“You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist you must learn your craft—then you can add all the genius you like.”
—Phyllis A. Whitney

This Simple Principle Will Solve Your Show, Don’t Tell Problems

This guest post is by Tom Farr. Tom is a storyteller, blogger, freelance writer, and high school English teacher. He loves creating and spending time with his amazing wife and three children. In addition to blogging regularly about writing at The Whisper Project, his writing has appeared on LifeHack.org and Medium.com. Follow him on Twitter (@farrtom) for updates on what he’s working on next.

No doubt you’ve heard the old writing advice, “Show, don’t tell.” But how do you do it, and how do you balance the showing versus the telling?

Today I’m going to share with you a simple strategy for deciding what you should show in your writing and how to approach it.

This Simple Principle Will Solve Your Show, Don't Tell Problems.png

The Art of Immersing Your Reader in a Story

The goal of show, don’t tell in your writing is to create an immersive experience for your reader. You want them to be so caught up in your story that they feel like they’re experiencing it for themselves.

Let me show you what telling looks like.

It was raining when Claire stepped out onto the driveway.

Pretty straightforward. But aside from Claire stepping out onto the driveway, it doesn’t really engage the imagination. Of course, we know what rain looks like.

But what if I did it like this instead?

Claire felt the cold sloshing of water in her shoes as she raced to her car in the driveway.

This sentence paints a more vivid picture in the reader’s mind of what’s going on. Notice there’s no mention of the rain falling down, but the description of Claire’s shoes filled with sloshing water as she runs implies the rain pouring down.

In order to create a more immersive experience for your readers, you want them imagining your story as they’re reading it, which is why it’s important to show, don’t tell.

To Show, Don’t Tell, Focus on Effect Not Cause

If showing is so important, why then do so many writer’s get stuck telling?

Webster’s Dictionary defines a cause as “something or someone that produces an effect, result, or condition; something or someone that makes something happen or exist.”

In any given scene, you may describe any number of things you’re not even really thinking about. In the example above, it was so easy to say that it was raining when Claire ran to her car. If you were the writer of that sentence, you may not even be thinking very clearly about the rain. It was just something to mention in passing.

However, while you might not be thinking about the rain, Claire, your character, certainly is. That’s why the second example is stronger, because it moves from the simple fact that there is rain, to describe the effects produced by the rain (i.e., the cold sloshing of water in her shoes).

When you just mention causes in passing, you miss the opportunity to engage your readers’ imaginations. And if you’re not engaging the imagination, it’s only a matter of time before a reader stops reading.

2 Tricks to Show, Don’t Tell

So how do we put this into practice?

1. Identify the Causes

Once you get the hang of show, don’t tell, you’ll begin to do it instinctively, but when you’re first trying to develop a more immersive writing style, it’s easy to tell too much without noticing.

To develop an eye for telling, look for anything in a scene where you described a cause without moving onto its effects.

This is actually much easier than you think. Below are several examples of what you’re looking for. Note that all of them have something in common:

  • It was raining.
  • The coffee was brewing.
  • She was happy.
  • The sun was bright.
  • The joke was funny.
  • He was attracted to her.
  • They were in love.
  • The air conditioner was broken.
  • He is evil.

Did you catch the common element in each of these examples? Each included a form of the verb “to be,” i.e., is, are, was, and were. These aren’t action words, and because they’re not action words, they reduce your writing to telling rather than showing.

2. Use Sensory Language to Describe Effects

Anton Chekhov, Show Don't Tell: "Don't Tell Me the Moon Is Shining; Show me the Glint of Light on the Broken Glass." Quote

Anton Chekhov once said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

In the example above, instead of telling you it was raining, I mentioned the cold sloshing of water in Claire’s shoes that was the effect of the rain.

Sensory language is the key to telling because it allows readers to imagine what’s going on in the story.

