Show, Don't Tell

Effective writers must observe carefully. From those observations, readers infer meaning. One of the ways we cheat our audience is to make inferences for them. “He was mad,” tells the audience. When I read that, my thought is, “I don’t believe you, show me he’s mad.” Instead I would rather read, “His nostrils flared, his teeth clenched, and his eyes bulged like Ralph Kramden’s.” (If you don’t get that last allusion, ask someone over 45). The key here is to rely on sensory observation and let the audience create the picture in their minds.

Back to "Great Storytelling"