How to write real clunkier, and kinda awkward.


I haven’t posted in a while, but thought I’d pen this.

Ignore maxims, like ‘show don’t tell.’

I read an absurd thing in a book about creative writing. It compared 2 bits of writing, a piece of dialogue describing a man  dismissing a woman from her job. The first example used words like ‘sadness in his eyes,’ and ‘she felt angry’. This was supposed to be bad writing. It isn’t bad to ‘tell’ when necessary. The second example involved the woman ‘showing’ her anger by throwing a piece of furniture against the wall.

Well, if she feels angry than she does: it’s the way you express the ‘telling’ if you ‘tell’ with a construct (cliche), like sadness, the writing might feel dead. Using a word like melancholic, or malaise will remove the cliche.

If you want to ‘tell’, then do it. Avoid cliche and you can ‘tell’ to your hearts’ content.

I feel pleased I’ve told you about this, and if I wanted to show you how pleased I was, it would take three more (large) paragraphs.

Telling speeds up writing. Try and ‘ show’ all the time and your work won’t flow.


6 Comments on How to write real clunkier, and kinda awkward.

  1. Ann Anderson
    May 7, 2016 at 1:13 PM (4 years ago)

    I agree. I have a very good editor, but she’s obsessive about not telling. Sometimes I ignore that note.

    • Dan Proops
      May 7, 2016 at 4:24 PM (4 years ago)

      Doesn’t sound good. Telling is a very necessary and important part of the architecture of writing :)

  2. Milton Bakula
    January 29, 2019 at 8:27 PM (11 months ago)

    Wow, this was usefull. Keep writing this kind of posts, you will get a lot of people to this post if you continue working on this.

    • Dan Proops
      February 3, 2019 at 9:52 AM (10 months ago)

      Thanks so much! I really appreciate this kind of feedback!
      I’ll do more blog posts as my new book is coming out in March.

      If you have a website or Twitter page, I can retweet your posts or Tweet, citing your URLs or Twitter page; do let me know as I like to help people who give me kind comments. (I have 21K followers)

      Have a lovely day



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