In other words:

  • Don’t tell us that coffee is brewing. Describe the aroma.
  • Don’t tell us the air conditioner is broken. Describe the sweat pouring off the characters as they fumble with the thermostat for the fifth time in an hour.
  • Don’t tell us a character is evil. Describe the character taunting the person imprisoned in his basement.
  • Don’t tell us she was happy. Describe her bright smile and the sparkle in her eyes.

Vivid Description Requires Show, Don’t Tell

Imagine a character smelling the aroma of a mocha cappuccino and the steam rising to their face, soon followed by eyes closing and a slight smile.

This is the power of engaging your reader’s imagination and creating an immersive story experience.

More Show, Don’t Tell Resources:

What story have you read that uses description well? Share in the comments below.

PRACTICE

Spend fifteen minutes writing a scene in which you describe effects without mentioning their causes. Here are some causes to include to get you started:

  • It’s raining
  • It’s at night
  • Your character is happy

When you’re finished, post your practice in the comments below. If you share a practice, make sure to comment on the practice of other writers as well.

About Guest Blogger

This article is by a guest blogger. Would you like to write for The Write Practice? Check out our guest post guidelines.

  • Christine

    Kelsey limped forward, wincing with every step and cursing the tree branch that had let her down. She paused mid-step as a particularly sharp pain shot through her ankle, but the man following her jabbed her in the back with the barrel of his rifle.

    “Keep movin’, lady. The boss is antsy. We got no time to dawdle.” Then he let out a cruel laugh that sent Kelsey’s fear factor gauge skyrocketing.

    She gritted her teeth. If that rotten branch would have held her for five more minutes, her pursuer likely would have gone on, searching elsewhere for her. But no, it had to break when he was beside the tree, dropping her right at his feet.

    Why had this man followed her into the woods, anyway? And who was this “boss” he talked about? Her mind wanted to leap ahead into various ‘what now’ scenarios, but she refused to follow. One thing she could not see here was a hopeful outcome. Not with his rifle poking into her back.

    No, this guy wasn’t following her to inform her she’d just won the lottery.

    • Great job. Kelsey’s limping and wincing automatically led me to picture some sort of injury to her leg. I could really feel her pain after learning she fell from a tree, which you alluded to without telling us she fell until the end, i.e. “the tree branch that had let her down.”

      Definitely curious about where the story goes next. Thanks for sharing.

      • Christine

        Thanks, Tom. I’m great at starting things but poor at finishing, so I haven’t got a clue where the story goes from here. 🙂

        • I find myself there all the time. Outlining helps me a lot, but I don’t always stick to it.

    • juanita couch

      I liked your story. I am left wanting to read more and find out what the scenario is.

      • Christine

        Thank you. Who do you think “the boss” should be?

  • Pingback: Guest Post on The Write Practice - The Whisper Project()

  • Helene

    ROUGH HANDS

    San Diego Witness

    Rough hands on my body startled me awake. “What the hell are you doing here in my apartment?”
    I sat up in bed, the flimsy nightgown rearranged itself around my body in
    complete disarray. I tried my best to fix the damn thing, oh the hell with it,
    I left it alone. My cast itched like crazy, and I tried to scratch it, but of
    course couldn’t reach the part that itched.

    “Listen
    Dearie, I own this apartment, and of course I have the key, so tough shit if
    you don’t like it.”

    “What
    happened, why are you here?” I got out of bed, realized I was shaky and sat
    back down. “Well, answer me?”

    “You
    were having a nightmare; I heard you inside my apartment. You were yelling your
    head off, screaming like a banshee. I thought someone was in here trying to
    kill you.”

    I
    finally noticed the bat in Esmeralda’s hand. “Was I talking?” I held my breath and
    reached for the inhaler on the nightstand.

    “Nah,
    just yelling your head off and twisting and turning in the bed.”

    Esmeralda walked into the kitchen and
    brought me a glass of water.”

    “Thank
    you.” Feeling more in control now I lowered my voice, “Sorry I yelled at you,
    you scared the crap out of me.” Gratefully, I drank the water in two gulps.

