It may seem strange that, as writers, we put down words on paper, but then are told we need to ‘show’ what we mean. Isn’t the use of words telling the story? How on earth do we ‘show’ our stories to our readers? We’re not painters. Well here is one tip for showing, not telling.
Think about this: the weather was terrible.
Now all you need to do is ask yourself: Why? Why is the weather terrible? What makes that weather terrible?
The sky was filled with dark clouds which let down an unceasing rainstorm. Lighting cracked through the darkness occasionally, lighting up the sky as if creatures of light fought a ferocious battle above. I shivered under an awning, a freezing raindrop occasionally falling on to my shoulder.
Now that is how you show the story while writing. Stating that the weather is terrible, is just telling the reader something. But who cares? Weather can be terrible but it doesn’t mean anything… right? By showing the reader how bad the weather is, will make them will feel the cold, sense the forlorn dampness surrounding the character. This is how you pull in your readers and keep them.
Of course, there are times when telling is perfectly alright. Showing should be used on ideas that you want to capture your reader’s attention. Use this approach on ideas you want them to dwell on and that help them immerse themselves in the story. At other times, there are ideas that are not so important and you can tell them, without forcing the reader to spend time contemplating it.
For example: I hate the cold. This is likely not a massively important detail and doesn’t need to be thought about much.
Even though I understand the concept of showing, this is still something I need to work on myself. I need to go back over my work, find those times when I am telling the story, and instead needing to show.
Here are some examples that you should try. These examples are being told. Show them instead:
Scarlett Van Dijk
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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