3 Ways Writers Can Instantly Spot Telling

3 Ways Writers Can Instantly Spot Telling

3 Ways Writers Can Instantly Spot Telling

Show, don’t tell is a broad concept, which is why one rule doesn’t cover it all. It’s subjective, and each telling instance found in your writing must be evaluated in context.

Does this sentence sound like telling? Is this scene explaining too much? But if you look at only the text, you risk missing “told prose” in your writing, since a sentence that technically shows can feel told. It’s important to examine the different levels of telling so you know what to look for.

Here are three.

1. Telling at the Sentence Level

You’ll find most telling at the sentence level. Most of these types of tells can be caught by searching for common red flag words, such as because, since,  or when.

Keep in mind “tell” is subjective. A sentence can tell and still read and work fine. It’s up to you to decide if the sentence would be stronger with or without the telling. Such tells include:

  • Telling That Explains

These explain the reasons why characters feel or act as they do. They also sneak in when you fear the text isn’t clear enough and you have to explain information so readers “get it.”

  • Telling That Summarizes

These tells take a shortcut by summarizing instead of dramatizing. They often read as though someone is watching the scene unfold from the sidelines, giving a general overview of the action. They might even sound like a summary you’d find in an outline instead of a novel.

  • Telling That Conveys Information

Many tells exist only to convey information the characters would never think (or have reason) to share, such as world-building details or character backstories. They often sound too self-aware, or read as if the author was jumping into the story with a mini-lecture.

2. Telling at the Paragraph Level

If the told prose is explaining or summarizing a situation, the telling can affect an entire paragraph or even a page. You’ll find these tells most often when you pull away from the point-of-view character and start describing what’s going on from afar. These told sections can read like a summary of the scene in your outline. It might even read as if you planned to do more, but never got around to it.

  • Info-Dump Telling

An info dump often drops in the reasons why something is important in the overall world or setting of the story. Infodumps focus almost exclusively on information relating to the world. This is information readers “need” to understand the story.

  • Backstory Telling

These tells explain the history of a character, place, or item and why it’s important. Frequently, they’re more extensive than an info dump, sometimes using flashbacks and long internal monologues to reveal the often unnecessary history. Backstory tells focus exclusively on the histories of the characters, explaining why characters are the way they are.

3. Telling at the Scene Level

Telling doesn’t stop with summarized paragraphs. It’s possible to tell an entire scene. These are some of the sneakier types of tells, because writers rarely think to look for told prose at this level. This is a scene that contains important information, but in which you don’t show the scene unfolding.

The most common scene-level tell are flashbacks. They use an entire scene to dump history or explain backstory, since showing the scene might actually stop the story. Flashbacks are particularly tricky because they’re often shown, but they’re still telling readers information.

What’s annoying about these tells is that technically, they’re not traditional tells. They just read as though the author is summarizing or explaining events in the novel while nothing is happening on the page. Readers get bored, skim through them, and complain nothing happened in the novel. Since these scenes look like solid, functioning scenes, authors are left scratching their heads and wondering what’s wrong and why no one wants the book.

What Are You Trying to Tell Your Readers?

No matter where you find your told prose, before you revise it, take a step back and consider: What are you trying to tell your readers? Once you pinpoint what’s important and what needs to be conveyed, you’ll be better able to choose how to show that information. Look for ways to:

  • Suggest motives through what a character does, says, or thinks.
  • Show character backstory by choosing details and actions that had an influence on someone who lived through that history.

Show, don’t tell is a troublesome beast, but it’s a tool like any other. If you think about how you want to use it and what you’re trying to say, you’ll have a much better sense of how to convey that information to your readers.

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Understanding Show Don't Tell Janice HardyCheck out my new book, Understanding Show, Don’t Tell (And Really Getting it), and learn what show, don’t tell means, how to spot told prose in your writing, and why common advice on how to fix it doesn’t always work.

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Comments

  1. Janice Hardy says:

    Thanks so much for having me here today!

  2. This gives me a list of things to look for when I look at my own work. Thanks!

  3. I appreciate your ideas about different types of flags to watch out for. Even after multiple revisions, I continue to discover telling in my MS and need to determine each time if it’s serving a useful purpose.

    • Janice Hardy says:

      And that’s exactly why it can be such a pain. It changes on how it’s used, so we really do need to judge each instance separately.

  4. This is something I am constantly catching in my writing so these tips are sooooo helpful! Thank you!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Janice!

