by author Rayne Hall
Do you find yourself constantly TELLING the reader what your character feels/felt, thinks/thought, wonders/contemplated, realizes/realized, considers/pondered, or understands/understood instead of showing them?
Then your manuscript desperately needs the "Slimming Diet"!
Showing vs. Telling
If the point of view is established, you can SHOW the thoughts and feelings without TELLING the reader. This will make your writing tighter and the pace faster. It’s also considered deeper POV. Primarily, you want to strive to “SHOW” the reader the character’s emotions, not “TELL” them the specific emotion that the character is feeling. “TELLING” tends to be a more distant POV, which separates the reader from the story and the character’s reactions.
The words listed above are considered TELLING words that are vastly overused in fiction. These words are considered BIG no-no’s in the publishing industry. And most importantly, these words can red flag a writer as an amateur, and in most cases, they should be removed.
In some occurrences, you can use an alternative word, or revise the sentence into SHOWING instead of telling. Obviously, you can’t delete or change all of your sentences, but do your best to edit out most of them and tighten your prose.
Once you become aware of these “TELLING” words, you can avoid using them and strengthen your narrative. In other words, trim the fat!
You can use this simple revision trick to slim down your manuscript, and shed unwanted
pounds words without
affecting the plot. It will help correct most pacing problems, improve your individual
voice, and pull readers
further into the story without author intrusion.
Use this handy technique to revise your sentences into SHOWING instead of telling. Below are some examples of sentences before and after the slimming diet.
She realised that she was trapped.
She was trapped.
He understood that Simon was a traitor.
Simon was a traitor.
He felt a chill run through him.
A chill ran through him.
She became aware of a feeling of sadness that swept through her.
Sadness swept through her.
She wondered if she would ever get out.
Would she ever get out?
She pondered the situation. How could she free herself?
She must find a way to free herself.
While thinking to himself, he pondered the difficult situation he was now in, and wondered how he could possibly rescue her.
He would rescue Jessica. Or die trying.
Most times, using “TELLING” words is unnecessary and they will slow the pace. Make your sentences more powerful and vital by eliminating (slimming) these offenders from your narrative. (Avoid author intrusion, which reminds the reader that the protagonist is the one experiencing the adventure, and not the reader.)
Once the POV is established, there's no excuse. Slim down your manuscript, and kill the wondering and pondering.
About Rayne Hall
Rayne Hall has published more than thirty books under various pen names, and has stories written in different genres, including fantasy, horror, and non-fiction. Her fiction titles include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Volume 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), and nonfiction titles: Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes.
She holds a college degree in publishing management and a master’s degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits for the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies.
Her online classes for writers are intense, with plenty of personal feedback, and they are suitable for both intermediate and advanced authors.