Writing Tip: Don’t Tell, but Show – Repost

photo of a woman thinking

This is an old one, but a good one. What does it mean exactly? It means don’t tell us about loneliness (or any of those complex words like dishonesty, secrecy, jealousy, obsession, regret, death, injustice, etc) show us what loneliness is. We will read what you’ve written and feel the bite of loneliness. Don’t tell us what to feel. Show us the situation, and that feeling will be triggered in us.

When you take your child to school on their first day you may find yourself teary and relieved at the same time. Put into words what you see: the child’s face, the wave at the gate, the other mothers saying their goodbyes, another child coming up to take your son by the hand. We will get what you’re trying to say without you telling us directly.

The how-to-write books tell us to use our senses when we write stories:  sight, sound, smell, touch. Writing from the senses is a good way to penetrate your story and make friends with it. Don’t tell us about something, drop deep, enter the story and take us with you.

What about you? Do you consciously bring the senses into your creative writing?

5 thoughts on “Writing Tip: Don’t Tell, but Show – Repost

  1. Hi Libby… I’m an emotional writer, I suppose I immerse myself in the subject/topic of my poem…. I cry on my keyboard, about the words I’m presenting, and I hope my readers feel the senses I’m trying portray, the poem whether the poem is whimsical or melancholy …..

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Your words made me smile Libby,… When I’m writing an emotional piece, and I know the will affect me, I have a big box of tissues beside my keyboard, so I can wipe the keyboard and my eyes at the same time….. yep, I’m a softie…., and my mouse has to be a good swimmer 🏊💙🌏☁️

        Liked by 1 person

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