Sunday, July 22, 2012

Show Don't Tell

At a writer's conference in Tucson a couple of years ago I showed some of my work to agents and publishers.  In general they liked my work, but kept telling me Show Don't Just Tell.  Since I heard that from more than one source I accepted the criticism but didn't really understand it.  At least I didn't understand well enough to just sit down and do it.  Today I found, finally, a really good book called The Emotion Thesaurus, A Writer's Guide to Character Expression.  The authors are Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.
 The book begins with the best article I have yet to find on Show Don't Tell.  I think I got it!  Here is a link to the post where I found this article.

The writers index 75 emotions, from Adoration to Worry, with feelings like Remorse, Rage and Relief, and 70 others in between.  Click on an emotion and you will find a lists of Physical Signals, Internal Sensations, Mental Responses, and Cues of Acute or Long Term experience with that emotion.  A real help in better Showing and in avoiding cliches.

Also today I would like to recommend a great Blog called Crime Fiction Collective, Essays, reviews, and updates on thriller fiction and digital publishing.


  1. Hi, Dennis! Wow, thanks so much for your heartfelt endorsement of The Emotion Thesaurus. You have no idea how excited I am when I see this book doing what we always hoped it would do: helping writers. Best of luck in your writing!

  2. Dennis, I am thrilled the book is helping you strengthen your writing--thank you so much for the kind shout out!

    Wishing you all the best and heaps of success,

    Angela Ackerman

  3. And thanks for stopping by Crime Fiction Collective, Dennis! We hope you'll check back there often. Also, my own blog,, is full of great advice for fiction writers. My craft-of-fiction articles appear regularly on 6 different blogs. Today, I have an article on Voice in fiction, up at DP Lyle, MD's blog, The Writer's Forensics Blog. I look forward to seeing your book in print!

    1. Thanks to all for the friendly comments. I too am looking forward to seeing this book in print. Saw a first proof of the cover today and am excited about that. Manuscript in final copyediting. Getting very close. Bunch of small things left, but none that will take much time.