Show, don't tell - I can't tell you how many times I heard this phrase as a beginning writer . And each time I wanted to scream, "Tell me what that means! Show me, if you have to." Over time, people did show me - suggesting with certain lines and areas in a submission to a critique group how I could accomplish this great feat. And now I'll do my best to share this skill with you.
Basically, showing boils down to this: you want to let the reader experience the events, feelings, sights, sounds, etc. with the character the majority of the time. Okay writing tells what's happening most of the time and occasionally shows the action/scene. Good, quality writing shows what's happening most of the time and occasionally tells.
So you don't end up with the same frustrations as I did early on, here are some examples, with an offer at the end.
Ex. 1 She was furious. (telling) She balled her fists and narrowed her eyes. How could he? (showing)
Ex. 2 The house was beautiful. (telling) The lawn had been mowed in a checkerboard pattern and there wasn't a weed in sight. A porch spanned the front of the house and six white, round columns reached to the top of the second floor. (showing)
Ex. 3 Suddenly, a fight broke out. (telling) Ken shoved his chair back and clocked Bart before he had a chance to explain. Peter jumped in from behind and tackled Ken. Both of the ex-football players crashed into the table, ignored the shattered wood and glass and rolled on the floor, each swinging wildly at each other. (showing)
Does that help? I hope so. And in case you want a little more assistance on this area of writing, I'll offer the help that has been so valuable to me - having a more experienced writer's feedback. I'm willing to accept up to five pages of your work to review and critique. Be forewarned - the hardest critiques to take are often the most helpful. That doesn't mean it's easy to see your writing - your heart, soul, and hard work - marked up with red ink all over it, but if you can accept it (which I've had to do hundreds of times) and can pull back from the emotional aspect of it, your writing has the potential to grow exponentially more than just studying the craft and writing in isolation.
So, from today through the next 14 days (through October 10), feel free to email me a sample of your work and I'll give you feedback. I can't promise it'll be fast, it all depends on how life goes here and how many submissions I get, but I will do my best to have it returned within 30 days with suggestions. Ready? email me here: email@example.com.