NaNoWriMo Tip #5: Show, don’t tell.



Because your goal each day of National Novel Writing Month is a word count, it's very easy to fall into a common trap: writing long passages of narration or exposition.

In other words, telling your readers, either via a narrator or the omnipotent third person, what is happening to your characters.

Do yourself a favor and FIGHT this temptation. 

Why? Because what you're doing is "telling," not "showing," your readers.

Instead, craft your scenes with dialogue. It is much more interesting to your readers to have your characters talk to each other. 

No doubt, narration or exposition is also important: for adding atmosphere, for setting up your scenes, for describing where the scenes take place, or how the characters look or feel.  

And it utilizes takes more words than dialogue.

But if your characters don't verbalize their thoughts to each other, they aren't interacting normally.

For the majority of us, telepathy isn't a human trait: all the more reason your characters need to open their mouths to express their feelings.

If you're having a hard time moving from tell to show, pretend you're writing a play. What dialogue would you add to each scene? 

Snappy dialogue. Snarky asides. Anger. Heartfelt revelations. All of these expressed emotions make scenes come alive, and make your readers laugh with — or more importantly, fall in love with — your characters. 

This NaNoWriMo first draft may not be on par with Arthur Miller or Edward Albee or William Shakespeare, but it will go a long way to being completed if it engages readers.

Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? Certainly not you!

(c) 2100 Josie Brown.

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HERE'S YESTERDAY'S TIP…

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One thought on “NaNoWriMo Tip #5: Show, don’t tell.

  1. Great advice and I totally agree in my frist novel I did alot of telling and now I am getting better with the showing whats happening and I have alot of dialouge in my stories now. Thanks my stories are much better and you do getter a better feel for the characters it really does make the story better. This is some of the best advice or at least it was for me!

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