Saturday, January 24, 2015

Showing the World through Words

As writers we interpret the world around us with words. The ability to take life and translate it is god-given talent, something hard-wired into who we are. But it's also a skill and one we need to consciously practice and improve.

How do you improve your descriptive muscles?

"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light..." -Anton Chekhov
Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

I also invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

Don't forget to join the conversation!


  1. I learned early in my journey to show and not tell. I love to bring my readers on a visual journey with me. So I simply refuse (well let's say rarely, since there are times when telling is better) to use words like saw, looked, and felt. I had some really good early crit partners who drilled that into me! lol

  2. Like Ane Mulligan, I learned early to show not tell. The technique that works for me is to show the story world through the POV character's eyes, not mine. Each POV character will see the world differently. This helps my story in three ways--I can show the story world from different perspectives; these different perspectives helps me to deepen the characterization; and the different perspectives force me to be creative, to avoid cliched and static descriptions.

  3. Showing is one of the most important components to a well told story, in my opinion. You can have a great plot and wonderful characters, but if the author tells the story, it can fall flat in comparison to a story that is well shown. Telling leaves the reader on the outside of the story. Showing thrusts him or her right into the midst of it.

  4. I am on my frail wobbly learning legs with writing, but as a DJ I have speak in pictures to my listeners. One of the ways that has helped this is by sharing an emotion in my description. I am so delighted to read everyone's answers here. I feel like I am growing already.

  5. "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light..." -Anton Chekhov. I like this quote very much. Thanks for sharing.