An interesting comment was made with respect to one of my books, where the reviewer mentioned that I had done too much telling, and not enough showing. Of course, that comment made me say, "Hmmm."
Ever since I began writing seriously over a decade ago, the first rule of writing "show, don't tell" has been scarred into my brain, so the comment caught me by surprise. I decided that I needed a refresher on the "show, don't tell" rule.
Basically, the "show" rule adds imagery and dimension to your characters, setting and emotion. This can be accomplished best through the senses...sight, sound, taste, touch. If I tell you I'm scared, you'll say, "Okay, I'll take your word for it." If you *see* that my eyes are bulging, you *smell* my sweat, you *hear* the whimpers back in my throat, you're pretty much clued in to my distress.
When you're writing a scene, visualize every detail like it's a movie inside your head. Then write down everything you see, hear, feel, taste. Fear is often described as a metallic taste, so taste can play an important role in showing, and is often overlooked. Use the visual description to really connect your reader to the moment. The end goal here is to have the reader experience the movie inside your head.
Petrified, I searched for a place to hide.
My breath, escaping in short spurts, matched my heart beats. I clutched my chest with both hands, searching for somewhere to hide.
I will admit, sometimes I use a mixture of showing and telling; mostly this involves adding the character's internalization with what the character is seeing/hearing/feeling:
I tilted my head. For the first time, I noticed she wasn't so put together. One side of her shirt had untucked from her jeans due to her plucking fingers, her hair was falling out of its ponytail, and her gaze shifted criminally.
As a matter of course, I will pay closer attention when writing to make sure I don't fall into the "tell trap" too often. A good lesson for all writers to keep in mind...even experienced ones.