    “So
    what Dearie, you scared the crap out of me too.” Her glance told me she was
    about to question me some more. “So, why
    are you having nightmares in the first place?” Esmeralda grabbed the empty glass
    and put it into the dishwasher. “So, you got a husband after you or worse?”

    I glared at
    Esmeralda and said quietly, “What could be worse?”

    “I
    don’t know, so I figure maybe you are running away? Yeah, Dearie, I’m right,
    aren’t I?”

    Her
    laugh sounded like a cackle to me and I got goose bumps. Was Esmeralda guessing,
    or did she know something. Did she belong to Witsec? Did she know Joe? I’m
    getting paranoid, I yelled, “Get out Esmeralda, I need my sleep. “I rubbed my
    eyes hoping she’d get the hint and leave. “I’ve got a job interview tomorrow
    morning, or this morning, I mean, and I have to pick up my car.” Why had she
    told this busybody this much information? The woman irked her with all her
    questions.

    I
    couldn’t go back to sleep. The clock read 5 a.m. Oh well, it was 8 a.m. in New York City. I
    yawned. Did Esmeralda lock my door, I ran to the door to make sure it was
    locked. Of course it was locked, Esmeralda said she had the key.

    • I could really see the scene here. You had several details that brought me into the story. The rough hands. The cast itching. Reaching for the inhaler. The bat in Esmerelda’s hand. The drink of water. Goose bumps.

      All great stuff. Thanks for sharing.

      • Helene

        Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I’m glad you liked my story, it is part of a larger story.

        • It sounds interesting. Good luck with it.

  • Stacy Smith Aannestad

    A good way to avoid the “show, don’t tell” issue entirely is writing in Deep Point of View. So that second sentence could be “Cold water sloshed in Claire’s shoes as she raced to her car in the driveway.” You avoid the “Claire felt …” thing, which can yank the reader a bit out of the story, or at least put a distance there.

    • That definitely helps. Thanks for reading and sharing.

  • An excellent post, Tom. I’ve heard “show, don’t tell” most of my writing life, but this is the first time I’ve read anything on how to accomplish that! Thanks for the tips!

    • That’s great, Carrie! It probably helps that I’m a high school English teacher, so clear explanation is key. I’m glad it helps.

  • manoj

    It was a day for which I was so hopeful. I was sitting on a bench in front of my house .My friend came and called me for coaching but I refused , because I don’t want to miss the little moment of this happy ness which fill my heart with a great energy , which I experienced by looking at cloudy weather outside . surely the day came for which I was waiting and that day clouds together and looks like the lord of rain itself was very happy and moment begin with small tiny droplets and didn’t stop till it reaches its peak

    • juanita couch

      You might add a few words after “I was so hopeful” such as “was finally here.” Happiness is the corrected spelling. I liked the anticipation of the rain soon to fall.

    • I liked the mention of clouds outside, which definitely points to rain. You had a few instances of telling that could be expanded a little more. Instead of just mentioning the friend calling, maybe actually bring the friend into the scene and have an exchange of dialogue. “[T]he little moment of this happiness which fill[s] my heart with a great energy” could be dramatized instead of just told to us.

      Thanks for reading and sharing.

    • Meagan Brooke DeVries

      Love the piece, well done. ^^ One thing I’d say is instead of telling us they’re happy in this sentence: “My friend came and called me for coaching but I refused, because I don’t want to miss the little moment of this happy ness which fill my heart with a great energy.”

      You could say “My friend came and called me for coaching but I refused. This feeling inside me made my heart surge with a great energy and I didn’t want to lose it by going to coaching. For once my eyes were alive and I felt like the dancing droplets on the ground.”

