The Show & Tell Writer

Show n tell

Ever since Kindergarten we’ve been impressed upon by the concept of Show & Tell. As writers we are told to ‘Show’ don’t ‘Tell’ in our stories. But what about articles on writing? I’ve seen a lot of telling but very little showing.

Over the last few months I’ve been researching the publishing industry and how to make myself known on the internet via social media. I’ve read articles and books to point me in the right direction. But one of the problems I keep running into is a lack of examples of what people are talking about. Naturally when people explain how to do something, like in Molly Greene’s Blog it book, giving you step-by-step instructions are very helpful!

My most recent problem has been, understanding what it means to have a brand. Oh sure, I understand when it comes to cereal, bread and other products. The company’s name is the brand which includes any slogan that you’ve read and seen countless times in advertising and on the product. But how do I market myself? What is my brand? I read articles and it is described to me but that’s about all there is to it. Finally I was shown to this article written by Theresa Meyers. She used the example of Nora Roberts and explained that her name and photo is her brand. She’s transcended what she has written to the point that when she comes out with a new book, it’s her name and face that sells it. This is what I’ve been looking for, an example. You can explain to me what something is until you’re blue in the face but if there’s no example to go with it, I’ll be just as lost as a six year old.

That’s why I believe the concept of Show & Tell still applies for us adults. In school, you bring an item for a visual effect and then you talk about it so people can put the two together. If you simply talk about something without an item, someone may not understand what you’re trying to achieve. However, if you bring something to show but don’t say anything about it, then you’re open for interpretation by all and everyone may end up with a conclusion of their own, none of them the one that you want to obtain.

As my oldest daughter got into junior high, I noticed that she was struggling with tests. She could read the questions just fine, but she lacked the understanding until someone explained it to her. It was then that she fully understood and could then answer the question. I’ve been very concerned for her and her way of processing information, but it wasn’t until just recently that I realized that I am the same way. It’s not enough for someone to tell me what something is, I need that all important example to show me what is being talked about. Perhaps my grades in school would have been higher had more examples were given to me in regards to what was begin taught.

In my article, The Writer and Bonus Material, I gave ideas on how to further interest people in your books with extra material. Not only did I suggest ideas, but I also gave examples of each so that people could understand what I was talking about.

I’m not trying to insult anyone and the way they write articles at all. I’m just trying to encourage those of us who do write helpful ideas to provide examples about your subject. You don’t have to look at it as dumbing down your writing but rather lifting up readers to the same level of thinking.

That’s my two cents worth on this subject, what are your thoughts? Do you find examples helpful in articles or do you feel that it is a waste of time? Share your thought and ideas in the comments below. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog you don’t miss any of the articles and news.

Happy Adventuring!


7 responses to “The Show & Tell Writer

  1. You make a good point, Chris, about learning through visuals, but many of the examples I’ve seen for ways to brand yourself as an author won’t work for everyone, which might be why bloggers don’t spend hundreds of words to give you a blow-by-blow description of exactly what they do. Posting a recipe for your heroine’s casserole works for a romance writer, but that tactic probably won’t work for an action thriller. Yet they can both share character backstories, which is a more general approach.

    I totally agree with you, though, that we should always try to explain our concepts, whatever area of expertise we’re sharing. Writers are communicators, so above all, we must be sure we’re communicating as clearly as possible.

    • Exactly Candace. The focus of this article is on examples in article writing overall. I just chose branding as that has been my trouble spot for the last month or so. Appreciate the comment.

  2. Sometimes concretic examples are a good way to add some life and understanding to an article, but finding the right example to enlighten the subject matter to a new level can be tricky. Trying to find an example to explain that away right now, but not sure I can come up with a good one so… Hopefully my comment is not too enigmatic 🙂

    • Hello Laurae,
      Examples are a great way to help you reader understand what you are discussing. I only hope more people will accept this idea. Thanks for the comment and welcome!

  3. I always learn best by examples, that’s why I love Candace’s blog. Great advice on building a platform, Chris!

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