College of Arts and Sciences
Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
Writing, Fiction, Showing vs Telling, Plot, Axiom
Matras, Tina, "An Exploration of the Axiom “Show, Don’t Tell” in Fiction Writing" (2022). Masters Theses. 893.
This thesis is about one person’s journey from the stringent, fact-based world of technical writing to a creative place known as fiction writing. The Artist Statement explores the author’s journey into the world of creative writing and choice of genre. The critical paper is a sample of the process the author undertook to learn how to “show” a story. Instructional technical writers provide readers with a set of instructions or steps from information that already exists. Nothing is made up, and any visual provided is accompanied by pictures. The reader doesn’t have to imagine anything. Fiction writers must help a reader visualize an entire world filled with characters with distinct personalities, scenery, and dialogue that does more than simply share a conversation. Fiction writers must help a reader imagine. The critical paper explores the importance of showing those ingredients to a reader rather than telling a set of facts. Finally, the beginning of the manuscript, Finding My Father, shares this author’s attempt at “showing” and not “telling” a story.