Metaphorically speaking

Remember those old black and white movies, often romances, when everything was suggested or implied and nothing of a sexual nature was actually seen on screen? Probably a bit before your time. Everything is so much more explicit these days; nothing is left to the imagination. But you know the sort of thing I mean – the suggestion of a sexual encounter using a visual metaphor. For example: the couple on the train taking advantage of their otherwise empty carriage, look longingly into each other’s eyes, maybe a furtive kiss before they pull down the blinds. Then we cut to the train entering a tunnel.

Like I said: probably before your time.

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Show me, don’t tell me.

I know this old chestnut comes up time and again, but I’m revisiting it again because it still causes problems, particularly for those new to the writing game.

Every writer will have come across the expression, ‘Show, don’t tell’, whether it’s in a creative writing how-to book, during a writing tutorial or in an on-line forum or blog. It has become a cliché in itself, but what does it actually mean to the fledgling writer? It’s a surprisingly tricky concept to get the hang of, so let’s pick it apart and examine it.

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