Show Don’t Tell Emotions
May 12, 2023
Kevin Schulman, Founder, DonorVoice and DVCanvass
If I had a nickel for every time I started a blog post with this line I’d have exactly $1.15. Twenty-three times.
An inflation adjusted synonym might be “If I had a dollar…”
Speaking of synonyms, said the worst and longest windup, cry and weep are synonyms. They are also action verbs.
And these action verbs are great show words to replace the tell word, ‘sad’.
She was sad is so much less visually invocative than she wept or better, the tears rolled down her face.
Adjectives make copy feel dense and add little to the reading experience. Follow Mark Twain’s advice, “when you catch an adjective, kill it”.
And lest I nosedive into another long-winded, awful windup, here’s the long and short of it; a list of the emotions we covet with their action verb replacements.
Show don’t tell and kill the adjectives.