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Show, Don't Tell

No fooling. This is serious. Don't TELL the readers what is happening or what the character is feeling, SHOW them.

Bad example:   Good example:
Blair really felt terrible about lying to Jim.   Oh, God. Blair put his head in his hands, tears stinging his eyes. How could he have lied to Jim?

Bad example:   Good example:
Jim was so angry that Blair was afraid.   Jim grabbed the front of Blair's shirt and slammed him into the wall. Blair fought to breathe, his heart hammering.

Draw the readers in, make them a part of what is happening. Try to avoid "While you were gone" summaries of scenes you should have shown. Don't tell them, "Earlier that day, Blair had gone to the university and run into Suspect J. Student, who had said something incriminating that Blair now waited anxiously to tell Jim." SHOW the scene at the university, show Blair's conversation with Suspect and his subsequent anxiety. Get them involved, give it dramatic impact, show them What's Happening Now.




Show Don't Tell


Point of View

Tense Persons


Names, Pronouns, Descriptive Phrases



Plurals, Numbers, and Apostrophes


Common Errors


Favorite Bloopers

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