Writing Tip #3

Wednesday. The day of the week that’s the darkest, marking the halfway point to the weekend. Like middle-age, it’s full of second-guessing, exhaustion, and a deep resentment of the obstacles yet to be overcome.

What can cheer you up? Probably another writing tip! Missed the last two? Check them out here and here!

Today’s writing tip is show, don’t tell. Simply enough, when describing a scene, a character, an event, show the reader what it looks like, don’t just tell them. For example: show me that the light blazes off her crimson hair like a raging halo, don’t just tell me she has red hair.

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov

You should leave your reader with a vivid image inside their minds, a picture that they can see in their mind’s eye as clearly as they do their own memories. This will captivate them and draw them further into the world of your story. Telling them accomplishing nothing except gaining you a bored reader.

“Show the readers everything, tell them nothing.” ― Ernest Hemingway

Bring your story to life. Give it emotion, colour, smell, sound, touch. Fire that image into your reader’s brain so that it bores in and lights their imagination on fire.

The key to this is making efficient use of your details. Of course, too many and it bogs everything down so you have to be eloquent, careful, particular. Picture a scene in your head and describe it. Then read it to a friend and ask them what they picture. If it doesn’t match, then rewrite it, rewrite it, rewrite it until you paint them the very image in your imagination.

Thanks for checking in again and don’t forget to like, share, comment!

x P.L. McMillan

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