Show vs. Tell #RRBC #RWISA

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything related to the craft of writing and this is a subject that we all can use a refresher on. So, if it’s redundant, I apologize. I still see this over and over again, especially with Indie writers. So, for what it’s worth, here we go.

Don't Tell me

If you wonder how can I show something, ask yourself; how do I notice she is quick, he is happy, it is big?

  • Don’t tell me the story…show me, using your words.
  • Place the reader INTO the story. This is especially important in first person POV—but also equally important in third.
  • Use the senses to bring the reader along for the ride. Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste, Smell.
  • Be specific and creative.

For example…One might describe a love interest this way. This is Telling:

  • I watched Jack walk into the room. He was hot; maybe the best looking boy I’d ever seen.

Rewriting the scene by using specificity and the senses, here’s showing:

  • Jack didn’t walk into the cafeteria. He swaggered like the Mayor of Westfield High School, as he shook hands and slapped shoulders. If there had been a baby somewhere, he would have kissed it. Normally, that sort of attitude makes my stomach turn, but not today. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He even nodded at the lunch ladies. When he got to my table, our eyes met for the briefest of moments, and I felt like the only girl in the world.

You can add character detail, voice, and setting at the same time. This is showing.

  1. USE DETAILS (NO – It was a spooky house. YES – The house had dark windows, a doorway covered in cobwebs and an overgrown path leading up to it.)
  2. SIGNS YOU ARE TELLING – Adjectives – big, old, high  etc. and any form of the words “to be.” (She was happy. He was impatient. )
  3. USE NOUNS AND VERBS – Nouns and Verbs FORCE you to describe. (NO – He was a grumpy man. (Adjective) YES – He rarely talked and when he saw kids playing, he let out a grunt.)
  4. USE SENSES – (NO – It was a lush garden. YES – The garden bloomed with wild red and orange flowers that filled the air with a thick sweet fragrance.)
  5. DIALOGUE LINES ARE ALWAYS SHOWING – It’s the character talking, not the author.
  6. BE CAREFUL WITH DIALOGUE TAGS; THEY OFTEN TELL – It’s better to express the way the character is talking with body language. (NO – …she said jokingly. YES – …she laughed and slapped his arm.)

You don’t need to show absolutely everything, especially if it’s not important to move the plot forward. You risk the danger of being too lengthy or detailed. For example, NO three-page descriptions of the woods.

“Telling” is often used to move the action along quickly or relate necessary backstory.

However, you run the risk of “info dump” if you tell all the backstory this way.

When you “show,” you put the reader in the driver’s seat and let them “feel” the scene, emotion or action.

Use a combination of the two, to amp up your storytelling!


  1. Imagine a movie scene in your head. Write all the detail that you see. No “floating” heads of dialogue—be sure to describe where people are standing, what their hands are doing, noises in the room, where they are. Activate ALL the senses.
  2. Use Action Verbs to “show” what’s happening.
  3. Avoid using “was,” “is,” “are,” – All “To Be” words. This is Passive Voice.
  4. Consider investing in “The Emotion Thesaurus” by Angela Ackerman, AND “Emotional Beats – How to Convert Your Writing into Palpable Feelings,” by Nicholas Rossis to get a sense of how physical movement conveys emotion.

You can write your first draft by telling if that’s what you need to do to get the story down, but ramp up all the feels in your story by showing through your subsequent drafts.

Happy Writing! Happy SHOWING!

show vs tell_Mark_Twain



Jonah – Part 7

Last week, we left Jonah and Tidus in the midst of a horrific and sudden rain storm that erupted when Jonah questioned Tidus about his father. Let’s join them and see how they fared the storm.


Jonah snatched up his meager possessions as the deluge beat down unrelenting, on the crudely made hut.

Water ran in streams, washing everything in its path down toward the murky waters. He had no time to waste. He dug the jerky out of the ground and tossed it along with the books and his other belongings into the burlap bag.

“Can you make it stop?” He yelled at Tidus.

Tidus sat dazed, his eyes rolled back in his head. He chanted words Jonah could not understand. The fragile walls of the hut began to collapse around them.

Jonah reached for Tidus, slung the burlap bag over his shoulder and ran. The rain blinded him. He stumbled over tree roots and briars.

Where to go?

Jonah pulled Tidus along. His need to protect the kid was strong. Tidus remained lost in some sort of trance.

Finally, Tidus pulled back. He reached into his pocket and withdrew a large Amethyst Crystal.


He raised it to his forehead and chanted in a rumbling voice unlike any Jonah had ever heard. “Bay of old and sun so bright. Clear the mist of clouds at night. I, son of Drake, beseech you. Dispel the darkness, bring the light.”

Almost as quickly as it started, the pounding rain stopped. Black clouds parted, and bright sunshine reflected off remaining droplets on branches and leaves.


