Special Note:

How Will AI Change Writing?—Join our FREE Writers' Stage event "Writing for Change: Exploring The Question of AI" next Wednesday 4/17.

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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

Show Vs. Tell

No Longer Enrolling

  • $65.00 Non-Member
  • $55.00 Member

Class Description

Conventional wisdom tells us that as creative writers, we should always show, not tell. But how does a writer convey information to the reader, advance the plot, build drama, and show character development without writing a thousand-page opus filled with unwieldy, full-blown scenes? Conversely, how do you highlight key moments in your characters' lives concisely without risking summary as dramatic as an encyclopedia entry?

The most successful fiction and creative nonfiction writers blend both the "show" (a dramatized scene) and "tell" (summary)—sometimes within the same scene. In this session, we will study examples of successful scenes and summaries (from Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Jhumpa Lahiri, and others). We will discuss the pros and pitfalls of dramatizing versus summarizing scenes. Writers will leave with strategies and exercises to apply to their own work. This class is ideal for both fiction and creative nonfiction writers.
A notebook or laptop is required for in-class writing exercises. Students are also encouraged to bring a scene of their own writing to refer to during class.
Part of GrubStreet's Special Topics in the Novel, a group of classes dedicated to exploring different craft elements of novel-writing. For more class offerings, click here.
Scholarships Format/Location

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting!

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!