  • Allyson Vondran

    James grinned as he rushed from his work complex doors. Cheeks aching as water droplets splattered against his coat. He gave a faint thought to his leather brief case but then shaking it away as he stared at the sky. The full moon glinting off of the eighteen stories of windows. being owner came with a lot of responsibilities, causing his marriage to fail and his kids to never really get to know their father. It had only been a month past when the idea came to him. James knew a way to get his family back but it all depended on his wife, Amelia. Opening his car door he ran his hand over the sleek outside. Lights glimmering off of it. Pulling his phone out he tossed his brief case into the chair next to him and pulling out a phone. He was going to get his family back, his business could fail as long as he had her.

    • Christine

      I’m curious to know that plan he came up with!
      Editing:
      The “his work complex doors” in your first sentence is a bit awkward and I think you’ll have to do something about your sentence fragments. Here are my questions and suggestions for the first three sentences:

      James grinned as he rushed from the door of his work complex. His cheeks ached (from what? grinning so hard or the wetness?) as
      water droplets (maybe say rain?) splattered against his coat. He gave a faint thought to
      his leather brief case (being ruined) but then shook it (the thought?) away as he stared at the sky.

      • Allyson Vondran

        Thank you for the feedback! I’ll have to work more on my sentence fragments, especially when describing things. His plan was going to be to start giving his wife everything they wanted as kids. Slowly he was going to remind her of the years that dated through out college and high school then he was going to lead her through a sort of scavenger hunt and remake their first date. By the end of all of this he was going to take the family on a trip to possibly Paris where he would propose on the Eiffel Tower.

    • Excellent. You did a great job of bringing me into the story. Loved the mention of the light glinting off eighteen stories of windows.

      This was a great beginning of a story. Will you plan to write more?

      Great job. Thanks for reading.

      • Allyson Vondran

        Thank you! I sort of just wrote what came to mind.

        I might write more. I’ll make sure to consider it!

        Excellent writing by the way!

        • You should definitely write more! Great job.

          And thanks 🙂

    • Eliese

      I can see some things very well in this piece. I liked the lights glimmering off the car that reinforces that it’s night. I also liked how you listened to peoples comments and changed it to coat, but now I feel cheeks aching is awkward with drops splattering on his coat. Why are they aching?

      Also, it could help to break up the paragraph to make it easier to read. Perhaps with dialogue or by simply making a new paragraph.

      This is interesting and would make for a nice longer piece as well.

      • Allyson Vondran

        Thank you for the excellent feedback! Sorry about the cheek aching bit. I should have mentioned that it was because he couldn’t stop smiling. I’ll keep your advice in mind when I next write something.

        I will definitely work on the paragraph spacing.

        I think I might make this longer. I’ll have to see, but thank you very much! I most certainly appreciate it!

  • Eliese

    Deep drops of water stream down my face. For once they aren’t salty tears but refreshing droplets from heaven. I fall to the ground, the rough cement scratching my knees.

    “Thank you, God.” I whisper towards the moonless sky. “Oh, thank you.”

    I am filled with peace. I leave my impromptu outdoor cathedral. Hospital lights glitter in puddles as I make my way inside to give my child a kiss. And tomorrow another.

    • This was a great showing of emotions. In fact, you didn’t even need to mention “I am filled with peace” because I understood it just from the character’s actions and dialogue.

      Great job. Thanks for reading and sharing.

      • Eliese

        Thanks for reading Tom! I’m glad you felt the emotion. I put peace in there because, in my mind, it was a peace from God, but what you said makes sense and is much appreciated. 🙂

    • Christine

      Good piece. Only in the last sentence you throw us abruptly from the present into the future with no verb to cushion our fall. Maye you could say, “And tomorrow I’ll give him/her another.”

      • Eliese

        That’s great! I did feel off when writing it as well, so thank you. That will help.

  • juanita couch

    The wave of wind washed the wetness onto the waiting guests at the door. They pounded harder and shouted in unison, “Open the door. We’re drowning out here.”
    “A little water won’t hurt you.” I yelled back as I threw the door open to my waiting guests.
    “There are towels in the bathroom. Help yourself. This is quite a storm.”

