2 Exercises To Work On “Show, Don’t Tell”

Puzzle

 

by Kelly D. Smith

I have to admit, I’m a descriptive writer, and in turn, I love reading books that are very descriptive!  I like to feel like I’m immersed in the book. And for both Rock Stars Are Fun and Summoning the Demon, I’ve been told that I “drew the reader into the book.”

I have to admit, that is something I took a lot of pride in! It was something I struggled with a lot, and always had editors tell me I needed to work on, so, today I want to share a couple tips with you on how to “show” not “tell.”

 

5 senses

When you feel things are getting telly, and yes we’re going to say that is the true word, just drop in the senses. Take a second to stop and grab a blank piece of paper. Think about where your character is. What would they likely be able to smell? What do they see looking around? What are they looking at? Would they be able to taste anything? What can they hear? What are they touching? Are they thinking anything? Write down the answer to each question on the blank sheet of paper so you can work it into the paragraph more than one time, if it fits.

 

The body talks

This one I picked up while writing a criminal profiler book. I kept my body language reference book close to me when I wrote interview scenes and I looked up the reactions for each emotion- or at least common reactions- so that I could work them in. Pick an emotion that your character is feeling and take note of 3-5 ways that emotion can impact the body (like a nervous tick or sparkling eyes when happy) and work it into one or two paragraphs. Even during a conversation or other actions.

 

Alright, so this is a pretty quick post, but these are my two favorite prompts right now so I had to share them!

 

 

 

 

 

Guest post contributed by Kelly D. Smith. Kelly is a Canadian author who spends most of her time typing. Smith was homeschooled her entire life, leaving lots of time to follow her passion, which she quickly realized was writing. She is a muti-time, best selling author who spends her free time blogging, reading, cooking, or playing outside with her dog.


226373498_dacf4f263f_bNeed help with your book or novel? Check out the Writer’s Toolbox, a list of free, discounted, and overall helpful links to tools and benefits to help you with what you do best: writing.


 

 

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9 thoughts on “2 Exercises To Work On “Show, Don’t Tell””

  1. The Emotional Thesaurus is good to work the second exercise. I always have it at reach while I work on my WiP.

    Like you, I love description. Taste and smell are the two senses I have the most difficulty with. I should do your first exercise more often for this.

    Like

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