Show, Don’t Tell

Why showing and telling expands beyond good storytelling — heck, it’s useful in everyday life, too.

Captain (Query) Hook

Show, don’t tell.

This is probably something you’ve seen me say before if you’ve been reading critiques. It’s probably something you’ve heard other people say before. So if you don’t know what it means, I’ll explain it quickly.

Telling: Captain America is heroic.

Showing: Captain America fought the Red Skull and saved the city of New York.

Both sentences get the idea that Cap is heroic across. But the second one is detailed and more effective.

This is an issue in query letters when somebody says their book is “a heart-warming tale” or a “humorous adventure.” Instead of telling me that it’s heart-warming, write a query letter that gives me warm fuzzies. Instead of telling me that it’s humorous, write a query letter that makes me laugh. A well crafted query letter should match the tone of the book, and will imply a lot about the nature of the book.

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