Tuesday, 22 April 2014

S is for SHOW (don't tell)

Hey! Follow me this month as I work through the alphabet of great writing tips, from creating ACTION to getting into the ZONE. Then, go here to see who else is taking part in the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

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One of the most common mistakes writers make is to “tell” the reader the events of a story or how a character is feeling instead of allowing the reader to feel or see what’s going on by SHOWING.

So, instead of saying, “Melissa was sad” (which is telling the reader), you might try something like:

Tears welled in the corners of Melissa’s eyes. Her bottom lip trembled. Taking a deep breath, I reached for a tissue and handed it to her, just as the first teardrop rolled along her cheek.

Even though I know the difference, sometimes it’s hard to determine what parts of my story could use more “showing” vs “telling” — and even, how.

Here are a couple of ways you can let the reader see:

1. Use dialogue
2. Use all the senses — taste, touch, scent, sight, and smell
3. Use great adjectives and strong verbs

Go through your own writing. Are there places you can SHOW the reader what’s happening? How can you expand on them? Want to learn more? There are many writing craft books you can check out, but Show & Tell in a Nutshell by Jessica Bell has exercises so you can learn by...showing. <grin>

Gotta jet!

— Chase Superman Duffy

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