Writing Compelling Stories: Show Don’t Tell

Let’s talk about something that every writer had heard a thousand times, but not always followed the advice right away.

Yes, we are going to talk about the famous statement “Show don’t tell“.

All of us sin sometimes and make a sentence that doesn’t show the scene to the reader. The reader will inevitably glide over it, but won’t remember anything about it.

Here are some examples:

Sam was shocked by Ron’s statement.
After Ron’s words had reached Sam’s ears, she widened her eyes and gasped.

Lila started crying and tried to hide it.
Tears wielding in her eyes, Lila turned away. Let them think she was disgusted rather than crying.

There is no other way to say it. Making your scenes more vivid will appeal to the reader and make them feel powerful emotions for your protagonists.

The reader will know Sam is shocked because you’ve shown it to them. They will know Lila was ashamed to be crying in front of others because she turned away.

When writing a scene you don’t need to tell what you saw your character do. You have to create the same image you saw in the mind of your reader.

You will not achieve it if you state the actions. The reader needs to half-guess, half-see.

Your story has to start in your mind and end in the mind of your reader. And there is no other way to do that, but by showing it to them.

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2 Replies to “Writing Compelling Stories: Show Don’t Tell”

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