Meaning don't say:
Suzie was tired.
Suzie rubbed at her eyes, trying to focus on the letter, but the soft mattress in the corner kept drawing her attention.
That was a simple example, but what about when it gets more complicated? Sometimes you have to tell. Sometimes you even have to do both. I've had times when I thought I'd so cleverly (I love to pat myself on the back) shown the MC's feelings when in reality all my betas came back and told me they wanted to know how she/he felt about something that happened. Obviously I wasn't clear enough. So what did I do? Added internal thoughts to the actions. Sometimes even came out and said it.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding how to word things:
- Was I clear enough with the action alone?
- Is it important enough of a moment to add thoughts and maybe spend a bit more time showing?
- If it isn't important, does it slow down the pacing too much to show? Would it flow better to tell?
- Did adding to it make it redundant? You don't want to repeat yourself or tell the reader you don't trust them to "get" it.
What questions and examples can you add to the list?