    • Great little snippet of a scene. I could see the people outside as the rain kept falling down on them in their desperation to get inside. One thing I would change is the word “wetness.” Maybe something like “drops of water.”

      Thanks for reading and sharing.

      • Christine

        I agree. Good scene, but “rain” or “drops of water” would be better. And wind doesn’t usually “wash” water onto people — that sounds awkward. “Blew” or “tossed” maybe; “sloshed” even, if it was really coming down.

  • Ezra Heilman

    This was a helpful article, but one thing that irked me as a linguist was the section titled “Identify the Causes.”

    What bothered me was that not all of those instances of the verb “be” in your examples are equivalent. In some of those instances, “be” is the helping verb required to form the progressive/continuous tense. In others, it is functioning as a linking verb connecting a subject to a predicate complement.

    That’s not to say I’m disagreeing with you that there are better ways to write all of those verbs. But I wish you’d differentiated between the different functions. Are you recommending that writers not use the progressive/continuous aspect in writing? Or are you just admonishing the use of “be” as a linking verb, in lieu of other more flavorful linking verbs, etc.?

    I feel that I see this a lot in creative-writing forums. Recently, I submitted a piece to a workshop in which another writer claimed that every instance of the verb “be” was a passive-voice sentence.

    • Hi, Ezra. Thanks for reading. I’m actually a high school English teacher, so I understand your frustration.

      I didn’t specify the difference because, for the purposes of just this post, it wasn’t really necessary. In each of the examples I gave, whether it was the rain or someone being happy or attraction between two people, I just wanted to make the point that there are more descriptive ways to describe those things without just mentioning the causes.

      Typically, you should try to use stronger verbs than ones that require “to be,” but every writer has a different style, and there’s nothing wrong with using “to be.”

      Not sure why that other writer thought every instance of the verb “be” was a passive-voice sentence. Forums can be a good place to get encouragement and correction, but sometimes you get advice that’s just incorrect.

      Thanks again for reading and sharing your thoughts. Good luck to you.

    • Christine

      They always throw the baby out with the bathwater. It’s human nature. 🙂
      But “She broke his heart” doesn’t fit there.

  • This is a great post! I’m editing a novel and have been worried about doing too much telling and not enough showing… I’ll definitely keep all of this in mind!

    • Great. Glad I could help. Good luck on the edit.

  • Danushka Labuschagne

    Thanks Joe!

  • Portia McCracken

    Um…just thought I’d mention that “She broke his heart” does not belong in the list of to be verbs.

    • Good catch. I’ll have to fix that. Thanks.

      • Portia McCracken

        I should have added my thanks for this very helpful post (other than that one small oversight). So thanks!

  • Pingback: Awesome posts for writers | Taylor Grace()

  • Tom, this is a great post! Thank you for the crystal clear examples and applications of your principles. I appreciate the very practical approach to writing instruction.

    Have you ever heard of E Prime? It’s a method of writing that completely excises all forms of the verb “to be” from the language. The philosophy underneath it is kind of esoteric, but the basic principle is to remove distance and unreliability from the narrative voice. I thought of E Prime when I read your example.

    Thanks again.

    • Hi, Shanan. Thanks for reading. I haven’t heard of that. I’ll have to check that out. I wouldn’t suggest removing all instances of “to be,” but it definitely helps to use stronger verbs where you can.

      Thanks again!

  • Ann Stanley

    I understand your point, and it’s an important one, but I find your example lacking in clarity. Water could slosh in Claire’s shoes for many reasons. Perhaps the river overflowed due to a tsunami, or a sewer main broke, and that water stinks and contains bits of human waste. If rain pounds down hard enough to fill the street, she will dip her head and run to her car. Thus, I want both the rain and her wet feet, not just one piece of information, in order to form a picture of the scene and why and how it impacts your character.

    • I agree. You would need more context to know for sure that it was rain. I wanted to keep my example down to just a sentence. Thanks for reading.

