FLAPPERHOUSE Writing Tip #1: Hide, Don’t Show!

FrankLabLast week, our editors helped chaperon a writing workshop where third-grade kids collaborated on a short storybook. When the kids were asked what good stories need to do, one of the fastest and loudest answers was “Show, Don’t Tell!” That’s because as soon as anyone anywhere even briefly considers writing a story, a million tiny story fairies appear and whisper “Show, Don’t Tell!” in that aspiring storyteller’s ear.

Now, while that used to be excellent advice, it’s been followed so much over the past few millennia that Showing-Don’t-Telling has become rather stale. At this point in space-time, FLAPPERHOUSE believes that the future of literature is “Hide, Don’t Show!” Think of your prose as a large bed-sheet. Beneath that sheet is your story. To the reader, your story would be identifiable only as some sort of rhinoceros-sized creature, its nose-horn apparently composed out of gelatinous oatmeal, and with one large wing shaped like the flag of Nepal. This sheet-covered beast pulsates like a giant arrhythmic heart, and occasionally, it sneezes the melody of Technotronic’s “Pump Up The Jam.” And you, as the author, should simply stand there with your hand on one corner of the sheet, teasing that you’ll yank that sheet off at any moment– but don’t do it! Because Hiding-Not-Showing is how you’ll captivate new generations of readers into the Roaring 2020’s and Beyond…

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