Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Show and Tell in a Nutshell

Show and Tell in a Nutshell... clever title, Jessica. 

     I could’ve used a book like Jessica Bell's when wrote my first manuscript.  My writing education had consisted of one creative writing class in high school and another in college.  (I also endured the grammar bits of English classes with limited comprehension, but that’s another story.) 

     After I wrote “The End” on my first manuscript, I looked it over a few times for mistakes, deemed it DONE and… *cringe* began querying.  An editor at Candlewick was kind enough to send me a full letter rejection of feedback.  That was when I first heard I needed to show—not tell.

I didn’t really know what that meant.

     My research led me to believe I needed more dialogue.  So I’d show, tell, show, tell, show, tell…

You get the idea.

Obviously I didn’t get it.

     It took me years to improve my writing skills dramatically.  When I began scouring agent blogs, I finally saw enough examples that I figured out the difference.

I’m slow. 

     Since then, my writing has improved greatly. When I receive critiques and rejection, it’s for lots of ludicrous  ridiculous other reasons. 

     But I’m not sure I sometimes don’t tell when I should be showing. Like all mistakes, it’s easier for me to spot when I read someone else’s manuscript than when I try to revise my writing. So I’m buying this book. 

Thanks for saving us from ourselves, Jessica!

Click to add me to Goodreads!
Have you been told there's a little too much telling in your novel? Want to remedy it? Then this is the book for you!

In Show & Tell in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing you will find sixteen real scenes depicting a variety of situations, emotions, and characteristics which clearly demonstrate how to turn telling into showing. Dispersed throughout, and at the back of the book, are blank pages to take notes as you read. A few short writing prompts are also provided.

Not only is this pocket guide an excellent learning tool for aspiring writers, but it is a light, convenient, and easy solution to honing your craft no matter how broad your writing experience. Keep it in the side pocket of your school bag, throw it in your purse, or even carry it around in the pocket of your jeans or jacket, to enhance your skills, keep notes, and jot down story ideas, anywhere, anytime.

If you purchase the e-book, you will be armed with the convenient hyper-linked Contents Page, where you can toggle backward and forward from different scenes with ease. Use your e-reader's highlighting and note-taking tools to keep notes instead.

The author, Jessica Bell, also welcomes questions via email, concerning the content of this book, or about showing vs. telling in general, at

“Jessica Bell addresses one of the most common yet elusive pieces of writing advice—show, don't tell—in a uniquely user-friendly and effective way: by example. By studying the sixteen scenes she converts from “telling” into “showing,” not only will you clearly understand the difference; you will be inspired by her vivid imagery and dialogue to pour through your drafts and do the same.” ~Jenny Baranick, College English Teacher, Author of Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares
“A practical, no-nonsense resource that will help new and experienced writers alike deal with that dreaded piece of advice: show, don’t tell. I wish Bell’s book had been around when I started writing!” ~Talli Roland, bestselling author

Purchase the paperback:
$4.40 on Amazon US
£3.99 on Amazon UK

Purchase the e-book:
$1.99 on Amazon US
£1.99 on Amazon UK
$1.99 on Kobo

About the Author:
The Australian-native contemporary fiction author and poet, Jessica Bell, also makes a living as an editor and writer for global ELT publishers (English Language Teaching), such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

She is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and co-hosts the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek Isle of Ithaca, with Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest.

For more information about Jessica Bell, please visit: 


  1. Haha, Theresa! You are a brilliant writer. Don't be silly! You don't need this! LOL :-) thank you so much for posting today!

  2. Now this sounds like a book worth its weight in gold. I am not really a writer, but all I ever had in school was grammar. I am going to check it out for the classes I teach. Thank you for spotlighting it~

  3. So excited for Jessica. And it sounds like a book I could use too. I know what you mean about being slow. It's taken me about 10 years to feel I have some grasp on the craft of writing.

  4. Congrats to Jessica! I saw Alex Cavanaugh promoting this on his blog today. It looks like a fantastic resource that every writer should have and read!

  5. Hi Theresa .. so interesting that our blogging friends can provide us with the information we need - I will definitely be buying Jess' book - it will be so interesting to read her sixteen examples ..

    Thanks for the fun post and highlighting the Show and Tell in a Nutshell book ... cheers Hilary

  6. I often spend more time "telling" than "showing" in my drafts. I was looking over a draft the other day and realized that the main character kept describing what she thought and felt; I should have spent more time showing what she thought and felt rather than just have her list her thoughts and feelings.

  7. I have my copy!
    I think we all struggle with telling.

  8. yep, I definitely struggle with it. Congrats to Jessica :)

  9. Yep, I've had that problem (still do, actually...).

  10. Totally going to get this book right now! Thank you for sharing, Theresa - there is always more to learn and ways to write better!!!

  11. Theresa - Thanks for mentioning Jessica's book; showing not telling is something I always struggle with. I'm heading over to her sites now. ^_^

  12. I hope to read this. I've read Jessica's poetry and would love to read her non-fiction, plus craft books are always helpful.

  13. I *definitely* need this. So worried that I'm repeating myself by using the same phrases and tics/habits.

  14. You are an amazing writer, Theresa!!!!

    Congratulations to Jessica! I didn't realize she had published this book. :)

  15. Wow! I love book recommendations like this. I'll definitely have to add this to my list!

  16. Congrats to Jessica! Have a great weekend, Theresa!

  17. Sounds like a good one. I, for one, could use this remedy. :)

  18. Hi Theresa .. just in case you don't post again - Happy Thanksgiving .. cheers Hilary

  19. I'm seeing this all over the place this week. Sounds like a must read!