As most of us know, "show don't tell," is the rule. However, there are important exceptions--reasons--we should sometimes tell instead of show. For instance, "telling" might be the quickest way to delineate a character's emotions or set up for a forthcoming, intense scene; but the best way to know if a scene should be told or shown is to rank it from 0-10 on a scene intensity scale.
And now the list, or in this case, the scale:
10= Extreme emotion, handle with care. Very few scenes per book should hit this level. Show.
8-9=Big scenes and turning points. Show.
6-7=Conflict, important emotions and personal turmoil, sharp dialogue. Show.
5= The middle point. Lean toward telling on any scene at this level or below. This is a good place to start scenes that are about to build to a greater intensity.
3-4=Transitions and set up scenes. Another good place to start "about to build" scenes.
1-2=Danger! Get out as soon as you can.
0=DO NOT ENTER. Includes lengthy setting descriptions, especially in the first chapter.
There you have it! So now all you have to do is figure out what level each of your scenes are at and plot them on a graph (just a suggestion) to see if their linear progression makes sense to your novel. Right?
Or is it write?