writer retreat

Show, Don’t Tell

If you visit the Show Me State of Missouri, you’re sure to encounter someone who won’t settle for what you tell them—they want you to show them. The same is true in any book, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction.

As you write this month, remember these tips to help show, not tell, the reader what it is you want to convey:

  • Describe the setting instead of telling the reader where it takes place.
    1. For example, instead of saying it takes place in the city, describe tall buildings, shopping areas, sidewalks filled with people going to and fro for work, etc.
    2. Mention famous monuments to let the reader know where it takes place, such as Lake Shore Drive if it takes place in Chicago.
  • When describing a character, use quality adjectives instead of filler words.
    1. Instead of saying a character is pretty, describe her long hair, long legs, hazel eyes, flawless makeup.
    2. Instead of saying she looked sick, describe the IV in her arm, the oxygen attached to her nose and how rough her feet and hands look.
  • Don’t direct the reader to do what you think they should do. They have a mind of their own.
    1. For example, don’t say laugh out loud in your book. Instead say something funny enough to stir laughter in the reader.
  • Be creative when describing things that may seem ordinary.
    1. For example, instead of saying red, say something favored the shade of blood or reflects the color of a strawberry.
    2. Instead of simply saying white, refer to snow, cotton or even white rice.

These simple tips will help take your manuscript from ordinary to extraordinary and help you stand out among the competition.

Remember, don’t ever skip the editing process. Your reputation as an author depends on it.

For more editing tips, visit www.soitiswritten.net.

About the Author: If she’s driving down the street at 70 miles per hour, a spelling error on a highway billboard is sure to jump out at her. Although she may not pull the car over, she may contact the advertiser as a courtesy to let them know, in case they want to fix it of course. What may not matter to most has become an obsession and passion for Tenita Johnson, editor extraordinaire and writer. Through So It Is Written, she is committed to helping authors nationwide perfect their manuscripts and successfully complete the publishing process.

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