  6. So hard to see it in my own writing yet I can spot it in my critique partners’!

    Sometimes reading out loud will help me, as in “Doesn’t it sound like I”m Telling you something?!”

    • Janice Hardy says:

      Reading aloud does help. I have friends who do that. I thin it’s easier to spot in others because we know what we “meant to say” even if it doesn’t come out perfectly.

  7. Great post! Showing and telling are things I struggle with a lot as a writer. This helps a lot.

  8. Great details to look for. I’ve found in editing a critiquing many authors do a great job of showing, but they don’t trust themselves or the reader, so they tell too. I hadn’t thought of flashbacks as telling, but if they don’t have an immediate impact on plot, they would be. Thanks.

    • Janice Hardy says:

      Thanks! Lack of trust is a big reason for telling. We just want to make sure our readers get it. I think there’s a lot of “fringe telling” like flashbacks that can add to a told-feeling manuscript, but get missed since it’s not telling the way we expect. It’s really more of a tone than the words used.

  9. I love the point about suggesting character motivation via dialogue and action, vs. telling. It reminds me of something I learned in film classes, about a school of thought that says even with the sound off you should still have an idea of what the characters are doing and thinking. The teacher called it “mit out sound,” but I gather that term might be an urban legend of filmmaking.

    I’m not a visual thinker, but the “mit out sound” concept cracked the code for me as a writer, and helped me to enliven scenes. I stopped saying “he’s angry” and instead had him stomp in and fling the door open so hard that the knob dents the wall.

    I made it a game with myself, to see how many details I could convey about a character or a place, etc. without “telling.” You’ll know the technique is working when readers accurately refer to a character as “nervous,” in a scene, or say a house is “opulent” etc, and you never flat out used those words.

    Tim Burton played with that “mit out sound” concept in “Ed Wood,” in a particular scene between Wood and Bela Lugosi. If you mute the volume, you think Ed is threatening Lugosi, and that Lugosi is in fear for his life. If you turn on the sound, it turns out Ed is trying to keep Lugosi from killing himself.

    It occurs to me that combining your advice and Burton’s flipside could be perfect for writing a red herring that makes readers think one thing is happening in a scene when really something else is going on. As in, showing body language and dialogue that suggests one character is flirting with someone, but in reality she’s just passing on secret codes, or a threat, etc.

    • Janice Hardy says:

      Urban legend or not, it’s exactly describes show vs tell. Great examples of how writers can use this to their advantage. It’s much easier to give the “wrong” impression without lying or tricking readers when we let them assume the wrong thing 🙂

      • Watched a new short film named “Echo Torch” on Youtube today. In the whole 17 minutes, not one word is said, but it still communicates well.

        • Janice Hardy says:

          Those are always great examples of how to do compelling stage direction and action. I like silent movies for the same reason.

    • Right here is the reason why I always read the comments section. “Mit out sound.” I ought to carve that into the freakin wall that my writing desk is pushed up against. The perfect line to sum up this Show and Tell.

  10. Another great article with detailed information.

  11. Isabelle Crusoe says:

    I’m having problems with the “show don’t tell” cause if I change the sentence “It was a cold, fall morning” to “Little white huffs of smoke appeared before me with every breath.” and so on..

    Am I not TELLING the readers that little white huffs of smoke appeared when I breathed?
    I’m still telling them something, I’m just not telling them that it’s a cold morning.

    How far do we go with the “showing, not telling thing?” Cause we’re ALWAYS telling them something. We’re actually telling them a story, not showing them one.

    We do paint pictures with words, but honestly, aren’t we just telling them what the picture looks like?

    • The word ‘appeared’ that you use is in past tense. And showing is dramatizing the immediate. So maybe change it to ‘appear’? And cross out the ‘before me’? So:
      “Little white huffs of smoke appear with every breath.”
      Keeping an eye on the tenses we use can help us see when we are dramatizing the immediate (showing) or just being our detailed selves (telling). Hope this helps.

    • I can agree with this to an extent. As always, I think there is a balance to be considered here. Sometimes, don’t you need to get on with it? As one response here mentions, tense does matter.

      For example: “It was a dark and stormy night.”

      I mean really. Sometimes telling something cut and dry matters for the pace of the sentence, the scene, the story. As mentioned in the article, it’s situational, and that is why every case is not met with the same rule.

