Recently I cleaned out my email inbox and came across an old tumblr post that I sent to myself. I reread it and realized I am still dealing with a lot of what is in the post, namely, expanding my writing by improving on my show don’t tell skills.
Show don’t tell is a bit cliché at this point. If you have spent any time in the writing community, reading writing books, or joining any sort of writer’s group, you will have heard the phrase in one form or another. It is pervasive because it really is good advice.

I used to hate it. I struggled to understand it. My writing partner when I started really taking it seriously, absolutely hated it. She considered herself a storyteller and tell is right in there. It took me a long time to understand the value of the advice.

Never Stop Learning

I wanted to share the post I found here as a reminder to myself, and to help anyone else that might come across it. The long and short of the exercise is not relying on words that allow you shortcut details that make your writing stronger when properly executed. The post provides lots of examples that might serve to fuel your own attempts at showing rather than telling.

In editing my latest novel I thought my use of show don’t tell was substantially improved. It is better. No question. Reading my first book I find plenty of telling issues, while the new book is considerably better. however, I still fall into the trap of using some of the words in the article below and falling into the traps they create. You can always improve and posts like the attached have been invaluable to me.

I do want to point out that I could not easily verify that the quote/advice is actually attributed to Chuck Palahniuk, but it has made me want to read his book on writing titled, Consider This. Perhaps I’ll find it there. Regardless, it is some pretty good advice, no matter who is giving it.

Train Yourself

So what do you think? Does something like this help? What sort of reminders do you use?

For some additional writing wisdom from Chuck Palahniuk, check out this article from

You can also check out some of my latest projects HERE.

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