on The creative Penn:
Writers are told to ‘show not tell’ almost as frequently as they’re told to ‘write every day.’ In today’s article, Gila Green explains how to go further than just our basic senses.
The most useful way to show what you want to say is to tap into the five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing and get into the ‘why’ behind each sense.
In other words, you must ask yourself why does that particular character notice the hot waiter in the restaurant, while the other only smells the overuse of bleach in the room, while still, a third can’t drown out the exacerbating pop music in the background?
Once you can answer that question, you can show your readers what they need to know about each character. You simply choose the correct sense you need to get that information across to your readers.
If you choose the right sense, you will have successfully shown not told the reader.