      It’s – also as the article says – about what you want to tell the reader. Do you want to throw the setting right on the table, get it out of the way, and get on with the plot? Or do you want to tell the reader about the cold air filling the lungs of the POV character, the icy mist forming at her lips, the goosebumps rubbing against the inside of his sleeve, or the chills running up the spine and forcing a shudder? Is this setting more necessary to simply note for plot purposes, and the atmosphere isn’t really intended to be shaped by it?

      The balance between showing and telling is an ongoing battle. One of many for us writers. It’s a case-by-case situation. When it doubt, write it down in both ways, and see which fits better. Your instincts ought to tell you, if you’ve gone that far with it.

      I think it also depends on the type of POV you are using, and the type of narrative.

      Hopefully this helps 🙂

    • Janice Hardy says:

      Yes, which is why this is so frustrating a topic. It’s also why I like to say “explaining” instead of telling when I teach this, because it’s a little easier to understand.

      And there are times when telling is better than showing, which only makes it all more annoying. Which is why I wrote a book trying to help writers figure this whole thing out (grin).

      “It was a cold, fall morning” is perfectly fine. It’s not the most exciting sentence, and it does tell readers the weather of the morning in a generic way, but most readers won’t get hung up on this sentence. The trouble comes when most of the sentences in a scene or paragraph (or novel) follow this level of generic, basic explanation. Put several of them together, and the scene feels told because there are no details to bring it to life and paint a more descriptive picture.

      “Little white huffs of smoke appeared before me with every breath” is more descriptive, but to me, it feels just as told as the generic one. It’s explaining how the breath appears and why. But again, some readers will say this is told and others won’t (there are so many factors that go into this).

      What feels shown are descriptions that don’t explain how or why something is happening, it just shows it happening. Such as, “Breath frosted the air” or “Cold wind stung my cheeks.” Give details that suggest “cold” but let the reader think “it’s cold” by what they observe in the scene.

      Hope that helps clear it up a little better for you 🙂

  12. “What are you trying to tell your readers?” is such a good question to ask. That’s all it boils down to in the end. What am I trying to communicate? What does my reader need to know right now? Thank you for this post.

  13. Great and easy-to-comprehend explanation of a concept I feel very few writers really understand.

  14. A certain amount of telling may be necessary at times. The trick is not to overdo it. The place I see this the most often is in James Bond movies, where the villain goes on and on about his plans. The movie comes to a dead stop at that point. The movie The Incredibles called this “monologuing.” That’s something you don’t want. They had a great answer for that. When Syndrome, the villain, starts going on and on about the plans, Mr Incredible picks up a tree branch and throws it at him. Syndrome stops the branch and says, “You sly dog, you caught me monologuing!” Do something like that when you’re getting off on a tangent. Restart the action.

  15. My biggest “telling” struggle comes when trying to present backstory. I try to limit as much backstory as I can, and throw out pieces only as needed through the scene, but it’s one of those traps that are so easy to just fall into.

    Thanks for the helpful post.

    • Look for Katie’s posts on subtext. Those show an excellent way to handle backstory that doesn’t involve telling, and actually add fun for the reader to figure out what the backstory actually was.

    • Janice Hardy says:

      Backstory can be tough to get in there. Rocky’s right about the subtext, that’s a great way to sneak it in. I also like to look for ways the characters act *because of * what happened to them in the past. Behavior can suggest a history and leave teasing hints, which can make readers curious about why a character does something, so by the time you need to stop a little and explain it, readers want to know and don’t mind the pause.

  16. Show not tell … I hear that so often! 😀 Thanks for the tips.

  17. Janice always has great advice! I shared this with a couple of my writing groups on FB. I find it very easy to spot telling vs showing in other people’s writing but find it nearly impossible to spot my own (thank goodness for having more than one critique group; they spot where I can’t). 🙂

    • Janice Hardy says:

      Thanks! It’s much easier to spot it in other writers’ works, but that’s a good way to train ourselves for what to look for in our own. Crit groups are amazing 🙂 I’d be lost without my crit partners.

  18. Thanks for the very useful post, it is soo good to actually here something in depth and not just, show don’t tell.

    • Janice Hardy says:

      Most welcome, and I agree. That’s exactly how I got into this in the first place years ago, and why I started analyzing it (and why I wrote the book to hopefully save others the frustration I went through).

  19. The more I learn about craft, the more I’m spotting flaws in traditionally published hardback books…on the one hand, I feel smarter for spotting them, but on the other hand, it’s ruining the books!

