How to Show, Not Tell When Writing

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How to Show, Not Tell When Writing
By HVLong, eHow Member
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Show, Not Tell When Writing
Show, Not Tell When Writing
User-Submitted Article

Show, don’t tell. If you’ve ever submitted a manuscript that received this type of feedback, you may be frustrated and annoyed. You may rewrite your manuscript and send it back in, only to receive the same feedback. Do you tell your stories instead of showing them? This article will help you overcome that handicap.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Things You’ll Need:

* Manuscript
* Word processor
* Time


Use the search function on your word processor to search for the words felt, described or saw. These words often indicate telling, rather than showing. For example, Kelly felt bad about the decision she made. To make this sentence showing you would change it too, Disappointed by the situation and the decisions it forced, Kelly sighed.

Write first. Rewrite later. Focus on showing as you write, but don’t spend too much time worrying about that until you get to the edit phase. By highlighting these passive uses and expository sentences, you will be able to correct the telling in your story.

Edit your work by carefully replacing telling sentences with showing. While the words felt, described and saw are indicative of telling, it is important to recognize that any sentence that expresses something your character is thinking or feeling without actually expressing that emotion is telling.

Showing instead of telling takes practice. It is one of the hardest things for a writer to learn. It is also the technique that separates the wannabe writer with the published author. Example: She wanted to go to sleep. She was tired. That’s telling. Exhausted, she gazed at the bed. It would be so easy to just curl up and go to sleep. That’s showing.

Read more: How to Show, Not Tell When Writing |

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