+N J Slater
: Agreed. Not the Sophie McDougal part, because I've never read her. But "show don't tell" seems to be a blank slate bit of advice: everyone seems to think it means something different, some of the interpretations are simply crazy and wrong, and (like any bit of writing advice) you can overdo it.
[Tangent: recently I came across a book blogger's "swearing is just poor writing" rant, which was poorly written itself. But one of the points the rant tried to sell was that having your character swear was "telling, not showing." The reasoning didn't make a whole lot of sense.]
I think it was one of our members, Jefferson Smith, who reframed my thinking. The real goal is "be more interesting," and various means of "showing, not telling" are tactics for accomplishing that goal.
That frame of mind keeps you from falling into bad writing advice traps. "Don't just say, 'Mary opened the door.' _Show_ her opening the door." Um... okay. I mean, if there's a way to make the way she opens the door relevant to the reader. Otherwise, just hurry and get her into the room so the next interesting thing can happen.