Rachael Thomas on 'Show Your Reader' #Giveaway

This week we have author Rachael Thomas with a writing craft post of 'Show Your Reader' and there's a giveaway of a kindle copy of her latest release, From One Night To Wife to one commenter!

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Show Your Reader

Throughout the seven years I was writing hoping for publication, one of the comments I received from competitions or my New Writers’ Scheme submission was ‘show don’t tell’ and it’s still something I still watch out for as I’m writing. 
As a writer you want your reader to engage and invest their emotions in your book. You want them to laugh or cry with you heroine or to feel the pain your hero still carries from his childhood. So how do you go about showing instead of telling?

Jane felt nervous.
This ‘tells’ your reader. It doesn’t connect them to your character. It is passive and distances your reader and doesn’t allow them to step into your character’s shoes and feel their emotions.
To convey emotions ‘showing’ it absolutely essential if you want your reader to care, to relate to the situation your character is in. Showing is active, creating images of your characters and their actions in the reader’s mind because it uses the senses to evoke emotions in the reader. After all, we all know what extremes of emotion such as anger, sorrow or passion feel like and once your reader is feeling your character’s emotion, they will be involved and keep turning the pages to see what happens – because they will care.
Let’s go back to Jane. Your reader may want to know why Jane is nervous, but do they feel her nerves as they read those words. Show the reader.
Jane bit down on her lower lip and forced herself to stop pacing across the room as she waited.
This certainly made me feel something for Jane as I wrote it and I wanted to know much more. Who is Jane? Where is she? Who is she waiting for and why is she nervous. I didn’t write the word nervous. I showed it.
Still stuck? Watch a movie. Everything is shown to you. Watch the character’s actions, their facial expressions and how they speak. Feel how they evoke emotions in you, the viewer. That’s what you want to do to your readers.

One Night To Wife
A souvenir from her Greek affair! 

Three months ago, journalist Serena James had her heart broken by a man she'll never forget, especially not the fury in his eyes the night they parted. Now she's back in Santorini to tell him that their summer fling had unexpected repercussions…
Mogul Nikos Petrakis is on the verge of a deal that will make him even more powerful. He doesn't need any distraction—especially not a sexy redhead whose curves beg to be touched! But now that she's carrying his heir, Nikos is forced to make a decision.

It's time to make Serena his wife!

When one night…leads to pregnancy!

Amazon Kindle

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Harlequin US



  1. Great comparison with "show, not tell." The "feel" verb is one of those I particularly look for in my own writing to change to a more showy sentence(s).

  2. You provided an excellent example to demonstrate the difference between "telling" and showing" an emotion. It's something we all have to keep in mind as we write, because a constant litany of telling is going to lose the interest of readers every time.

  3. That was a great example. Great post.

  4. I love the example of watching a film--that's a good idea!

  5. Watching a film is a great tip! I have to watch the telling as well :)

  6. Great example of showing, not telling!

  7. "Watch a movie" - love that tip! Such important advice, thanks so much.

    1. I can always find an excuse to watch a movie Karen!

  8. Wonderful example and I learn a lot watching real people as well as movies.

    1. Yes, people watching is even better. Thanks Medeia!

  9. I just read a book that was WAY too much tell and it was boring. I was thinking, "Can the narrator please stop talking to us and let us actually see something happen?!!!" I think it's a problem many books that try to be literary make. They spend so much time describing the scene and characters (pages and pages) that they bore the audience.

    1. I understand your frustration. Too much telling is boring!

  10. Immersive writing is all about taking us inside the character's rather than giving us a window picture of them. That's how I think of it.

  11. Great example! Show don't tell is something that I continue to work on. I am not sure why it is so hard, but I do less telling the more I write. :) Thanks for sharing!

  12. I also need to work harder on your "show don't tell" writing method. It really helps build suspense.


  13. Sounds like a great story and definitely good advice on 'show and tell'.
    Best of luck.


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