When writing descriptively, it’s important to keep in mind that you want to SHOW your audience what you’re describing, not merely tell them about it.

For example, let’s say you were describing the setting of something (where/when a character was and/or where/when an event took place).

  • You could TELL your audience:

“It was a hot day in July.”


  • But to write descriptively, you’ll want to SHOW your audience:

“It was July, and the high summer sun beat the heavy, steaming air down against my chest so that my lungs had to fight to breathe.”


“The sun shone, a beaming light high in the July sky, touching everything on earth with its balmy fingers.”


“As the glistening sweat of my glass of iced tea dripped to sizzle on the asphalt, I sighed with content that July had effectively erased all the lingering memories of the icy, cold winter.”



Now, which one of these is more a SHOW and which is more a TELL?  (highlighted ones are more SHOW)

Her seductive dress called attention to her physique.

Her midnight black dress looked like it had a rip down the middle that never ended.

Her calling eyes and arched eye brows make her look very inviting.

Her intriguing facial expression makes you desire her.

Her mouth structure seems very tired.

The grin on her face is that of someone mocking you, one who is deliberately trying to hurt you, never caring or trying to stop themselves.

Her sexual body language and erotic facial expressions insinuated that Marilyn is a tease.

Her glistening, conniving eyes reveal that Marilyn is hiding something and that she knows what she wants.


Now, let’s re-write the following two sentence to make them SHOW more:


1)    Her “know it all” physical expression made her seem intimidating.



2)    The intriguing look in her eyes made all the men attracted to her.