Show, Don’t Tell

What is the difference between “active” and “passive” writing and how can it make your non-fiction articles and books come alive?

Fiction authors have been given the advice, “Show, don’t tell,” for decades. No doubt every aspiring author has heard this important phrase, yet many seem to stumble over the concept behind it.

“Show, don’t tell” means that the writer acts out what happened instead of summarizing what happened. The latter makes the text dull by throwing away the drama and the forward momentum of the story.

“Show, don’t tell” is the difference between passive writing and active writing.

Active writing is what sells. The author is rewarded with a large readership and income.

Non-fiction writers should take this advice to heart, as well.

To help you understand what this means, take a look at my article, Start With a Story, which includes examples of how to make reader-friendly articles and books.

Hint: “Show, don’t tell” is the secret ingredient in successful query letters to agents and editors.

Copyright 2006 by Barbara Doyen. All rights reserved.

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