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Misteph t1_jap2mvt wrote

Beautiful story with fantastic details! My only advice would be when explaining the character can smell emotions is the classic show, don't tell.

Instead of cutting into the story to state "That's something I can do, smell his emotions", something along the lines of "I can smell the adrenaline in his veins calming down, the nervous patter of his heart evening out", or other such emotional cues that might not be noticable to the average human. Describe how the character is able to sense this. You actually do a great job of this throughout much of the rest of your story, for example two paragraphs later.

Overall, great story! I'll need to look at reading other things you have written


ohhello_o t1_japajpv wrote

Thank you!

Funny enough, I did contemplate about how blunt that sentence sounded. However, I eventually made the decision to “tell” rather than “show”, as I really wanted to drive that point home. I do think if I had separated that last sentence onto another line, it would have potentially flowed better.

Nonetheless, I do understand your point and enjoyed the way you described his emotions! Thanks for the feedback and for reading.


Misteph t1_japeozz wrote

To be honest, I thought about not even giving you advice since everything else I saw I loved, and having looked through more of your work I can see you clearly didn't need it.

Part of what I like about your writing is that it is similar to my own style, but with much more practice behind it. It has an elegance and an eye for the details that really help the reader connect to the story, and you are able to make compelling characters in just a short story.

Alas, I always tell myself that I should write for these prompts, but I never end up doing it.


ohhello_o t1_japo7xw wrote

I really do appreciate all the advice I get. I’m not a professional writer by any means and just do this for fun, so I’m happy to read any feedback I receive!

Though, for what it’s worth, you should definitely try your hand at writing for a prompt if you want to! It’s a lot of fun and good for practice.


Fontaigne t1_jaresy5 wrote

I liked it the way it was. The line feels intimate, like she's confiding in us. The mention of "adrenaline" is the opposite: a clinical detail that isn't personal. The story is personal.

To me, the line is explaining the detail of how she knew he had been scared out of his mind... and thus is to that degree a show.

"Show, don't tell" is a useful reminder phrase, but you need to keep in mind that it's ALL tell. In prose, literally every word is being "told".

The question of Show vs Tell is often a question of what is appropriate for an audience. Do you tell them the person stomped off, or do you tell them the person left in anger? It depends on your voice, genre and audience. Some audiences like to know emotion, and infer action, some the other way.

Largely, Show vs Tell is a question of level and of focus. Depending on style, each level of detail "shown" take 5-10 times as many words. In the middle of an intimate scene, is it worth adding even the twenty words you suggested, that are NOT intimate?

For me, it's perfect. Your mileage may vary.


Misteph t1_jarnbfb wrote

That's a great perspective and as well as a good reminder for me, thank you! I can definitely see how I phrased it could be more clinical and out of place. There are definitely times where less is more, else you end up with 5 pages describing the food on the table.

To me, the character directly telling us felt very out of place, as it's the only sentence in the story that does it, while being surrounded by what I viewed as largely descriptive language.

Regardless, I'm glad we agree in the quality of the story itself


sleepy_knees t1_jarms0e wrote

I just want to say, even though it may have been a conscious decision on the author's part in this instance, I'm so appreciative that you said this. I'm a very fledgeling writer, and I'm ignorant of most of the technical things that make for great writing. "Show, don't tell" is going in my "writing notes" book right now! Don't stop giving the positive feedback, because I know there are others like me who read these comments especially for these bits of advice!


Misteph t1_jarojms wrote

I'm happy my advice could be of help to not just the author but also to other writers. I would definitely also check out u/Fontaigne 's reply to my comment, as that also contains great information as well as a excellent counterpoint to my argument