How to Show More than Tell

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The art of exposition – showing not telling – is a subtle one. Behind every story there is an entire world complete with a history and peopled by real-life characters. How does the writer handle this mass of detail? This workshop shows how and where writers can employ techniques to weave exposition into the fabric of the story so readers are scarcely aware of being given essential information.

Stories do not come out of a void. There is much the reader needs to know about the time, the setting, the characters and past events to enjoy and make sense of the story. How to handle this mass of detail called exposition? Some storytellers write it on the nose, setting down facts about background, characters and events like a newspaper report. Others use awkward and unnatural contrivances. This workshop shows how exposition may be woven into the fabric of the story so the reader is scarcely aware of being given essential information and will show how any writer may master the technique of elucidating exposition. In this interactive workshop John Harman will also cover Point of View (POV), focussing on the three most common: first person; third person omniscient; and third person proximate. It will also show the kind of story for which each POV is most appropriate.


  • Understanding the principle 'Show don’t tell.'
  • How to use exposition – showing rather than telling.
  • How to reveal what you need to reveal; discovering what isn’t obvious in your story, what cannot be inferred and what the reader absolutely needs to know.
  • When should the writer tell rather than show – invoke rather than evoke.
  • Using exposition as ammunition.
  • Knowing when to reveal.
  • Learning how to write your story in scenes.
  • Using analogy and symbolism; the subtle use of metaphor and simile.
  • Identifying the three most common POVs – first person, third person omniscient, third person proximate.
  • How to decide which POV best suits your story.


This course is held at The University Club of Western Australia and lunch will be provided and is included in the cost.

If you have any special dietary requirements please email our staff on as soon as possible once you have booked. Your early notice is appreciated and assists us in meeting your dietary requirements.

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