It’s the classic: show me don’t tell me.
It’s also a cop out in your writing. Oh, sure, it’s factual too. The sun is indeed shining. Are the birds chirping as well?
- The sun is shining.
- The grass is green.
- There are few clouds.
- The sky is blue.
- There might be trees in the distance I’m not sure.
Can you imagine if all descriptions were written this way? “The sun shone on the street. The street was black. I walked on it.” Wow, how enthralling.
Good writing incorporates feelings and touches as many senses in the reader as possible.
Look at this next picture. Let’s try to write a scene in it by appealing to the five senses: touch, sight, taste, hearing, and smell. Whenever you are describing a setting you should include at least two senses. Here’s my scene, you can post yours in the comments:
The cold air forced its way through my jeans and leggings. My sneakers, obviously not meant for walking a mile in snow, were soaked through to my feet. My feet squished with every step and cold water kept my toes decidedly numb. In the distance, amidst the storm, I saw a street light. My shoulders warmed at the idea of being out of the darkness and I made my way to the bench beneath the light.
So let’s see… I’ve appealed to sight, touch, sound. I could always mentioned the crisp smell of snow and have my narrator eat it for the last two. You’ll also notice one other key fact about my brief passage:
THERE ARE NO THOUGHT VERBS!
There was no instance of “I feel cold” nor “I thought about getting warm,” but the reader knows the narrator is cold. I showed it was cold. It’s much more effective than telling you.
SPECIAL NOTE: While I am pursuing my Masters degree in Writing I have decided to re-post my Writing Tip Tuesday posts in order to help keep content flowing and my workload lowered. As always-if you have a question about writing or an issue you would like me to address feel free to email me about it at JessicaMary87@gmail.com. Thanks for following!