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Sunday 1 May 2011

Don’t Explain. Express.

There is a fundamental adage that most writers learn when starting out called ‘Show Don’t Tell’. 
Instead of telling your reader that the character was, say, angry, you write a scene that give them the opportunity to fling plates and throw punches. Instead of saying something was scary, you create a situation that fills the reader with fear.

Applying this advice makes passages of writing that are dull, leaden, secondhand, opinionated, even painful, immediately take wing.

Readers don’t like to be told; they’re far more connected and appreciative when they’re engaged in working out what’s going on for themselves.

As in writing, so in life. When we focus on voicing or demonstrating our own needs, joys or challenges, instead of taking the easier way of telling or judging or persuading others, we find actions, experiences and relationships that felt dull, leaden, secondhand, opinionated, even painful, suddenly take wing.

Don’t explain, express.

Orna Ross: Go Creative! It's Your Native State.

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