    • Janice Hardy says:

      Occupational hazard of being a writer 🙂 Flaws happen, and don’t forget–tastes vary, so what one writer considers a flaw another doesn’t. POV, narrative distance, genre, all play a role in what makes “good writing and strong story.” Remembering that helps me in those cases.

  20. Jessie Clever says:

    I love the idea of looking for show don’t tell at the various levels. Thank you!

  21. I find I ‘tell’ when I’m trying to pull back on a scene. I write MGs, and rather than let the full emotion set (good or bad) I ‘tell’ to dim it. I don’t know why. It’s not because I don’t think the reader can handle it. It’s probably because I don’t want to go there.

    • Janice Hardy says:

      One of the posts on this tour discusses that very thing. Avoiding the emotions in the scene is one reason why we tell.

      You do see more telling in MG, though, so that’s one market where telling is more tolerated. Some younger readers haven’t yet learned to pick up on subtext and the various showing clues, so a tad more explanation is often seen. It seems to vary by the type of book–if it’s more action, a little more telling might be fine, but if the story is about the emotions, then you’ll see those emotions fully described.

  22. I started my rewrite before finishing my first draft when I realized how much telling I was doing. Back at the beginning, I dedicated myself to showing and decided I would parcel out bits of info without holding the reader’s hand. The clues are there.

    On the other hand, when I was reading other’s works I recognized telling and often it didn’t seem as bad as when I did it. One thing I adopted was to sometimes let the narrator do monologue in the real time of the story by observing while avoiding remembering things from the past – unless it was specific things that the first person narrator would actually be thinking in that moment.

    • Janice Hardy says:

      That’s the secret of show, don’t tell–if it’s in the character’s voice, you can tell just about anything and it doesn’t stand out as told.

      There’s nothing wrong with telling a reader information. It’s only a problem when it stops the story and feels like the author butting in to explain something. But if it fits the scene, feels like the character thinking or saying it, and it’s something they’d logical think or say at that moment, it flows just fine and no one notices it.

      • When I start chapters and scenes I make a list of the facts I want to convey, whether present or past. Rather than dumping them, I think about where to slip them in and then check them off the list as I go.

        My present chapter deals with the antagonist father’s backstory, where he takes his family back to his childhood home when his elderly father is in the hospital. By the comments between Dad and his family, you can tell there’s a strained relationship. Grandma says “Why are you so ashamed of us?” I’m not going to say that back when Dad wanted to go to college instead of being a farmer that he and his father argued and had a falling out. The characters already know it. The readers can figure it out from how it affects the characters now.

        All that matters because it affects the relationship between Dad and his son, the protagonist.

  23. JC Martell says:

    Showing & telling are still my biggest challenge. Not so much changing to showing, but recognizing when I’m telling. I’m keeping a list of red-flag words, phrases, and other quick tips to scan for when revising & polishing. There were some gems here.

    I’m writing in 3rd person – is it easier to spot this when writing in 1st?

    Thanks

    • Janice Hardy says:

      Yes and no. I’ve seen plenty of first-person stories that had the narrator explaining everything, but I think third person is a tad harder to spot, because you do have that extra layer of narrative distance. The farther the distance, the easier it is to tell and the harder it is to spot, because it is “someone else telling the story.” Feeling detached is part of the narrative if you step back far enough.

  24. Telling is a constant struggle for writers, even highly successful and well-published authors. I consistently try harder and want to get better at showing. Thanks Janice for sharing with us.

  25. Thank you for such wonderful insight into “Telling”. As a writer who hopes to publish one day, I still struggle with this aspect a lot. However, I am able to spot check myself now and rearrange/delete/reword scenes and sentences to remove the “telling”. And in the world of fantasy and sci-fi sometimes it’s easy to slip into telling the reader instead of showing them about my world.

    Thanks again!

    • Janice Hardy says:

      Most welcome. And yes, it is easier to tell in SFF, but luckily, that’s also one genre where readers don’t mind a little telling to build a world. POV works great in these cases to tell, but still have it feel like the character.

  26. Good info. It’s awesome to have it in all one place. Thank you!
    For telling at the sentence, there are word cues you can look for include those pesky adverbs and present participles. They don’t always represent telling–but they often do. Doing a search for these in your document might make it easier for a writer to spot areas of “telling.” But the trick isn’t to simply delete those words (as many novice writers do), it’s to recast the sentence.

    • Janice Hardy says:

      Thanks! Absolutely. Your comment could have been lifted right from my book 🙂 That’s something I discussed at length.

