Show, Don't Tell in Fiction

How I'm rewriting my novel

"Show, don't tell." This is advice I've heard since I started writing fiction back in 2019.

It's easy to understand, but difficult to execute in practice. Only now, with a novel and many other forms of fiction written am I truly beginning to do it on command.

That's what I spent the majority of this morning doing.

A local book and board game shop here in Japan wants to stock my first novel Cereus & Limnic.

But first I need to republish it under my own publishing company (my brother previously published it) and make it available on IngramSpark so the owner can order more if it sells.

And I need to do this quickly. We'll be moving next month, and it will be much more difficult to get a physical copy in the store after July.

A tight deadline and a mountain of publishing work? An author's best friend.

Here's what I did today:

Cereus & Limnic - Chapter 15: The Terminator's Prison Rewrite

This is the first chapter I rewrote manually.

The previous ones, I used a custom Claude AI prompt to restructure and cut significant parts of the story. Those sections (the first 5 chapters) were easily the weakest parts of the novel.

Sluggish pacing, wandering words, no clear stakes or interest - it was difficult for anyone to read very far into it. I've fixed that.

But the AI cuts can be heavy-handed. It lobs off nuance, foreshadowing, and imagery that makes the story richer and fleshes out the world. The deeper I get into this rewrite, the less useful it is.

So it's back to manual edits.

They take more time, but it allows me to improve my editing and writing skills. Clarity, taking out excessive words - or in the words of Stephen King "everything that is not the story" - that's the goal.

After an hour of effort, I finished the chapter. It's much better than it was.

Sketchbook Updated

  • More stick cyborgs for practice
  • Drew from my Japanese art book

"Gates of Okinawa"

  • 569 words written via dictation


A homeless demon challenges her captive, Hiroshi, to a game of rock, paper, scissor. The stakes? His soul.


The female demon's beautiful face contrasted sharply with her homeless appearance. "Now we'll play a little game," she purred. "Janken—rock, paper, scissors. You know it?"

Hiroshi managed a shaky nodded.

"If you win, we might let you keep your soul. But if you lose, your mabui is mine. Prepare yourself."

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