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Show & Tell in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing (Writing in a Nutshell Series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Jessica Bell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Book Description

*Interested in getting the All-In-One Edition which consists of all three books, and 15 BONUS! writing exercises, for just $4.99? Search for WRITING IN A NUTSHELL: WRITING WORKSHOPS TO IMPROVE YOUR CRAFT.

Have you been told there's a little too much telling in your novel? Want to remedy it? Then this is the book for you!

In Show & Tell in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing you will find sixteen real scenes depicting a variety of situations, emotions, and characteristics which clearly demonstrate how to turn telling into showing. A few short writing prompts are also provided.

Not only is this pocket guide an excellent learning tool for aspiring writers, but it is a user-friendly and simple solution to honing your craft no matter how broad your writing experience. With the convenient hyper-linked Contents Page, you can toggle backward and forward from different scenes with ease. Use your e-reader's highlighting and note-taking tools to keep notes as you read, and/or record your story ideas, anywhere, anytime.

Editorial Reviews


"Jessica Bell addresses one of the most common yet elusive pieces of writing advice--show, don't tell--in a uniquely user-friendly and effective way: by example. By studying the sixteen scenes she converts from "telling" into "showing," not only will you clearly understand the difference; you will be inspired by her vivid imagery and dialogue to pour through your drafts and do the same." ~Jenny Baranick, College English Teacher, Author of Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares
"A practical, no-nonsense resource that will help new and experienced writers alike deal with that dreaded piece of advice: show, don't tell. I wish Bell's book had been around when I started writing!" ~Talli Roland, bestselling author

From the Back Cover

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Product Details

  • File Size: 819 KB
  • Print Length: 102 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Vine Leaves Press (December 30, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A38L986
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,412 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Idea for Busy Writers Who Need Help December 5, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What do writers like to get in their holiday stockings? How about helpful writing books, such as Show and Tell in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing? How many of us have had our manuscripts critiqued and have also heard during that critique, "You are telling too much. You need to show"? So, how does Jessica Bell's book help writers learn to show and not tell in just a little over one hundred pages?

Jessica's entire idea is to create a handbook for writers that shows how to show and not tell, and she succeeds by presenting sixteen scenes to read and learn from. In her introduction, she suggests that you read each scene four times and focus on different parts of it each time. After reading it through once, then the second time, writers should "identify the telling words/phrases." By the last time a scene is read, a writer will be brainstorming their own ways to "fix" the scene. (In the print version of the book, Jessica provides blank pages to take notes and try your own wording of the scenes.)

So, what does a scene entail? First, readers will encounter a list of attributes that a writer is trying to portray in a scene. For example, in the first scene, the list is: "amazing view, awe, feel hot, relief, feel tired." The next page has a paragraph, full of telling.

Sandy stood at the foot of the Egyptian Pyramids. Though she was hot, tired and sore, she was awestruck by the amazing view and felt a sense of relief. Finally, she'd made it.

Obviously, there's a lot of telling in that above example. Can you pick that out? The next page in the book, which I won't share with you here, provides Jessica's version of the same paragraph, but with showing details, instead of telling. Then there's a page for notes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Concise, Go-to Guide for Writers of All Levels November 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
"Show, don't tell."

If you're a writer, you've probably heard that dreaded phrase at least once. I remember hearing it quite often when I first started writing fiction, but no matter how many times someone tried to explain it to me, I just didn't completely get it. Like many women writers, I started writing at a young age in my diary--and diaries are ALL telling--so I became accustomed to writing confessionals about my feelings. Well, that doesn't make for compelling fiction!

What I really needed was a guide like Jessica Bell's Show & Tell in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing. This go-to guide shares sixteen expertly crafted scenes that transition from telling to showing. Each scene starts with a list of emotions, senses, actions, or situations that are the ultimate objectives of the scene. Jessica writes the scene as someone would TELL it on one page, and then follows by SHOWING the scene in evocative, cinematic prose. Her tight descriptions, realistic dialogue, and vivid characters alight on the page in such a way that there's no doubting the differences between show and tell when analyzed side by side. That's the simple beauty of this guide, but the author doesn't stop there. She suggests studying each scene four different ways, including an assignment to brainstorm your own ways of writing the attributes listed at the beginning of the scene and at the back of book. Also included is a page of writing prompts and plenty of space for notes, making this a truly interactive guide.

