SHOW ME SOMETHING GOOD
Every author hears this at some point: "Show, don't tell!!!" OK, cool, but how do I know the difference?!?
NO NEED TO POINT OUT EVERY LITTLE DETAIL
If something is obvious or clear, it doesn't need to be pointed out to the reader.
Example: Stephanie flashed a wide grin at Frances, obviously finding his joke funny.
The "wide grin" shows us that Stephanie thought the joke was funny. Everything after the comma is unnecessary.
KEEP THE SUMMARIES TO A MINIMUM
Example: I told Stephanie the truth about everything - even about her brother's role in the crash.
It's much more exciting for the reader to "see" this conversation, rather than have it summarized for them.
Try this instead: "Steph, I don't know how to say this," I paused, swallowing hard. "Your brother was behind the wheel that night."
"What?" He voice barely rose above a whisper. She took a deep breath, letting it out in a shaky exhale. "You're kidding, right?"
ENGAGE AND SURPRISE
Too much telling makes your plot feel rushed and predictable. Readers can become frustrated and bored. Drop subtle hints like breadcrumbs through the story to keep your readers engaged.
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CONNECT WITH THE CHARACTERS
Characters can appear flat, shallow, and underdeveloped. If you rely on telling the reader what the characters are doing or summarizing what they say, your reader won't connect with them.
IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED...
Practice, practice, practice....and then practice some more.
Try this exercise: Rework parts of Little Red Riding Hood (or the fairytale of your choice). Include details to paint a clearer picture. Give subtle hints about the characters' thoughts/feelings. (Red wrinkled her nose when she walked into the cabin. Did Grandma forget to put the milk back in the ice box? She gripped her basket tighter, glancing at the bed. An eerie silence filled the room as Red crept closer to the old woman).
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