How a Grade-School Activity Can Help You Write Better Fiction and Emails

Do you remember grade school? New everything–books, people, and more, waiting for you to explore.

But there’s something else I know you remember…

Every once in a while, a classmate would bring a collection, or a pet, in a box, maybe. The teacher let them talk to the class about it–maybe you got to touch the whatever-it-was.

You remember what you called it?

Right–show and tell.

Fiction writers, especially, change “and” to “don’t.” Just another short, cryptic phrase.

Or is it?

How do these three words “show, don’t tell” help you write better fiction and emails?

For you fiction writers, this means letting your readers figure things out for themselves. Instead of saying, “He moves like the wind,” show him dodging a sword, arrow, or something else. If she has a chicken that can turn into a turtle, give us a scene where she shows someone.

You have to balance showing and telling–you can bore readers by telling too much almost as easily as you can lose readers by telling too little. Or by showing every last detail.

For you copywriters, you want to have readers with you all the way–coming to their own (hopefully favorable) conclusions based on what you’re presenting. If the widget increases fuel performance or something–is there research you can reference, or user experience you can work in?

So the next time you sit down to write a story or email, think about which pieces you need to give readers so they can figure things out on their own.

They’ll be more involved that way, which makes it more enjoyable for them, and you.

Until next time,



About Ty Mall

Thanks for stopping by. I've almost always been interested in writing, among other things. Along with discovering pop culture, I've uncovered a lot about the craft over the past 10 years. And whether you're a fiction writer or email copywriter, I'm here to pass on what I've found out. And have a ton of fun in the process.
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