Ask The Editor

The basics: show, don’t tell

Read the following two statements:

A. “Be grateful for what you have.”

B. “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

Which paints a picture in your mind? Which is more persuasive? Which is likely to stay with you after you leave this page?

The first tells the reader to adopt a point of view. The second shows the reader why. It stirs the emotions. It doesn’t preach and yet is more effective at getting the same point across.

Don’t tell your readers what’s important. Show them with vivid scenes that demonstrate the effects of actions on characters they care about.

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