3 Simple Ways To Show And Not Tell

3 Simple Ways To Show And Not Tell

We have put together this list of three simple ways to help you show and not tell.

Telling is sometimes called using a summary mode. It should be used sparingly because it distances the reader from the viewpoint character’s goals and actions. It is mostly better to show rather than tell.

3 Simple Ways To Show And Not Tell

3 Simple Ways To Show And Not Tell

1. Avoid using abstract words when you describe a person.

Don’t write: She was a beautiful woman and David was sure that every man in the coffee shop thought so too. He felt jealous.
Do writeYou look like an angel. Written in the foam of her cappuccino. David tensed as she smiled at the message from the unseen barista.

2. Avoid adjectives. Use verbs. Adjectives tell. Verbs show.

Don’t write: She spoke in a drunk manner.
Do write: She slurred.

3. Don’t generalise. Be specific.

Don’t write: There was a bird outside the room.
Do write: A robin perched on the windowsill.

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. Cheat Sheets for Writing Body Language
  2. 5 Incredibly Simple Ways To Help Writers Show And Not Tell
  3. 5 Instances When You Need To Tell (And Not Show)

(You can also try our FREE COURSE: How To Show And Not Tell In Short Stories)

by Amanda Patterson
© Amanda Patterson

If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course.

Posted on: 23rd December 2012

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