  • Meagan Brooke DeVries

    The street lights blinked in the still air as bugs whacked
    into the light above. A boy who wore a hoodie dawdled along the path with his
    hands in his pockets. His head bobbed up and down to sounds only he heard. A
    shiver ran up his spine, so he crossed his arms tightly around his chest and quickened
    his pace with the smell of his father’s cooking wafting from the distance.

    • Kristen Browning

      Love that description!!!!

      • Meagan Brooke DeVries

        WOW thank you, that’s really kind 🙂

    • Excellent description. Loved the part about his head bobbing up and down. I could really imagine the music he was listening to. Great job. Thanks for sharing.

  • Danushka Labuschagne

    Shawnee stood on the splayed staircase outside
    Shawnee stood on the splayed staircase outside with wide eyes, her mind deathly quiet as she watched the backup crew prep the cars for Exodus. Everything from fuel, oil, water, and tire pressure was thoroughly checked. The sadness felt, created a heavy weight in her heart behind her ribs. She stared at the black iron gates ahead. At the crack of dawn, it would be the last time she’d pass through them into uncharted territory. All things familiar would become all things lost once again. She lowered her gaze and pressed her lips together, the heaviness in her chest swelling like heated metal. Fort Knox had transformed itself into a home for her. With one lingering look at the backup crew, she slowly turned away to make her way back up the stairs. She couldn’t bear to watch them hunched over open bonnets and listen to their mumbled voices, all of which only rubber-stamped the finality of her last night here with bold red letters.

    • You have me wondering what’s going to happen next and what brought your character to this point. Great job.

      • Danushka Labuschagne

        Wow! Thank you so very much!!!

  • yiro abari

    Beyond the window pane, the darkness is thick, and I can’t
    see Neighbor’s hut. The awning drones. It sends rivulets down the eaves. I feel
    like a rock band is playing around the house. I wrap myself in the sheets, as
    uncommon coziness pulls the lids over my tired eyes.

    • Great description of how hard the rain is coming down. Thanks for sharing.

  • sylvia jimenez

    Even before Katja opened her eyes a familiar warmness spread across her chest and though she wasn’t fully awake, the beating against the window meant it was okay to stay under the covers for just a few minutes more. She knew that her brand new leather brogues would today be replaced by the wellingtons waiting outside the front door.

    • Excellent job mentioning the shoes. That was a great little detail that pulled me into the scene. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pingback: Writing Tips: Good Fiction, Content Marketing Topics, How to Show and Not Tell()

  • Naomi Quezada

    The lights flickered in the house as she sat in her reading chair taking in her newest novel. She looked up seeing if the lights would waver again. She placed a bookmark in her book then stood from her chair her back protesting from sitting for so long. She stepped behind the chair pulled back the curtain, right then she heard howling outside and saw the trees waving back and forth. She peered out the window looking down the street everyone appeared to have their lights still on. The walk way was full of water she really needed to fix the slop there so it would stop doing that on nights like tonight. Tomorrow she will have to be jumping around trying to miss the big puddles so as not splash on herself. The streets were deserted everyone taking shelter where it was safe and dry. She looked to the sky right then a big streak of light graced the sky followed by boom. Beginning to count like she always did since she was little girl, “one thousand one, one thousand two” Boom followed by more light. She left the window and began to prepare just in case, gathering candles and some matches. She even made fire for extra precaution, didn’t want to be caught in dark and cold. She could hear the pounding now on the roof, it was really coming down,
    more howling, boom – boom, it was going to be a big one.

    • Wow. This was really good. Excellent description of the rain without ever mentioning the word rain. I loved the part about her counting. That was a great detail to add to some already vivid description. Great job. Thanks for sharing.

