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TELLING IT LIKE IT IS – exploring the maxim: Show, Don’t Tell using strong POV.

Here are some passages that are strongly ‘telly’ – that is, they tell the reader rather than show what is happening. They don’t use the main character’s Point of View (POV) sufficiently. Try re-writing the examples to remove the ‘telly’ lines and write from the character’s POV.

If you would like to see one possible version of each passage that shows the scene from a character’s POV, please send an email to with the title: POV answer sheet, please.
Alternatively, if you would like to attach your own worked solution to the problem passages, with your name and email address, I will ’mark’ it and offer mentoring advice.
Cheers, Jim Parsons

Mary was scared of her husband.  He’d bullied her all her life, and when he came home drunk, that bullying turned nasty.  It was Thursday night - pay night- and he was late, which meant he’d spent a few hours in the pub.   When the door slammed, fear gripped her heart and her anxiety rose with every slow, clumsy tread down the hallway.
Arthur was a huge man and had big meaty fists.  He liked to show his strength by crushing a beer can, and, as he stood in the doorway, breathing heavily, he did this now in a very threatening manner.
“I’ve got your dinner ready,” Mary said plaintively, hoping to distract him from the usual fault-finding that would give him the excuse he needed. “It’s nice and hot.”
“Don’t want any f***** dinner,” he said belligerently. “I had a pie at the pub. Whattya staring at me like that for?”
It did not look good for Mary; it was clear he intended to pick his usual fight. She resigned herself to  it.

Charles was nervous and worried.  As the ship crept towards the dock, he scanned the faces of the waiting crowd – women anxious to see their men again after so many years at war.  He had a presentiment that June wouldn’t be among them.  He thought about the first year away and how letters arrived every month, and then as the time stretched out, how the letters became less frequent and less loving.  There had been no letters at all for the last six months.  Now was the moment that Charles’ worst fears would be confirmed or dispelled.

“We could always have a week in Paris,” Rita said longingly, hoping against hope that John’s stodginess could melt away just this once.
“What’s wrong with Blackpool?” he queried, even though he knew she hated the place.  “We always go to Blackpool.  Used to go as a little nipper with me Ma and Da even.”
 Poor Rita was desperate to see the continent. She had always wanted to climb the Eiffel Tower and visit the Louvre.  It was then that she made up her mind to go on her own.

If you would like writing coach Jim Parsons to assess your writing skills or some excerpts from your manuscript free of charge, download the assessment tasks  HERE and send your work to

Jim says:

“You might also like to try the first instruction module and assignment 1 of my popular novel writing course. It’s yours free and with no obligation to continue.  Simply send a request titled “FREE MODULE PLEASE” at  . Feel free to introduce yourself and tell me a little about your writing experience, the genre you’re interested in writing, and what you’d like to achieve.  Cheers, Jim.”

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