Wednesday, March 12, 2014



Immediacy is the lifeblood of good fiction.

“I just couldn't put it down...” is one of the best compliments a writer can receive.
If, as a readier, I am left looking through a window at the action and never permitted to hear, feel, taste, or see firsthand what is going on, I will put the book down.
Good fiction carries the reader away from their everyday world. Good writing draws the reader into the emotions and the lives of the characters. Readers are engaged and keep reading.

How do you Show-Not-Tell?

USE effective point of view plus specific sensory details.

 It takes practice, but by identifying the process in books, you become aware of the language and structure needed to present an appropriate point of view. Eventually, using it will become second nature.

This excerpt, from my earlier misguided and unpublished efforts, TELLS.
John Travis drove Maggie and Joanna to the hospital despite Joanna’s protests. Maggie knew Joanna’s disturbed emotions would have impaired her driving so had backed up John’s insistent offer.

However, this excerpt from Midnight in Paris, by Francine Mandeville SHOWS US THE STORY. It puts us solidly in the heroine’s point of view.

Kendra didn't respond. In fact, she didn't even hear him. Her whole attention was engaged by the sight of Jackson Randall in civilian clothing. One hard shoulder leaned against a marble pillar, and his arms were crossed over the wide expanse of his chest. He was waiting. Clearly, patiently, unmistakably waiting. Kendra felt a rush of exhilaration sweep through her body as she realized from the smile spreading over his face that he was waiting for her.

The immediacy is evident. We see what Kendra sees and we feel her response even as she does. We LIVE the story.

Do you want to engage your readers and keep them coming back for more?

One excellent way to do so is to strengthen your writing with dedicated point of view and specific sensory details. Go back to your manuscript and try it. I think you, and your readers, will be pleased with the results. And please let us know how it works. 


  1. I have had a few reviews that say 'I couldn't put the book down' and the thrill was astronomical. Sometimes I feel I write too 'simple' - but then think - that's my style. Thanks for reminding me to be careful with the new novel I am writing. Telling not showing, is often a book I will set aside too.

  2. "Run... run like the wind little boy in yellow." "Kick... kick as though you're angry little boy in yellow".