One of the challenges of writing a novel is finding the balance between telling the reader what is happening and showing them through the actions and dialogue of the characters. “Showing, not telling” is a technique that involves using descriptive language and sensory details to illustrate the events and emotions in a story, rather than simply telling the reader what is happening. Here are five tips for showing, not telling in your novel:
1. Use descriptive language: Rather than simply telling the reader what is happening, use descriptive language to paint a picture of the scene and help the reader visualise what is happening. This can include using sensory details, such as sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, to make the scene more vivid and real.
2. Use dialogue: Dialogue is a powerful tool for showing, not telling, as it allows the characters to reveal their thoughts and feelings through their words and actions. This can help the reader get to know the characters and understand their motivations.
3. Use body language: Body language can be a powerful tool for showing, not telling, as it can convey the characters’ emotions and intentions without directly stating them. Pay attention to the characters’ gestures, facial expressions, and posture to help illustrate their feelings and motivations.
4. Use setting and environment: The setting and environment can play a big role in the story, so be sure to include details about the surroundings to help set the stage and illustrate the events of the story.
5. Use action: Action is a powerful way to show, not tell, as it allows the characters to reveal their thoughts and feelings through their actions. Consider using action to illustrate the characters’ motivations and desires, rather than simply telling the reader what they are feeling or thinking.
Remember, the goal of showing, not telling is to allow the reader to experience the story and its characters as vividly as possible. By using descriptive language, dialogue, body language, setting and environment, and action, you can help the reader feel more connected to the story and its characters.
Of course, it’s important to find the right balance between showing and telling. While it’s important to illustrate the events and emotions of the story, it’s also important to convey the necessary information to move the plot forward. Finding the right balance will depend on your writing style and the needs of your story, but with practice and careful consideration, you can craft a more engaging and immersive novel.