Great Ways to Show Instead of Describe

Describing places and people is so much fun. We can build these wonderful characters and make them so real to the reader. But it’s easy to fall into the trap of explaining instead of showing.

Let me give you an example of what I mean:

  • The brunette peered into the mirror. Her red lips that had a natural pout to them, and her big green eyes were the talk of every man she passed. Her skin was flawless. She wore a purple shirt of the finest quality. Her jeans were the perfect cut for her figure.
  • The road was covered with heavy, overgrown oak trees. The grass had a faded appearance at the edge of the shadows leading to the trees. A house sat just beyond the little dip in the drive at the end of the trees.

You can picture this lady and the scene with ease, yet it’s a bit flat. It sounds okay at first glance, but look deeper. This kind of surface writing dulls your work and slows the pace of the storyline.

Want to see an improvement? How about this?

  •       Jack studied the brunette. “Those pouty lips and big green eyes aren’t going to get you my tickets. You should’ve gotten here earlier.”

                Well it might work on any other man she passed, but he was different.
        She drew close to him. “Come on. The ticket holder promised them to me. I…I couldn’t get here sooner.”
                He tried to ignore the plea in her eyes, and did his best not to trail her figure with his eyes. Her well cut jeans and very tailored shirt didn’t mean a thing to him. “Sorry.”
    

  •      Brenna hunched low as she passed under the low tree line then laughed at herself and shook her head. Fear had no place in her mind right now. Yet she couldn’t deny the death of the grass as it edged toward the drive her little Pinto crawled over.

              A glimpse of white indicated the house that seemed to move further away as she pushed the vehicle forward.

It’s as simple as putting your descriptions into action. Make them visible through another’s eyes as seen with Jack. Or show them by using action words to dictate what the reader is seeing.

So have fun with your writing. Find ways to bring it alive and entice readers to keeping reading using this simple technique.

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