s to show the reader that Jude’s a cop and walking around a flooded area looking for a child – while its raining. Yes I have started with the weather but it is to place the reader right where my main gal is. So does one writing rule cancel out another?

I don’t have an answer – I just thought it was a really good question

So what do you beautiful should think? Breaking a rule or two – worth it or forbidden?


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