It’s true what your high school English teacher told you – “show it, don’t tell it.”
She wanted you to finger paint the details of the story, rather than just telling us exactly how everyone looked or felt. She wanted you to craft images so that we could run our imagination over them and braille our way into your story.
What did that day feel like? How was the weather? What were you wearing. Spend a paragraph describing your shoes, so that we can walk around in them.
Don’t tell us it was a big dog or a fast dog or a brown dog.
Tell us how the sand spit up under that racing dog’s paws. Tell us how he shimmered chocolate in the sun. Tell us how his haunches bowed over the work of all animals – this tremendous impulse to use every muscle without thought, without plan with only the free falling love of being alive.
Tell us how the beach was a backdrop for the glory of God in that moment when two dogs raced the dusk hour and reminded us that life is set by more than clocks.
Write with all five senses.
Give us the flavor of the day, the moment, the memory. The more details you weave into your story the easier it is for us to relate. Because now we’re right there with you. On that hard packed sandy beach with a breeze that feels more like an old friend than a reason to tie hair up in a ponytail.
Slow down and remember. Then write – like you’re serving a five course meal. So that we can savor every delicious word of your story.
Want to give it a try? Leave me a comment describing any memory you have from the beach.