Show me the story!

“Tell us your story by showing us what matters most.”

Kimberly VanderHorst


On a quest to find resources that will help my brain Show instead of Tell. Showing is a major writing struggle for me.

At the moment, my characters are floating heads in an empty room. So what do they see? What are they doing? Do I need to write about the peppers he’s frying? Do I need to write how they are red, yellow, green and turn soft after cooking?

VanderHorst’s article gave me the filter I needed to be able to judge: Is it important?

Do those peppers have meaning? Did his mother use those same peppers before she was deployed, never to return?  Silly example aside, asking what is important to the story is a huge AHA! moment for me.

It also helped me understand that those everyday, mundane things might have other uses. I could describe how particular she was about her laundry detergent, the ocean fresh smell that sends her back in time to her honeymoon at the beach, the dryer sheets that she’s fond of because the clothes come out static free. And then have her toss in blood soaked shirts into the washer without concern. Because, of course, how many times did she really need to tell him she hated peppers?


Photo by Nigel Tadyanehondo on Unsplash

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