Mistake 20: Telling, Not Showing

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit

Why this is a mistake: This is the classic writing instructor’s line: “Show, don’t tell.” Telling is easy. It’s appropriate if you are a newspaper reporter or a technical writer, or if you are writing an instruction manual. If your job is simply to tell the facts, then tell. But telling is rarely entertaining, and most forms of creative writing are designed to be entertaining.

The solution:
Think of the maxim “Actions speak louder than words.” The same is true when you write. Don’t rely on exposition to convey the crucial parts of your story. Instead, use action to illustrate dramatic moments and infuse your scenes with tension and emotion.

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