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SHOWING OFF

Sometimes the old saw ‘show don’t tell’ just won’t do, says Adrian Magson

BEGINNERS

Back in the dim mists of time, when Twitter was a bird sound and Facebook was two separate and unrelated words, I first heard the expression ‘show don’t tell’. I had no idea what it meant, nor can I recall where I saw it or heard it first, but I know it wasn’t Mr Hall, my fearsome English teacher. He was more of the ‘work don’t talk’ school, followed by a faded dap scything across the room to signal a full stop to subversive chatter. (This was back when hurling a dap – an old gym shoe to the trainer generation – was, if not approved as a form of exerting control, at least better than being on the receiving end of a blackboard rubber, which was made partly of wood.)

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About Writing Magazine

Bumper issue! Your guide to 2018's writing events and festivals Inside the new issue, discover what you can learn about writing by studying Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle, and get up to speed on what's happening in the grip lit genre. Learn how to conquer rejection and move your writing on, and see how our star interviewee, Katherine Arden, took inspiration from folklore and history for her magic realist historical fantasies. • Keep up to date with the latest writing competitions and opportunities in Writers' News.