plot / writers tips

Writer’s Tip #33: Convey Descriptions in Action

When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.

Today’s tip: Whenever possible, put descriptions in action rather than narrative.

Action is exciting, pulls the reader in. Narrative is passive, safe, allows the reader to put the book down and take a break.

For example:

Not The cabin had a two car garage.

Instead, We pulled into the open space in the garage, beside a dented Jeep Cherokee

Not: She wore a flowered dress and matching yellow shoes

Instead: She looked cold in the flowered dress and the drizzle had ruined what might have been matching yellow shoes.

The latter is more interesting and conveys more information about what’s happening.

–Click to have Writer’s Tips delivered to your email box

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersCisco guest blog, Technology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is  editor of a K-8 technology curriculumK-8 keyboard curriculum, creator of two technology training books for middle school and six ebooks on technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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5 thoughts on “Writer’s Tip #33: Convey Descriptions in Action

      • Yes Jacqui, action is better even than ‘showing’ as it gives ,much more information for the readers to ponder on and help them see the situation in their own world – in their own interpretation i.e. make them active, alert and intelligent readers. Thanks for the tip – I will attach it next to the ‘show, don’t tell’ notice. Arun


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