“What in the hell just happened?” Jonah exclaimed.

Tidus placed the gemstone back in his pocket and shrugged.

Jonah turned in a full circle. “That’s all you’ve got? A shrug? My hut is destroyed. What am I going to do now?”

“Sorry,” said Tidus. “Perhaps you shouldn’t mention my dad again.”

Jonah mumbled. “You can bet on that one.” He stomped off in the direction they’d come. When he cleared the trees, he gasped.

His hut was intact. Only it was larger and sturdier than the original. And, it even had a door.



Jonah’s head swam. How could that be? He’d watched it collapse around him. Surely he was having a wild dream.

Nothing made sense.

And, a newly delivered burlap bag sat nearby.

Tails (Silver Wishes Book 1) by Wendy Scott #RRBC #RWISA


Tails    wendys-picture1-10



Heart-stopping, tail-dropping adventure from award-winning children’s author WJ Scott.
FINALIST in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards UK 2017 9-12 yrs.
Sometimes loss is the only thing that saves you.
Last summer during the dreaded hunting season, Kywah lost his tail, his magic, and his value as a Silvertail. Now the hunters have returned and he’s terrified. Especially when he recognizes Samsa, the very hunter that cut off his tail, and ruined his life.
But when the pack becomes trapped in the foothills with no escape, Kywah realizes he’s their only hope. Without a tail, he’s worthless to the hunters and their wizard masters. If he can escape, he can find help for his pack. All he has to do is locate the Wise One and retrieve the Deep Magic.
Which would be hard enough even if he still had the magical tail sense his kind are born with. But what choice does he have? If he doesn’t take the risk, his pack will lose everything. And because Kywah knows exactly how that feels, he can’t let it happen.


A story that includes fairies, wizards, magic, mythical creatures, and a heart-stopping adventure. When the Hunters captured young Kywah and cut off his tail, he was sure his entire life was over. After all, the tail was the pride of every Silvertail. Not only was it a sensory tool, but a status symbol and held their magic. But Kywah had survived the brutal attack for a reason.

The hunter sold Kywah’s tail to an aging and decrepit Wizard who was intent on regaining the power and magic he once had. Using the tiny bits of silver he harvested from the tail, his hope sprang high that he would once again capture the magic he needed to take back his power. When the Wizard offers to pay top dollar for as many Silvertails as the hunters can harvest. Kywah’s clan, and all other Silvertails are placed in grave danger.  The one thing that would save the Silvertail clan was the “Deep Magic” that could only be attained from The Wise One. Kywah volunteered to go. After all, he no longer had a tail and the hunters would not seek him. My heart broke for this youngling over and over as he struggled to save his clan, risking his own life. When he was captured, I chewed my nails. When he met Buster Boy, the Labrador Retriever, a friendship formed that would bond the two for life.

If you love a story with Gypsies, fairies, magic and plenty of tension and adventure, you are going to love this book. These sweet animals stole my heart in their struggle for survival.


Wendy Scott is an Award-Winning author who resides in New Zealand. She is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB AND THE RAVE WRITERS INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS.

You can learn more about Wendy HERE

Follow Wendy on TWITTER      FACEBOOK


Jonah Part 5

When we last left Jonah, he’d been driven into the water by a multitude of hissing green snakes. His body was covered with wounds from the stinging nettles and thorns and he’d lost Tidus. He’d simply disappeared into a crevice in the earth and the snakes had blocked Jonah from following.

Jonah spent the next two days nursing his wounds and scouring the area where he’d seen Tidus disappear. It appeared the earth had simply swallowed him up and left no traces.

He kept a wary eye out for the snakes that had blocked his path. Had he imagined the entire event? He’d heard stories about men going mad. Maybe he was now one of those men.

After another day of searching. to no avail, he hid from the brutal mid-day sun inside his makeshift hut. He hoped that Tidus would make another appearance. He wouldn’t let him slip away this time.

His gaze landed on the discarded books in the corner. He reached for “The Four Agreements” and opened it. What the hell? He didn’t have anything better to do with his time.

The opening page read, “To the Circle of Fire; those who have gone before, those who are present and those who have yet to come.”


Jonah puzzled over the reference to the Circle of Fire. He remembered a time back on the mainland when he’d hidden in the woods and observed a group of scantily clad women dancing around a fire, uttering chants and incantations. He grinned at the memory. All he’d thought about at the time was undressing the one with the golden hair.

Chapter 1: “What you are seeing and hearing right now is nothing but a dream. You are dreaming right now in this moment. You are dreaming with the brain awake…”

A dream? Well, I don’t like this dream so I’m going to change it, Jonah thought.

He read farther. Before he knew it, the sun sank and the sky turned a bright red and orange. How had he lost hours in this book? And, what was the big deal about reading it? Most of it was common sense about keeping your word and not taking anything personally. These were things living on the streets had taught him.