  27. You made me go back and evaluate my one flashback! I ended up deciding that it does serve the story, but it was a really good exercise. Thanks!

  28. Great article. Several of these points hit very close to home for me where I am now in my writing. 🙂 I’ll certainly be referencing back to this article for future writing. Thanks!

  29. Wow. This is a truly complex concept. Just when I thought I had it down it gets a little more confusing. I get that showing is better than telling, but I also know that some amount of telling is necessary. Sometimes just to save time and words when your manuscript seems to be getting too long!

    • Janice Hardy says:

      It really is complex, and it depends on so many factors. But yes, there are times when telling is the right thing to do, and times when it hurts the story. The tough part is knowing which are which 🙂

  30. FANTASTIC POST. Just when you think you know Show/Tell, you slip into laziness.

    It’s insidious. You must be on your guard, no matter how new or how seasoned a writer you may be.

    Solution? Bought the book!

  31. So, are flashbacks always telling, or can they be useful at times?

    • Janice Hardy says:

      They’re absolutely useful. A good flashback can add depth to character, create mystery and tension, and reveal secrets. You just want to be careful that the flashback is there to enhance something in the book, not just explain a detail or bit of history.

  32. So many things to keep in mind while writing 🙂 Great post!

  33. Madeline McCreanor says:

    Thank you! This is something I’ve really been struggling with at the moment!

  34. Vahlaeity says:

    Thanks so much for the links back to your blog. The breakdown of different types of ‘telling’ or locations where it may crop up is brilliant.

  35. Show, don’t tell sounds easy, but is too often tricky. Thanks for helping to clear up some of the confusion!

  36. I have trouble with show and not tell in my co-author book. How would you show a character writing a letter with parchment paper, ink and a quill since my characters have magic and no technology or showing emotions or showing a scene about a palace?

    Maia, the mother goddess lived in a beautiful white palace on the tallest mountain high up in the heavens on planet Avanaria.
    The palace in the heavens had about thirteen rooms and big gathering place with wooden benches and a spiral staircase and on the bright coral wall in the gathering place was a painting of the planet Avanaria and their galaxy called Azurian.

    Example two:Chapter 12
    Kiana, Leilani’s youngest sister a raven-haired mermaid swam in the turquoise water. She noticed another mermaid with strawberry-blond hair whom she meet. The other mermaid name was Lucia. Kiana and Lucia swam to Elda Lamore Island and along came a giant octopus who was thirty feet long. It grabbed Lucia’s mertail and then Kiana helped her.
    Finally, the octopus let go of Lucia’s indigo mer-tail. Then Kiana and Lucia swam again to Elda Lamore Island. When they got there it was all most dark.
    Kiana had curly raven hair. Her eyes were indigo. Her skin tone was bronze. When wet her mer-tail was turquoise and amethyst colored.

    Lucia had strawberry blond hair and she had sea green eyes. Her mer-tail was indigo. She had light brown skin.

    • Janice Hardy says:

      I’d write it as if the character was experiencing it. Put yourself inside the character’s head and think about what they see and feel and think. For example, when we meet someone we usually don’t think about what they look like in a list (as in your example). We notice details by what matters to us, so we might think about what lovely curly hair the person has, or think how hard such curls would be to manage. Instead of “she had indigo eyes” we might think, “Wow, she’d never seen eyes that blue before–indigo” or the like.

      Don’t just explain what happens TO your characters, look at it (and write it) how they would act in that same situation. If an octopus grabbed your tail, how would it feel? How would you react? What might you think? That’s what you write so readers can feel that they’re right with the character experiencing that octopus as well.

      Hope this helps!

  37. Ms. Albina says:

    K.M., Do you show or tell when you write? My character’s in my co-author book live where there is no technology.
    Maia, the mother goddess lived in a beautiful white palace on the tallest mountain high up in the heavens on planet Avanaria.
    The palace in the heavens had about thirteen rooms and big gathering place with wooden benches and a spiral staircase and on the bright coral wall in the gathering place was a painting of the planet Avanaria and their galaxy called Azurian.

    Example two:Chapter 12
    Kiana, Leilani’s youngest sister a raven-haired mermaid swam in the turquoise water. She noticed another mermaid with strawberry-blond hair whom she meet. The other mermaid name was Lucia. Kiana and Lucia swam to Elda Lamore Island and along came a giant octopus who was thirty feet long. It grabbed Lucia’s mertail and then Kiana helped her.
    Finally, the octopus let go of Lucia’s indigo mer-tail. Then Kiana and Lucia swam again to Elda Lamore Island. When they got there it was all most dark.
    Kiana had curly raven hair. Her eyes were indigo. Her skin tone was bronze. When wet her mer-tail was turquoise and amethyst colored.