The strength of Show & Tell in a Nutshell is in its concise examples. It really is showing you, not telling! This is a pocket-guide reference that writers will want to keep close and use again and again. You will find inspiration within these pages for your own WIP (work in progress).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Handy little workshop. December 2, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a breeze to work though, just a quick little workshop with lots of exercises and examples on the topic of showing versus telling. Great book to use for your writing group.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT! November 11, 2012
SHOW & TELL IN A NUTSHELL: Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing by Jessica Bell is brilliant. It is a pocket-guide reference for writers that need help with the skill of showing instead of telling in their works.

Personally, I feel as though every aspiring author has been told at one point in time, "To show and not tell." I know that for me, at first I could not grasp that concept and would become easily frustrated with it. This quick reference guide shows you how to transition a dull paragraph into a colorful one. There are 16 scenes (IE - examples) to show you how to pick key words that are telling. Bell then rewrites the scene to demonstrate ways of showing the scene in a more effective, emotional way. Blank pages are also included for your benefit to jot your ideas down.

Keep in mind, like any writing instructional book, it is not going to work wonders for you unless you practice and write every day. Trial and error is what makes the writer. This book provides guidance for that process.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful writer's tool December 11, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Show and Tell in a Nutshell by Jessica Bell is a writing craft book that is practical. Jessica shows the reader how to show in a very practical and dynamic way. She gives examples of telling and then switches them right around to showing. She also provides exercises and blank sheets of paper for the reader to try it all out on their own.

I could not believe the amount of scenes Jessica managed to create with such flair and intensity. The tone of each was so very different. I have never seen such obvious yet beautiful examples of showing. As an editor, I look forward to recommending this book to my authors. It has the ability to broaden a writer's horizon not just in showing but in the tone and temper used.

I received this book from the author for review.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Really enjoyed this book. Gave clarity to the differences in showing & telling.
Published 8 months ago by Florida Gatson
3.0 out of 5 stars Should read it.
Nice prompts and good info.
Published 9 months ago by Polly B
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
loved it
Published 10 months ago by kelly mcdonald
5.0 out of 5 stars show and tell in a nutshell
I thank you, this was sent in great condtion.I am totally pleased with the service.thank you very much. claudine bigelow
show and tell in a nutshell
Published 14 months ago by claudine bigelow
1.0 out of 5 stars Not much to say
Nothing you couldn't get off of the internet. I wouldn't call this a book or a pamphlet it is more like a few pages chopped up. Not worth the money.
Published 14 months ago by Judy M. Iwen
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful reference.
Helpful to have when writer's block hits. Gives some nice examples which has helped to get my creative juices restarted.
Published 14 months ago by Michael McLarnon
3.0 out of 5 stars Read and know
Gave a bare- bones approach to nuances of how to show and not tell. Compelling read. Presented in impressive format
Published 14 months ago by Chike M Nzerue
2.0 out of 5 stars A book of examples
If you're trying to learn how to not tell but show in your writing, this book could help -- IF you are a beginning writer who does not even understand the concept. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Elizabeth Tai
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful
An interesting book with helpful and easy to understand examples in general...even though some of them, not so much. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Show & Tell Book Review
Show & Tell in a Nutshell is a very short book and I finished reading it in a day. It has 16 different scenes explaining how to show the reader what you want them to feel instead... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Joana
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More About the Author

If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she'd give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a 30-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, award-winning poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she's written.

Being the daughter of a semi-famous rock 'n' roll duo from Melbourne, she grew up surrounded by song. For a while it seemed logical to travel the musician's path, especially when her first band, spAnk, hit it off in the Melbourne indie music scene back in the late 90s. Although she spent her years writing and recording dozens of songs she decided she also had a love for the written word, and began to pursue a career as a writer.

She started as a poet, drawing from her musical background and etching her thoughts and feelings into verse. Those stanzas soon turned into sentences and paragraphs, and eventually into published books. Her literary voice is said to overflow with "lyrical descriptions, unique metaphors, tight dialogue, and an abundance of sensory detail." She has also been told she has the ability to take a seemingly ordinary three-chord type story and turn it into a main stage event.

In addition to her novels, her poetry collections (including FABRIC, which was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2012), and her pocket writing guides (WRITING IN A NUTSHELL SERIES), she has published a variety of works in online and print literary journals and anthologies, including Australia's Cordite Review, and the anthologies 100 STORIES FOR QUEENSLAND and SHADOWS AT THE STAGE DOOR, both released through Australia's, eMergent Publishing.

Additionally, she is the Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, the Coordinator of the Writing Day Workshops which take place throughout the United States, and makes a living as an editor/writer for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

Check out the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop. In 2012 she had Chuck Sambuchino of Writer's Digest as an instructor. In 2014, she had Katharine Sands, New York literary agent, and Debbie Young, self-publishing expert.

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