Showing vs. Telling. Almost every writer has heard or read about it on an editor's blog, an agent's tweet, a critique partner's comments, etc., but what does it mean?
We, as writers, are called storytellers--however, if we do a good job of showing our stories, the reader empathizes with the characters. That's one of my goals. I avoid "filter" words since they tend to distance the reader from the character and the story. Some common filter words are forms of feel, see/watch, hear, know, smell, and think. Yes, the senses.
Which of these examples gives a better connection to the character?
1) Jane heard the pitter-patter of feet behind her in the dark.
2) The pitter-patter of feet behind her warned Jane that she wasn't alone in the dark.
3) Callum watched the enemy approach from his lookout high in the trees.
4) The enemy's approach came as no surprise to Callum from his lookout high in the trees.
5) She felt his arms close around her and knew she was in big trouble.
6) Strong, masculine arms closed around her. She was in big trouble.
7) He could smell the flowery scent of her soap as he pressed closer.
8) The faint scent of flowers teased his nose as he pressed closer. Had she used his sister's soap when she bathed?
9) She thought he might kiss her, but he released her.
10) Was he going to kiss her? His sudden release brought a mix of relief and disappointment.
Do you see the difference? The second sentence in each set shows rather than tells, giving the reader a more vicarious experience. Showing also provides the writer with the opportunity to expand description, vary sentence structure, and add to word count. Find the right balance to show your story.
Next up--The dreaded adverb!
Romance...With A Kick!