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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