Show Don't Tell...

Telling is describing the character and action from the point of view of the storyteller or omniscient narrator. Telling makes it easy for the writer to sidestep emotion and dramatic tension. Telling takes the story out of scene. Writing in scene is different from describing a scene. Writing in scene combines character and action and includes dialogue and your character's inner thought. The following will help you stay in scene and show instead of tell.

1. Point of view means you are inside your main character's head, heart and gutyou are seeing the world through the eyes of your character.

2. Dialogue is one of the fastest ways into character. Everyone talks. Everyone can write dialogue.

3. Action can be as simple as a fight. You don't need a complicated plot.

4. Flashback can help you find out what makes the character tick. Go back into a scene from the past that informs the present. When you are writing flashback, you are in the moment. Show, don't tell.

5. Name your characters always. What kind of merging can there be with a character if you don't even know his or her name? Sometimes finding the right name takes a while. I once knew a writer who had a character who wouldn't open up until she spelled her name, Catherine, with a C instead of a K.


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