Write On! 7-31-23

Write On! 7-31-23

Posted on 7-31-23

Show and Tell

And I’m not talking about standing in front of your schoolmates.

No, this is much worse better because you are a writer!

Adjectives and Adverbs – these are words I love.

I use adjectives and adverbs and sprinkle them liberally when I write. But both are a ‘tell,’ and while I still use them, I do try to take them out, especially in my personal editing processes. But don’t get hung up if you’ve already published a book with them. I assure you, you will be okay.


By showing, the writer can elicit a strong feeling from the reader for a character, regardless of the emotion. And this brings a greater connection or empathy to your story or your character(s).

Take this, for example:

Telling: I went to the store. I walked in and went down aisle five, where I knew the canned goods were. I took my time making selections. I knew what I wanted, and there were so many others to choose from. I just had to make sure I got the same brand. I hate when I get different brands as it seems to mess up the taste. I wanted to impress my guests. I made my selections and walked to the checkout. I waited behind three other people and noticed they were just as bored as I was.

Showing: I decided I needed to go to the store. When I arrived, I headed straight for the canned goods aisle, weaving around other shoppers. Making selections was easy because I never mix different brands. It seemed like it could alter the taste of my famous dish, and I wanted to impress my guests. Once my arms were full, I juggled my assorted goods, eyeing a woman’s basket as I walked by. I tightened my arms around a slippery jar, and by the time I reached the line, I got stuck behind three others, who stared off into space or read the headlines on the racks as the monotonous beep of scanned items echoed around us.

Okay. Not the most exciting adventure, but you get the idea. It reads much better the second way, and we get a better feel for the ambiance of the grocery store while gleaning hidden messages from the character and why they needed to go to the store in the first place.

Still confused? Look for the five senses. Did you describe them? Or did you let the reader ‘feel’ them? How can you show those senses?

‘I smelled the steak,’ or ‘the aroma of the sizzling steak filled my nostrils, and my stomach rumbled.’

‘She was happy,’ or ‘Her smile threatened to split her face.’

‘I felt the cloth,’ or ‘The cloth’s velvet smoothness tickled my skin.’

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to…

Write On!

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