writing advice

Show and Tell: How to be a Writer that Readers Enjoy

You know the old writing adage, “Show don’t tell?” Well, just because something is old doesn’t mean it isn’t useful.

I’m a huge advocate of breaking the rules, especially writing rules, (but only if you can demonstrate you know how to follow them first). HOWEVER, in this case,I absolutely cannot stand when writers forget this rule.

Why is it so important to show rather than tell?

Well, let me ask you this:

Would you rather I tell you about a great spot to watch the sunset or would you rather I show you a great place to watch the sunset.

You’d rather see the sunset for yourself, right? Your readers feel the same way. They don’t want you to tell them about the really exciting party, they want you to bring them to the party so they can see for themselves how exciting it is.

A great writer makes readers forget that they’re reading, that they are in fact outside of the story. A great writer immerses the reader in the story by letting them experience the setting and action.

For example, here’s a great passage from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon:

Not touching, but with arms outstretched toward each other, they bobbed and weaved, still moving in a circle. Suddenly the circle split in half. Seven of the dancers moved clockwise, still in a circular motion. The others moved in the opposite direction. The two semicircles passed each other at increasing speeds, sometimes forming a complete circle, sometimes a double line. And in the center, the leader stood stock-still, giving again and again that mournful high-pitched call, in a language long since dead.

Let your readers see what you see. Don’t just give them a window to look through, open the door and let them in.

Want some personalized advice on your writing? Drop me a line at amandalshore@gmail.com

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