Skip to main content


STOP TELLING us your characters are watching what is happening around them.

Watching is a spectator sport.

Watching, looking, seeing, staring, glaring, in any form, instead of participating in what is happening, is TELLING.


Stop sidelining your characters.

They aren’t in the stands watching what is happening on the field. They are on the field, playing the game, participating in what is happening.  

Don’t TELL us they are watching.
SHOW them participating.  

If they are playing the game, they should keep their eye on the ball.

That doesn’t mean you need to TELL us they are keeping their eye on the ball. It doesn’t mean you need to TELL us they are watching the ball.

Just SHOW what the ball is doing, and what the character does when they see the ball.  

Instead of TELLING:
The batter watched the ball coming straight at his face.

The batter ducked, avoiding the fastball aimed directly at his face.  

SHOW the action.

SHOW the conflict.

SHOW the drama.  

Did the pitcher intend to hit the batter? Why? 

What does the batter do next?

Do they drop the bat, march to the pitcher’s mound, and punch the pitcher in the face?

Do they stand on the plate, shouting obscenities at the pitcher?

Does the coach, and half the team, run onto the field, grab the batter, and prevent them marching to the mound to pummel the pitcher?

Does the entire team rush the pitcher and beat the crap out of them? 

Whatever happens next, your reader, not your character, is watching the action. 

Don’t TELL the reader your characters are on the sidelines watching the action with them.
SHOW the reader what is happening. 
You want to pull your reader into the action, not pull your characters out of it.  

What if your character is a private investigator watching a client’s wife cheating on her husband? 

Instead of TELLING:
The P.I. sat in their car WATCHING the lovers through a hotel window.

Sam Spade followed the dame to the Sea Side Motel. He parked his battered, old Ford across the street. Mrs. Cheater glided into room 103 as innocently as someone meeting their bridge club for tea. Bridge partners didn’t usually greet one another, half naked, in shady motels. Spade adjusted the focus on his telephoto lens, clicking off a roll of film that would confirm his clients worst fears. 

Watching is TELLING.


Don’t BORE your readers.

SHOW the action, the drama, the intrigue, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beauty.  

Keep wRiting,

(DISCLAIMER: Looking lustfully into someone's eyes is occasionally acceptable, but only if you can't think of anything less cliché to say.)


Popular posts from this blog

A Simple Way To Prevent Voter Fraud

Recently I saw an article implying that millions of absentee votes were received from deceased voters. Whether or not we take the shouts of voter fraud seriously, there is definitely a need for debate on methods of preventing future fraud. One of the simplest methods of preventing fraud could be fingerprinting. Why not require a fingerprint at the polls, on voter registration cards, and on absentee ballot forms? I'm not saying we should have to include fingerprints on the ballot. Everyone wants to protect their identities, and the 'sacred secrecy' of their vote. I'm saying we should require fingerprints as part of the identification process already required at the polls. I've never voted with an absentee ballot, but I am certain there must be some sort of identification form that must be filed along with the ballot. I'm certain right-wing extremists would scream it's unconstitutional to require fingerprints in order to cast a vote. Bullshit.

Having an Unhappy, Unproductive New Year

Jan 12, 2018 Twelve days into the New Year and I’ve only written 300 words. I succeeded in writing 50,000 words in one month for NaNoWriMo Nov 2017, and challenged myself to write 50,000 words a month, every month, in 2018. I am not off to a glorious start. I need to write 2,485 words a day to complete 50,000 words in January. I’ll never make it. I just know it. Of course, if I have a few of those 4,000 word days, like I had during NaNo, I just might make it. I blame my lack of accomplishment on the flu. I contracted the demon disease a few days after Christmas, and I am not fully recovered yet. During my convalescence I haven’t felt like doing much more than sleep, eat, and watch TV. I actually started to binge watch The Good Doctor. I’ve heard great reviews on the show, but hadn’t seen it yet. So, I watched the pilot, got all excited about catching up on the series, and realized they skip from S1E1 to S1E7 on Hulu. Argh! Did binge watch Star Trek: Enterpris