But, one thing the book didn’t cover was fear. It was fear that had kept him alive. He’d earned a reputation over the past few years. Everyone within his path learned to respect and fear the “Wrath of Jonah.”

He closed the book, stepped outside his hut and stretched his muscles, enjoying the rippling strength beneath his skin.

Tomorrow he would search more closely for the caves Tidus referred to. Tomorrow he would find them. Another world existed on this island of terrors and somehow Jonah knew it was nothing like the world he was trapped in.

The low growl of a fanged beast drew his attention. He reached for his dagger only to realize he’d carelessly left it inside the hut.


The beast lunged forward.

Author, A.M. Manay – Hexborn

general graphic

Please join me in welcoming RRBC  and RWISA Author, A.M. Manay to her sixth stop on a blog tour to spread the word about her new upcoming novel and Kindle Scout nomination request!

The Religion of Hexborn

Yesterday we talked about the more political side of religion in my new fantasy novel, Hexborn, currently live for nominations on Kindle Scout.  Today, we take a look at the more personal and spiritual side of religion in the world of Hexborn.

From Hexborn:

She fingered the bronze medal around her neck, the talisman of the Mother.  She reached into her pocket to touch Brother Edmun’s prayer beads, its semi-precious stones worn smooth from his years of use.  The familiar words moved on her lips as she silently repeated an old prayer.

Blessed Mother, keep me in your arms. Bid the Elder to cover me in wisdom.  Bid the Father to protect me.  Bid the Maiden to walk with me.  Bid the Youth to cheer me.  Bid the Babe to smile upon me.  Most of all, dear Mother, fill me with your courage, that brings forth life into this wicked world, that I may walk in the way of the Holy Family, all of my days.


Devising an imaginary religion was one of the most enjoyable parts of writing Hexborn.  I’d like to share a little with you about the beliefs and practices of my characters, and how I developed the imaginary religion that permeates their world.

I’m a big fan of ritual.  I’m also a regular churchgoer and with an interest in European history.  I grew up Catholic, became a Presbyterian, and married into a Hindu family.  A lot of diverse influences came into play as I began to play around with defining the faith and the church that are such important parts of main character Shiloh’s life.

I decided I wanted a pantheon but one with a manageable number of gods.  Rather than having them associated with natural phenomena like many ancient gods, I wanted them to cover the various aspects of the human experience.  I was struck by the pagan idea about maiden, mother, and crone and built on that.  That’s how I wound up with a Holy Family whose members range from old age to infancy: the Elder, the Mother, the Father, the Maiden, the Youth, and the Babe.

The church in Hexborn has a celibate priesthood consisting of both male and female wizards of middling ability.  The priests not only govern the religious life of the common people, but they also help to enforce secular laws, especially in the more remote rural villages.  Most people are particularly devoted to one of the Gods and are dedicated to one of them in infancy.  There are scripture stories and festivals dedicated to each of the Gods.

My protagonist, Shiloh, is especially devout.  She takes great comfort in the rituals and stories of her faith.  They help her to carry the burdens of her painful medical condition and her ostracism.  She is in favor of King Rischar’s recent religious Reforms because they eliminated the Cleanliness Laws that deemed her Unclean due to her congenital ailment.  Her relationship with the Gods is strong, but her relationship with the church is complicated.  I suppose that is true of many people in real life.

Have you ever been struck by the role religion plays in a fictional world?  Please tell us about it in the comments.  And please do head over to Kindle Scout and nominate Hexborn for publication.  If it is chosen, you’ll receive a free copy!  Thanks much, and happy reading.

Hexborn Cover


A.M. Manay is an award-winning fantasy author in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also a former inner-city chemistry teacher, a wife and mother in a multi-racial family, a lover of comic book movies, a Lupus warrior, a Clerk of Session, and a 9Round enthusiast. She loves to write page-turning stories with complex, diverse characters who inhabit interesting worlds.

Book Link for Scout Campaign

Author Links for A.M. Manay





Twitter: @ammanay

For anyone who leaves a comment EVERY DAY of her blog tour, you will go into a drawing for an autographed paperback of her YA FANTASY NOVEL:  “HEXBORN.”

This tour sponsored by


Flowers and Stone Re-Edited! #RRBC #RWISA

A HUGE thanks to Nonnie Jules for announcing the new and improved version of my first book, “Flowers and Stone!” via Let’s Play Follow The Leader – @rijanjks #RRBC #RWISA

Catch a ride on the Holiday Train! #RRBC


The RRBC Holiday Train Book Trailer Block Party keeps right on rolling, but it’s making a pit stop here at my blog today!


All you have to do is follow the link to my brand new Book Trailer Video on YouTube, leave a comment, like and share to be entered in a giveaway!


Prizes up for grabs:

$10.00 Amazon Gift Card

eBook version of DISCOVERY – Poetry and Art by Rick and Jan Sikes.