  • I’m determined

    She read Tom Farr’s words about the telling of experience. Of the aroma of the brewing coffee. Her nostrils flared. She rose. She barely noticed as she strode across the room. She heard the click of the kettle. A hand’s breath away from the appliance she felt it bubble with rising heat as her left hand rose of it’s own accord to take down the box, then the hunt for a sharp knife. A puff of powdery cappuccino rose, tickled her nostrils. The tube crackled as powder poured into her mug. Steam surged from the kettle spout. She filled her mug, stirred the mixture and carried it back to the computer desk.
    She sat and sipped. ‘Ouch! That’s hot.’ She took a gentler sip. ‘Ahh.’
    She gently placed the mug down, and took a real look at her coffee. Then at the computer screen. ‘I hadn’t intended to get a coffee for at least another hour,’ she told Tom Farr. ‘Yet you’ve convinced me of the power of suggestion, of immersing my readers into my stories.’
    Another sip. ‘Ahh, that’s it. Back to work.’

    • Haha. Excellent. Now I want a cup of coffee. I loved how you communicated the heat of the sip she took through her dialogue. Excellent job. Thanks for sharing.

  • My room has a biting chill. I knows that from the countless days I have spent staying in here, afraid to go out into the world, afraid to face my fears. I lie to myself that I have gotten used to the coldness, but whenever the the drops of water outside patter noisily against the panes of my windows, I cannot help but feel the icy caress of a ghostly wind.

    But today is different. When it rains it pours, yes, but today is different. The bed is warm, unlike those other days. Heat washes over me every time I consider it, not the heat of having her beside me, curled up next to me lovingly, every touch of her skin feeling like a tingle, but the warmth of knowing that I have someone with me, like falling into a tub of hot cocoa on a Winter night. I move my arms over her and she scoots closer. A cute moan rumbles from her chest and it sends the tingling sensation through me again.

    My mouth moves, my lips pulling apart to the sides. I realize that I am smiling, and I sigh gently. The warm breath undeniably kisses the back of her neck, waking her up.

    “Aren’t you asleep yet?” she whispers.

    ***

    I am supposed to be studying for a paper but I had to write this first. I incredibly love this website!

    • Excellent scene description, Cedric. I definitely felt immersed in the scene. Thanks for taking time away from your paper to share 🙂 Great job.

  • Marilyn Cullen-Reavill

    Cedric, I love the description of the cold and the warmth of the love you share.
    Well here is my practice section.

    I drag my limp legs up the front porch steps missing one and
    almost falling. As I approach the door I run into Mandy’s princess trike. Damn
    it is dark out here. I love Laura even though she is a genuine space cadet. She
    never remembers things like telling me when my boss calls, giving me my mail,
    or leaving the porch light on. As I fumble with the key in the door I think of
    how nice it will be to pour a glass of her favorite wine and slip into bed
    beside her. Even though I will barely have enough energy to kiss her on the
    cheek and tell her I love her.

    “Oww.” Man that table is sharp. No hall light? Usually she
    always leaves that on. I move a few feet to the lamp and fiddle with the switch
    back and forth, back and forth. No light. What the helL? I feel warm breath on
    the back of my neck and hear a click in my ear.

    “Welcome home, Mr. Martin. You need to do exactly as I say
    in order to see your gorgeous wife and sweet, little daughter again.”

    • Wow! That was intense. I want to know what happens next. This was really good. Great immersion into the scene. Really hoping Mr. Martin’s family ends up okay. Thanks for sharing.

      • Marilyn Cullen-Reavill

        Thanks for the feedback. I really enjoyed the exercise. It just seemed ripe for a mystery crime scene, but to be totally honest I have not written in that genre.
        Can’t wait to read more of your blogs.
        Best
        Marilyn

  • EnetteVenter

    Ooh this is great just what I was looking for. I’m editing one of my novels right now and it seems like this is my biggest problem.

    • Thanks for reading. Good luck on editing your novel.

  • Anon

    This was helpful for me, except I found your first example very unclear ‘Claire felt the cold sloshing of water in her shoes as she raced to her car in the driveway.’ Suggests she just stepped in a puddle, not that it’s raining. It’s a bit confusing for people as it completely changes what is being said.

  • Pingback: Last Weeks Links For 10/12-10/17 | B. Shaun Smith()