Posted in 📚 Writing Tips 📚

3 Ways to Use Show, Don’t Tell RIGHT NOW

As a beginner writer, I like to have clear & practical advice that I can use RIGHT NOW to improve my stories.  I found that these 3 simple tips allowed my writing to shine boom! right away.

1. Change “to”

This one is about keeping the flow of the story going in the reader’s mind.  When a character reaches out to grab a cup, it is just not the same as if they reach out and grab a cup.

~ 🌸 Example 🌸 ~

“She leaned forward on her tippy-toes to kiss him gently.”

“She leaned forward on her tippy-toes and kissed him gently.”

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Which sounds better to you?  Which one flows easier?  Find a “to” in your story and try it!


2. Add a quick thought to show emotion

Like great.  Or damn.

I love to pepper my stories with this one.  Instead of writing “she was upset” or showing it through actions, sometimes I just add a little thought in there.

~ 🌸 Example 🌸 ~

“She needed to know if the rumors were true.  She found his profile, and the little thumbnail with his face popped up.  She clicked right on his smirk.

Damn.  It’s private.”


I found that using thoughts like this is a great way to get the reader closer to the character.


3. Take out “when”

“When” slows down the story, and makes it feel really, really told.

~ 🌸 Example 🌸 ~

“But when she tried to run for the door, Bob stopped her.”

“She bolted for the door.  Bob lunged for her, arms out.  His fingers raked the back of her shirt and grabbed the hem.  ‘Gotcha!'”


Consider which one of those two would sound better in an action scene.


All these tips are from the AMAZING book Understanding Show, Don’t Tell by Janice Hardy.  This book is full of applicable tips that you can use, right now, to improve the quality of your writing.

I absolutely love this book.  With just a few changes, my writing improved considerably.

Write on,

Yari Garcia

🌸 🌜🌸 🌜🌸 🌜🌸 🌜🌸 🌜🌸 🌜🌸 🌜

Amazon (non-affiliate) link to Understanding Show, Don’t Tell

Barnes & Noble (non-affiliate) link to Understanding Show, Don’t Tell



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4 thoughts on “3 Ways to Use Show, Don’t Tell RIGHT NOW

  1. I agree with all of these. In beta reading, I’ve found that the “when this happened, this happened” sentence structure severely bogged down the flow of a scene.

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