So, grab a cup of coffee and a Christmas cookie and take a look! coffee and gingerbread house

And don’t forget to follow the tour each day for great trailers and more chances to win fantastic prizes. Just click HERE to follow the tour!

#RWISA Rising Writer, D.L. Finn

Each month at RAVE WRITERS INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA)  a Rising Writer is recognized.

Congratulations to November’s Rising Writer, Author, D.L. Finn!

She has written children’s books, poetry, a memoir and now a paranormal romance.

Check out a one minute video clip showcasing her work HERE

D.L. Finn is an independent California local that encourages everyone to embrace their inner child.

She shares that she has always best expressed herself in the written word. She explores what is going on inside herself and her characters–how things aren’t always what they seem. She learned that lesson a long time ago with a difficult childhood. She applies this to her work. She believes a message of courage, hope, and wonder is needed in a world where there seems to be less acceptance of it; when it’s easier to embrace fear, hate, and anger, instead.

Her latest book, “This Second Chance” is proof of how diverse D.L. Finn is as an author.

The Blurb:

Newly married Rachael Battaglia finally had it all. The only detail that stained Rachael’s perfect wedding was a gift she received. It was the exact present that her late ex-husband had given her on their wedding day — a snow globe. That marriage was not what she had envisioned, and she endured years of his abuse and charm until one night she escaped with two kids and one on the way. Now Rachael was headed to Hawaii with an amazing man and her chance at happiness. Unbeknownst to Rachael, she had an Angel on her side, although this Angel might not be able to save Rachael and her family from the evil that surrounded them. This is a tale of love, past relationships, things unseen, and redemption. Will Rachael find her happy ending, or will this evil thing get its way?

This Second Chance eBook Cover

Take a peek at ALL of D.L. Finn’s Books on Amazon!

Follow D.L. Finn

Twitter:  @dlfinnauthor



When someone reads and leaves a review for one of my books, I am always moved. But, this review from D.L. Finn made my eyes misty.

Here is her review on Amazon:

“This is the final book in the fictionalized true-story of Luke and Darlina Stone. The story continues where it left off in “Home at Last” for Luke and Darlina. The remarkable journey of this couple comes full circle when music reenters their lives. I loved that Darlina (and their daughter) joined Luke on stage. It was beautiful to read the process of this couple creating music together. I felt every emotion reading “’Til Death Do Us Part”, especially knowing it’s the real story of the author– and it was the last book. I was heartbroken watching the decline of Luke’s health, but was amazed, again, at how strong their love was. When I hear an owl hoot at night it will always remind me of this couple’s unwavering love. A beautifully written series I highly recommend.”

Thank you to D.L. for the kind words! Please visit the original post on her BLOG.

Christmas is coming! If you’d like an autographed copy of TIL DEATH DO US PART, visit my website.

And, of course, this book can be purchased on Amazon

You can find out more about all of my books on my website





This is an elite group of authors founded by Nonnie Jules for the sole purpose of introducing the literary world to some of the top INDIE Authors!  These writers are consummate Professionals, dedicated, committed and driven to continually excel at producing the best-written works possible.

Each month a RISING WRITER is featured.

Michelle Abbott was chosen as the Rising Writer for October and I am honored to introduce her and her outstanding work.

Please visit the Rising Writer page on the RWISA site for a sample of her unique writing style.

For this blog, I want to revisit my review of a book by Michelle I read last year, JEM.


on September 12, 2016
The scars of abuse run deep from childhood into adulthood. Jem has those deep scars that he struggles to hide behind fierce anger, violence, and brute strength. Never again would he take any abuse from anyone.
He’s had one true friend in life, Devon, whom he called ‘Angel’. She held him and comforted him when he cried or was afraid. She was four years his senior and to a four-year-old who knew nothing but abuse, she was truly that angel.
When he was fourteen years old, he had a red-headed angel tattooed on his arm to always remember her by.
How could he know she would show up in the oceanside town where he lived? And what a disappointment that she didn’t recognize him? In fact, she seemed afraid of the violence she saw him administer. But, somehow he knew that his angel would eventually recognize and love him again.
This is a romance of the deepest kind – from childhood into adulthood. When Devon, Jem’s angel, shows up in the town where he lives, running from an abusive boyfriend, fate had to throw them together. Both are broken in their own ways and desperately need each other without knowing it.
I loved this story and couldn’t stop reading until I reached the end. I couldn’t wait to turn the next page to see what happened next. Of course, I knew they would eventually wind up together, sharing the same love they’d shared as children, but the plot twists along the way kept me reading. This is a great love story from Michelle Abbott and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a character-driven story.
Please take time to visit Michelle’s Author Page and show your support!  
Visit Michelle’s blog
Find her on Twitter
Find her on Facebook
Find her on Pinterest