Show, Don’t Tell: How to Write the Stages of Grief

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! Well, I should start calling it Social Media Treasure Thursday since I keep finding my articles on sites besides Twitter, but whatever. The point is to find useful writing tips and share them with you, so I will!

Today’s article (thanks to Pinterest) focuses on a task most of us writers find difficult to achieve: Getting readers to feel. 

As an avid reader myself, I tend to have three different reactions to an author’s attempt to move me: 1) Sniffle and cry. 2) Shrug indifference. 3) Roll eyes and snicker. Obviously, all writers hope to elicit the first reaction. But, let’s face it, writing genuine emotions (especially grief) and getting readers to believe them is tough!

Thankfully best selling author, Ruthanne Reid, provides us with some great tips in her article, Show, Don’t Tell: How to Write the Stages of Grief:

The power of story largely resides in its power to evoke emotions. Our favorite works all tend to follow that path. We read about a heroine who succeeds against impossible odds, and we are bolstered by her courage. We read about the ridiculous antics of a teenage boy who’s too smart for his own good, and we share both his embarrassments and his triumphs.

Empathy is the ultimate form of “show, don’t tell.”

To read the entire article, click here! Also, if you’d like to read some examples of stories that, in my opinion, evoke genuine emotions, consider these ones: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. If I Stay by Gayle Forman. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. (If you have others to recommend, leave a comment!)

For more useful advice, follow Ruthanne Reid on Twitter!

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Unforgettable Writing: Use all 5 Senses to Add Emotion

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! Today’s gem comes from @OrlyKonigLopez, the founding president of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. In her blog post, Unforgettable Writing: Use all 5 Senses to Add Emotion, she offers great advice on how to “show” your story, rather than “tell” it. This is something I’ve always struggled with as a writer. Finding ways to make a story 3-D, rather than 2-D, isn’t always easy. However, after reading this post, I’ve learned the easiest way to overcome this writing hurdle is to rely on the 5 senses. 


Don’t just paint a nice visual picture, use all 5 senses.


I know, I know, as a good writing soldier you’ve been holding tight to the “show, don’t tell” rule. And writing is, after all, about drawing a visual picture. So yes, you’ll still be writing mostly visual descriptions. But, make sure every word counts. Include only what strengthens the image and look for fresh ways to describe things.

▪ Instead of white sand, sand like iridescent crushed pearls

▪ Curly hair can become corkscrew curls that a character has the sudden urge to tug and watch them bounce back

To read the entire post, click here!