Mariska Stamenkovic gives us a good example:
Suppose I want to convince you that my neighbor is a slut. I could tell you:
- “She has no morals at all, I’m telling you. She’s as ethical as a doornail. Really. Believe me.”
Or I could show you:
- I take you by the hand and lead you to the park across the road. I push aside some branches and point. There she is, my neighbor. Bare-ass nekkid on a park bench, making out with three guys, none of them her husband.
Which approach is the more convincing?
Here are a few tips for showing, not telling:
- Write in scenes. Picture the scene and then write it. Take your reader with you. Help them to feel what you feel.
- Use rich sensual language. Use as many of the five senses as you can. They say the sense of smell is the strongest.
- Use plenty of dialogue. The minute you write a line of dialogue, you’re SHOWING, not telling.
- Don’t use judgement adjectives, nouns or phrases. “nice, good, a great person, friendly, terrible, a jerk, I hate her etc.
Now let’s try it – write this scene. Don’t tell us, Show us. Make us readers feel we are right there. How would you do it?
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