Avoid These10 Verbs That Make You Tell

Avoid These 10 Verbs That Make You Tell


Writers Write is your one-stop resource for writers. We have put together this list of 10 verbs that make you tell when you write.

Show! Don’t Tell.

The writing technique – Show Don’t Tell – helps us bring our stories to life. We do this by seeing the world through the eyes of our characters. We experience the world through their senses, and we let them speak for themselves. Their actions and reactions move the story forward and their body language reveals their emotions.

Of course, there are times when you need to tell, but it is better to show most of the time. It helps us remain in the active voice, create white space, and create conflict.

Avoid these 10 verbs that make you tell:

  1. appeared
  2. decided
  3. felt
  4. heard
  5. knew
  6. mused
  7. realised
  8. seemed
  9. thought
  10. wondered

How do you avoid using them? 

Show how your character feels by her actions. Use strong verbs to describe her state of mind.

This article has 14 comments

  1. Nomthetho Ngobese

    intresting

  2. M. R. Mathias

    Cheryll knew he was lying because she’d heard the call he made. She thought that even though he seemed like a nice guy, he wasn’t. She wondered if he realised she’d caught on or not. When he appeared at the door she felt chills run down her spine. He had a gun so she decided not to unlock it. (Writing this a-mused me) I think I got them all. 😉

  3. I would rather she listened to the call he made.rest of sentence would be and thought that even though he seemed to be a nice guy She realized he was not what he appeared to be

    she she she,wordy

  4. I would rather she listened to the call he made.rest of sentence would be and thought that even though he seemed to be a nice guy She realized he was not what he appeared to be

    she she she,wordy

  5. Gigi Sedlmayer

    Great post, thank you for posting.

  6. Gigi Sedlmayer

    Great post thanks for sharing

  7. Carolyn gattegno

    She listened to his call realizing that he was not as he appeared to be.She worried that he had a gun and did not answer his knock . too wordy to get the same point (could word otherwise too .
    .She heard the call he made.He had a gun and she was concerned that when she opened the door he would look at her face and realize her fear. she decided not to answer his knock etc etc etc

  8. Lorna Stremcha

    Thanks

  9. robin peacock

    some commenter’s have entirely missed the point of the post by M Mathias.

  10. larry shores

    Interesting and informative. Use colorful verbs that are descriptive?

  11. Raymond Chandler

    I am an up and coming writer. I am the guy who failed english and yet excelled at physics.c Im reading all of your posts and in question as to the amount of wording to each that you all use.

    “Her eyes blazed with gleam of fear, the slack on her shoulders growing tense. The call only confirming her fear that he was now who he said he was. Narrowing her eyes she caught sight of a flash from the light off the reflection of the gun. Confirming the intuition she had wondered on. The man talking to the receiver, the monotone not giving sway as his voice, drew out the syllables.”

  12. cHriStinA ThOmaS

    This is the kind of stuff I have been looking for, I appreciate you sharing this! I am officially addicted to this writers write 🙂

  13. ROBERT LEE

    I am stumbling this post. The tips are so simple and yet as I read the differences, I could immediately feel the impact! That is how I want to write!

    To be sure, keeping it in my StumbleUpon list makes sure I can keep coming back until I acquire the habit of writing in this manner.

  14. Writers Write

    Thank you, Robert. We’re glad it helped.

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