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Writing 101: Show, Don't Tell

Courtesy of: Julie Tyler, founder of StoryBold,

When you SHOW instead of TELL, you let readers become "eye witnesses" to each scene. This technique can be difficult to learn right at first, so here I offer a quick hack.  

  1. Find instances in your writing project where you're labeling a character's emotions. For example, "John felt angry," or "Susan had never felt more ecstatic in her life."

  2. Replace the labels with the effects that each emotion has, physically and mentally, for your characters. For example, "John felt his face getting hot and a surge of energy running up his spine. How could his boss fire him on Christmas Eve?"

  3. See if you can show each emotion without ever having to label it, and STILL write so that readers understand what a character is experiencing. 

tip #1 Practice specific writing techniques and strategies every day.

tip #2 Create a folder in your project files devoted exclusively to practicing writing techniques.

tip #3 Every month or quarter, read back over pages you wrote when practicing techniques and note how your writing develops.

-Julie Tyler, founder of StoryBold,


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