Don’t show – don’t tell

One of the best known tips in writing is to show not tell but a challenge to write about the word façade had me thinking; everybody that we know presents to us a façade, like it or not it is the truth.

Think about it, when we meet someone for the first time we weigh them up, we look at their mannerisms, check out their job role, look at how wealthy or poor they appear and from all of that initial information we assess which of our many facades we are going to present to them.

We all do it, even if we might want to deny it. We never open up completely to someone we don’t know. We feed them just the right amount of information to test the waters; can we trust them? Can we relate to them? Can we even understand where they are coming from?

We use a façade but we probably don’t think about the fact that they will be using one too.

I think this is really important when we are writing. We create our characters then we have to reveal them but if we do that totally at the beginning of our story then we are not being real. We do need to show not tell but we also need to keep their real selves safe until our other characters get to know them. We want the reader to relate to the protagonist but shouldn’t we reveal them in a safe and realistic way?

Facade

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