Often, writers struggle with telling readers how their characters feel, rather than letting them experience their joys, sorrows, frustrations and triumphs. To see whether you’re telling instead of showing, search your manuscript for typical “telling” words, such as “feel,” “think,” or “realized.”
Re-read the word in context to decide if you’re telling the reader or showing them. If you’re telling, rewrite it so the reader experiences the emotion. To learn more, check out Janice Hardy’s book, Understanding Show Don’t Tell (and Really Getting It).
As summer break begins, don’t let those lazy days beckon you to get lazy with your daily writing habits. Make a list of scenes that you want to write this month. Then for the first half of the month, write a summary of what needs to happen in each scene. It’s okay just to “tell” what needs to happen in each, but try to be as specific as possible. Then for the second half of the month, go back through each scene and replace all those telling moments with action, emotion, description and anything else that helps you “show” your readers what’s happening.
I was nervous about writing my blog post for today about the Writing 101 rule of “show, don’t tell.” My fingers hovered over the keyboard as I considered what I wanted to share with our readers about the tricky topic. I tapped out some words, paused, read them, read them again, and jabbed at the delete button until they disappeared from the screen. I repeated this process several times before finally deciding to keep what you’re reading right now. Continue reading
You finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.
We’ve all heard the writing rule to “show, don’t tell.” So how do you know whether your manuscript abides by that rule? One way is to look for what some writers call “emotional qualifiers.” These are words that describe an emotion, such as fearless, nervous, angry, happy, etc. Go through your manuscript with an eye for words like these. Then rewrite the troublesome sentences to show how your character experiences that emotion, rather than telling the reader he/she is experiencing it. What does she see, hear, smell, taste, feel? What does he think about what he’s seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or feeling?