5 Essential Tips on How to Use Show, Don’t Tell Writing!

Flynn Hannan
Oct 21 · 4 min read
How to Use Show, Don’t Tell Writing
How to Use Show, Don’t Tell Writing

If you want your writing to be as immersive as possible, you should really learn how to show and not just tell. This is a writing technique wherein minute details are all combined to create a strong narrative feel in your writing. And once you master this writing technique, your writing will become deeper, vibrant and much more multifaceted. But this is easier said than done, because show, don’t tell writing takes a great deal of practice to master. Here are 5 Essential tips on how to use show, don’t tell writing.

1. Avoid dumping too much information on your readers

If there is one thing that you should avoid if you are trying out this writing technique, it is dumping too much information on your readers. This is because if you dump too much information on your readers, they might get confused. And instead of focusing on your work, they would instead be too busy with clearing up the details. So ease up on the details and just divulge them when the need arises.

2. Don’t use words that explain emotion

If you want your writing to be as vivid and descriptive as possible, you should really avoid using emotion explaining words. These are words that describe or explain emotion. And even though they can be useful, they don’t really show. They just tell. So if you are going to use a certain emotion in your writing, don’t just say that the character was happy, sad, depressed or any other emotion explaining words. Show readers the emotion. Have your characters jump up for joy. Have them burst into tears, have them curl up in a ball of despair. By doing so, you are showing their emotional state and creating a truly vivid image of the story for your readers.

3. Avoid using sensory words

One of the setbacks of using sensory words like I saw or I felt is that it could lead to weak writing. So if you want to show, and not just tell your readers you should just omit sensory words and opt for strong verbs and other types of visual language instead. This will make the writing more vivid and detailed.

4. Body language is key

Yet another way to truly show and not just tell your readers is to incorporate body language in your writing. This is because most people give out many emotional tells just by their body language alone. For example, the main character is agitated because his enemy is near. So his body is rigid and tense. His muscles are coiled for action. His pupils dilate in excitement for the inevitable conflict to come. By just writing about a character’s body language, you are creating a sense of excitement and vivid imagery in your reader’s minds.

5. Dialogue should be used to show character

Aside from body language, dialogue can also be used to show readers a character’s personality and traits. Dialogue is especially important during the early parts of the story, because it can be used as a way to introduce the characters to the reader. This is because first impressions last, and readers will usually form their opinions according to the dialogue.

For example, your main character is an abrasive and arrogant man. So his dialogue should match this. You can make his dialogue short and terse. You can also include a bit of profanity with his vocabulary because it lines up with his personality. Overall, if you want to add another facet to your writing, you should really pay attention to your dialogue writing.

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Flynn Hannan

Written by

Bibliophile , Senior Indie Editor at Writers Republic — Writers Republic is a self-publishing company, and it has everything to publish your book the right way.

Writers Republic

Writers Republic is an international self-publishing company that spearheads in inspiring and pursuing our author’s writing career efficiently at their utmost convenience.

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