    Lucia had strawberry blond hair and she had sea green eyes. Her mer-tail was indigo. She had light brown skin.

  38. Janice or K.M.,

    How do you do show vs. telling when you write? Do you use said in dialogue or replied or stunned?

    examples:

    “My name is Aidan,” He said.
    It was starting to become dusk, so Aidan kissed Lea gently and said. “Fare well” “Why do you want to be a human?” Aidan asked.

    I wrote a short story about a mermaid wanting to become human and she does.

    • Janice Hardy says:

      I use said and replied, but not stunned, since stunned isn’t a manner of speech.

      You also don’t need to tag the dialogue unless it’s unclear who is speaking or you need to show how something was said. For example, I’d write your example like this:

      “My name is Aidan,” he said.

      Aidan kissed Lea gently. “Fare well”

      “Why do you want to be a human?” Aidan asked. (if it was clear he had asked this I wouldn’t say “he asked” at all)

  39. Ms. Albina says:

    Thank you Janice,

    I have an example that I may revise.

    Deep in the fathoms below of the turquoise sea merfolk lived. There were different varies of colorful fish and coral too. An underwater cavern had treasures of pearls and different jewels in wooden chests. The wooden chests varied in size from small to large. There was a magical door that had Mera clan on it and you could swim threw if you knew where to look. Beyond the door, there was a beautiful palace shown in all different shades of the sea.

    Merfolk swam past the palace. The royal mer-folk lived in the place and the priestesses and elders. Everyone who was good, kind, passionate, or caring was welcomed into the palace.

    What do you think? Do you like it?

  40. Ms. Albina says:

    Janice,

    This is the conversation about Jewel talking to Merlyn, the mer-princess she does not want to get married.

    During Jewel and Marissa, her twin’s birthday feast she found out she was getting married so she swam away and cried in her and her twin’s bedroom.
    In Jewel’s bedroom, Jewel was crying and Merlyn comforted her.
    Merlyn said. “You are getting married to Kai,”
    “I don’t want to get married,” Jewel replied.
    “Your parents say this. They told me so,”
    “I still do not want to get married,” Jewel said.
    Meanwhile, when Jewel and Merlyn were talking Jewel misplaced her pearl bracelet from her grandma Marina. Her bracelet also had a rune symbol on it.
    ExamplesMerlyn told Jewel why she is getting married. “You are getting married also because your great grandma Yasmina knew you would,” Merlyn said.
    “I can’t marry some I don’t love,” Jewel said. “I just met Kai, now I am getting married? It is too fast! Is it an arranged marriage?”
    “Yes, it is your highness, from your great grandparents you know. Your parents want you to have an heir or heirs to become queen afteryou,” Merlyn explained as she gave Jewel a hug. “ Please give this some thought,” she added.
    After their conversation, she waited to talk to her parents who were busy talking to Kai’s.

    Kai is a mer-prince from the sapphire clan has 300 in both clans.

    Here is an example from the Mera clan bookRina picked names for her children from the seven-letter word “Mermaid”. Then Rina chose the name Mera for the clan. The mer-folk in the Mera clan had only three hair colors: raven, brown, or auburn-that was long for the mermaids and short for the mermen. Their eye colors ranging from turquoise, blue to green, or indigo or changing with their mood. They had different colored mer-tails ranging from blend of two colors, turquoise, fuchsia or indigo. Their skin stones varied from light brown to bronze. At age of ten the merfolk got a clan tattoo. The royals only had runes on their lower back and they also had powers healing, telepathy and visions! The Mera clan had about three hundred.

    The clan has five elders and five mer-priestesses that are female.

    Thoughts?

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  1. […] 3 Ways Writers Can Instantly Spot Telling – isn’t “show, don’t tell” the most annoying, aggravating yet the most important rule that is so enjoyable when you finally shape the words just in the right way? The article describes different kinds of telling (not all of those are wrong!) from sentence and up to the scene level. […]

  2. […] that shown!). Janice Hardy visits Helping Writers Become Authors to share an excellent article on 3 Ways Writers Can Instantly Spot Telling … which is the first step in eliminating […]

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