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How To Write More Show Than Tell

How do you show, not tell, in writing?

Adjectives tell. It might be true that “Sally is sad” but that will not make readers empathize with Sally. Instead, focus on Sally’s physical responses to events.If Sally is sad, being sad is the event. How she handles her sadness is going to show up in her next actions, such as moping around and overthinking past events. If you show Sally to be much different from her usual self, the reader will catch on and realize that Sally is sad.Pretend you are a photographer. Your job is to use the surroundings you are given and find an interesting subject to capture. (However, this doesn’t have to and shouldn’t be limited to the sense of sight.) It’s good to give a general outline of a setting or character’s descriptions, but that won’t make the description memorable. Dive in deep and focus on just one or two things.Ex: A rubber bracelet lay forgotten next to the trash can, its letters long gone.Compare things. You know when your elementary teachers told you to use similes and metaphors? That stuff actually works. People hold a clearer image in their mind when they can compare to something they’re already familiar with.Ex: A swoop of hair that looks like the crest of a wave. Spiderlike fingers that dance across a piano.Clear verbs are your new best friend. “Sally walked through a forest path.” Pay attention to walked. It can be improved to portray how Sally is feeling. Is Sally trudging through the forest? Or is she skipping? Verbs carry distinct connotations to them and set the tone and mood of your writing.Get rid of phrases like “he/she saw…” or “they heard…”. All this does is alienate the reader from your characters. When an action such as a loud noise startles you, you don’t think “I heard a large boom.” The sound is the event, so describe how the event affects your character and their actions. They might wonder what cause the sound. They might automatically assume whatever caused the sound hurt somebody and then rush to help them. Whatever you choose your character’s actions to be shows so much about their personality and circumstances.There are so many more tips, but here are some of the ones that have helped me most :)

How do you 'show' not 'tell' when writing?

Whenever I write something and have people read it, they tell me that I'm telling, not showing.
Meh. I don't get it, can someone please explain it to me?
And please give examples, I'm the type who only understands with examples.
Thanks in advance! Best answer gets 10 points!

Showing, not telling, in writing?

May be this can help. Read on-------------

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.


Tips & Warnings

Show, don't tell.

Highlight the word felt.

Use active emotions and engagement.

Practice, practice, practice.

Write, then rewrite.

Don't overdue it.

Remember you can use the word felt when describing the action of actually 'feeling' something, but avoid the use of the word in general..

What does the writing advice "show don't tell" mean?

Here is a paragraph from a novel in progress. This section is a flashback to the protagonist’s life in a British boarding school in India.Showing (Painting a picture):One particular monkey first came to me as a baby. His mother sat on the railing with him and his sister clinging to her back. She stared at me long and hard. We weren’t allowed to feed them; she no doubt knew a scofflaw when she saw one and hoped I would break the rules. I remembered I had an orange in my pocket left over from lunch and offered it to her. She bounded down, snatched it and leapt back onto her perch. Her little boy fell off as she retreated and rolled on the floor a couple of times, squeaking (crying, I suppose) in distress. I picked him up and cuddled him, glancing over to the mother, hoping she wouldn’t take exception to my interference. Macaques can get nasty. She didn’t quite sit, but crouched ready for action. “It’s all right, Mama. “I won’t hurt your baby.” She relaxed. He felt so good, so warm as he slept peacefully in my arms. They came every day for months after that and waited for me. One day, it was only him. In spite of his size, I knew him from the kink in his tail. He seemed to want that cuddle even more than the treat. I had to be sneaky with my offerings so no one would tell on me, but those moments offered me joy in its purest form. Sometimes skinny little local boys would sneak around to see what was going on. We weren’t allowed to feed them, either.Telling (not bad, but a bit flat):One particular monkey first came to me as a baby. His mother sat on the railing with him and his sister clinging to her back. I remembered I had an orange in my pocket left over from lunch and offered it to her. She bounded down, snatched it and leapt back onto her perch. Her little boy fell off as she retreated and rolled on the floor a couple of times, squeaking. I picked him up and cuddled him, glancing over to the mother, hoping she wouldn’t take exception. Macaques can get nasty. He felt so good, so warm as he slept peacefully in my arms. They came every day for months after that and waited for me. One day, it was only him. He seemed to want that cuddle even more than the treat. I had to be sneaky with my offerings so no one would tell on me, but those moments offered me joy in its purest form. Sometimes skinny little local boys would sneak around to see what was going on. We weren’t allowed to feed them, either.

Is "show, don't tell" a hard and fast rule for writers of fiction? Can good storytelling be done without it?

Of course it can be done. I watched a YouTube video which showcases the concept of “Tell, Don't Show” taking an example of a scene from Ingmar Bergman's masterpiece 'Persona' where a nurse recalls the most memorable night she had ever had. Through her expressions and changing body language, tha audience tries to imagine her experience. This scene breaks the most common aspect of storytelling. This makes the scene more unique.Persona | Tell, Don't Show

When writing, which words are 'telling', when your aim is showing and not telling?

The advice “show, don’t tell” is not referring to word choice. It is referring to style—how the writer communicates a message. Writers can sometimes make a point either by directly stating it (“telling”) or by indirectly illustrating it (“showing”). Both are necessary, but in literary writing styles, it is often better to communicate information indirectly—hence the “show, don’t tell” advice. In journalism or legal writing, clarity is more important than aesthetics, so the opposite is true.You can find plenty of examples by searching on Google. Here is a pretty good overview.

What does i can show you better than i can tell you mean?

It means that the person would rather show you visually / in person than telling you about something in words which may be more unclear.

How do you write less than 1 percent? Is there more than one way to express this?

It depends if you are referring to an amount that can be calculated as an actual number or a general amount. If you intend to refer to a measurable amount, you should say “fewer than one percent.” If you want to refer to a very small amount, but you cannot come up with an exact number, but you know it is less than one percent, you should say “less than one percent.”If you know the exact amount, you should state the number. For example, “half of one percent” or “0.5%”Edit: As Selena Palmer and John English pointed out, the way to write the concept of “less than one percent using mathematical symbols, rather than words is:<1%< is the symbol for less than.> is the symbol for more than.When I originally answered the quetin, I thoght you were asking about a specific number, But for all possibke numbers that are less the one, just say <1%.