On the penultimate day of NaNoWriMo you’ve probably already heard this phrase: Show, Don’t Tell. It’s one of those phrases that gets thrown around a lot.
What exactly does it mean though? You should strive to give your readers all the information they need to infer a fact, rather than flat out stating that fact. Here is an example from author Richard Price that neatly sums up this technique:
“You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying in the road.” ― Richard Price
Alright, why are we talking about this today, at the end of NaNoWriMo?
If you’re struggling to get to your word count then this is a useful technique to bear in mind. Showing the reader, rather than bluntly stating facts, takes a lot more words!
These last few days of NaNoWriMo can feel like a grind, as you desperately try and pump out as much as possible. Showing, instead of telling is not an easy thing. It takes time and practice, but this a great time to start that practice!
Here are some tips to get started using this technique:
Demonstrate what your character feels by their reactions. Instead of telling the reader that they are angry, show them clenching their fist.
Remember that every one of your characters has five sense, they feel sensations, they hear things, they can smell things.
This way of writing immerses your readers into your world. It makes it more fun to read…and it takes a lot more words to get these ideas across. So, if you’re struggling to write more today, try going back over your manuscript and seeing if there are any bits where you bluntly told the reader how things were.
Keep writing! You’ve got this.
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