Thursday, March 1, 2018

My Journey to a Book Contract - Part 5 Show Don't Tell

by Elva Cobb Martin

Show/don't tell is a biggie for us writers to master, and I keep working at it, believe me. Randy Ingermanson has helped me a lot. Here is an excerpt from his blog archive at

How to Show/Not tell 
by Randy Ingermanson

 1) Action: Anything your characters do, shown in real time. 
  • Jake swung the bat into the kidnapper's head.

 2) Dialogue: Anything your characters say, shown in quote marks.
      "Take that, you scurvy dog!" Jake shouted.

3) Interior Monologue: Anything your chracters think, whether a verbatim record of the thought or a mere statement of it. Verbatim thoughts are often shown in italics, whereas indirect thoughts never are.
    And if you ever touch my daughter again, you're dead.
    What were these idiots thinking, to mess with the daughter of a Navy Seal?

4) Interior Emotion: Anything your characters feel. This is best done by showing direct physiological reactions which can be interpreted as emotions.
      Another rush of adrenaline boiled up in Jake's stomach.

5) Description: Anything your characters can see, hear, smell, taste, or touch.
     Two gunshots range in quick succession. The bare light bulb in the basement exploded in a burst of darkness. Cold air rushed over Jake like a river. He smelled gunpowder so strong he could taste it. The small red dot of a laser aiming device raced across the floor toward his feet.

What has helped you show/not tell? Please leave a comment and share this blog on your social media by clicking on the icons below.

Be blessed today,

Elva Cobb Martin is vice-president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels contracted with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both have spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site,on  her blog
Twitter; Facebook;  and Pinterest
Link to her romance novels and non-fiction works on Amazon:

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