Today I am not blogging about book marketing. Shocking, I know! Instead, I am posting about writing mechanics. So, here we go!
This is a direction often given to writers to write in a such a way that allows readers to “experience the story through a character’s action, words, thoughts, senses, and feelings rather than through the narrator’s exposition, summarization, and description.” Source: Wikipedia
While you are writing and editing your work, search for the following words and see if you can improve your sentences by eliminating many of the following words.
Print this off and keep it handy! (If you haven’t started editing yet and it’s your first time, trust me, you’ll thank me later!)
Words to Watch Out For:
- Felt / Feel
- Heard / Hear
- Saw / See
- Knew / know / had known
Use Active Voice, Not Passive:
Style of writing that helps to show, not tell!
Words to Check:
(remember in the ‘find’ feature to check the ‘find exact match’ box for words that are only two or three letters long)
- To be
- Have Been
- Also: Past Participles (verb form often ending in -ed)
Other Weak Words:
I found myself starting off a lot of dialogue with “So, …” and “Well, …” and “Oh, …” which are really not needed.
- As if
Jill Elizabeth Nelson presented some great before and after examples in her article “On With the Show; Off With the Tell“:
Instead of writing, ”He thought a good bath wouldn’t hurt the dog”,
write, ”Whew! A good bath would do this dog a world of good.”
Instead of, ”She feels a sinking sensation in her middle,” write, ”Her stomach drops to her toes.”
Instead of, ”He knew that if she did that, she’d fail,” write, ”If she did that, she’d fail.”
Instead of, ”She wondered how she would get through the next day,” write, ”How could she possibly survive the next day?”
Instead of, ”I wished I hadn’t said that”, write, “If only I hadn’t said that.”
More in depth articles on Show, Don’t Tell:
Does anyone else have other advice or words to watch out for?
I have been doing line edits this week, so this has been on my brain.
Best of luck to everyone!