Friday, July 6, 2012

Show Don't Tell

It is said that a good writer uses the "Show Don't Tell" method of writing. Instead of using words like "get" or "got," you could use the word "hopped" to describe something. You don't want to tell what a character did, you want to show it. Hopped conveys a picture, while "get" has thousands of pictures associated with it. It is too general of a description. Try to use action, thoughts, senses, and feelings to get your thought across to the reader. Sometimes it is good to lay low on description so your reader can be free to picture something their own way, but sometimes you need to be specific otherwise a scene can get confusing.

Instead of using an adverb like "angrily," you should be able to show a scene or dialogue that shows that the character is angry. You don't have to come out and say it.


  1. For readers who don't understand the difference between show and tell, take a moment to delve deep into your characters point of view. If you're a character, you don't tell people, "I feel angry." You tremble, you clench your teeth, you shake a fist. Your heart might beat faster. You might feel as if a furnace is burning deep inside you, waiting for somebody to open a door to let all the heat loose. Describing those sensations that your character is feeling should help you avoid telling.

  2. I wish I could've thought of that and stuck it in the post! lol, thanks for commenting Lauren, I really appreciate it :)

  3. I love the way you explain that "hopped conveys a picture, while "get" has thousands of pictures associated with it." That is such a perfect explanation of why it's important to Show instead of Tell.

    (BTW, I found your blog via Random Writing Rants.)

  4. Thank you so much for the comment! Although, sometimes it is best to leave the "get's" in, that way the reader CAN picture it 1,000 different ways.