In this post, we explore if there is merit in telling and not showing in the books you write.
A Woman Of Steel
Danielle Steel has written 94 novels, 17 children’s books, four works of non-fiction, and a book of poetry. She is published in 43 countries in 69 languages. She has sold 650 million copies of her books. Each one – each one, ladies and gentlemen – has been a bestseller.
In writing circles, we often hear (and repeat) the mantra ‘Show, don’t tell’. There’s a reason that showing is an effective way of storytelling. It uses the senses, characters’ thoughts, and emotions, and the immediacy of what is happening in the setting to convey details in a way that makes the reader feel present in and enveloped by the story.
Why, Danielle, Why? Is There Merit In Telling And Not Showing?
After some thought, I came to the following conclusion. I found her storytelling style to be like sitting at your best friend’s kitchen table, hands wrapped around a mug of tea, having a good chinwag. Her telling style is like discussing mutual friends’ predicaments, discussing the latest developments in their life dramas and their reactions to them. I’m not talking about nasty gossip or schadenfreude (pleasure derived from another’s misfortune). It’s more the kind of talk that carries the feeling of mitgefühl (a response of compassion or empathy at someone’s misfortune).
Why do you think Danielle’s books sell so well? Do you know any other authors who do a good job of telling instead of showing?