Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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May 20, 2016

Margie’s Rule #15: What’s the Visual?

Margie Lawson

IMG_2124Most writers know Show Don’t Tell, but sometimes they think they’re showing when they are telling.

Here’s my oh-so-easy check.

Read the sentence that you think SHOWS the reader something.

Ask yourself ---- What’s the Visual?

You may be surprised that the sentence doesn’t provide a visual.

Wondering why I care?

Wondering why I think you should care?

Most readers have a video playing in their mind of the scene they are reading.

If a writer TELLS instead of SHOWS, the reader’s screen goes blank. No imagery. No power.

When the writer TELLS, they’re sharing what the POV character is thinking. They’re intellectualizing for the POV character.

The writer is not putting the emotional power on the page.


He looked angry.

She seemed agreeable to the plan.

He made a face.

She didn’t say anything, but he could tell she was pleased.

He knew she was nervous.

She looked like she wanted to go with him.

 Jake seemed out of sorts.

If you’ve read one of my blogs before, or taken one of my online courses, or consumed one of my lecture packets, you know I always provide examples that support my teaching points.

Here comes the fun!

Example 1:

“Someone got hurt.”

She studied Susan’s face. “Are you okay?”

Whoops. What’s the visual?

We’re missing the subtext. We need to know Susan’s facial expression.

Example 2:

The POV character is watching Sam.

Sam moved around in an agitated manner.

What’s the visual?

Both parts of that short sentence are TELLING.

How did Sam move?

How does the POV character know Sam is agitated?

What’s his facial expression?

Example 3:

 Mike is the POV character.

Traci seemed upset. “I need to leave.”

Mike touched Traci’s arm. “Don’t leave. We need to talk.”

What’s the Visual?  Mike touched Traci’s arm, but the reader doesn’t know how Mike can tell Traci is upset.

The writer could SHOW, and share subtext, with Traci’s actions or face or voice.

Writers don’t need to add SHOWING to every sentence or paragraph. But many sentences need those visuals. They share the emotion, hook the reader.

Now we’ll dig deeper into some complex examples. 

The Ones We Trust, Kimberly Belle, 4-time Immersion-Grad

First Example from Kimberly Belle

Kimberly Belle could have written:

Dad nodded, but I knew he was still upset.

But this is what she wrote:

Dad nods at me over the top of his menu, but his forehead doesn’t clear. His eyes don’t unsquint. The general is a man who misses nothing, including, according to his scowl, the reason behind my non-reply.

Deep Editing Analysis:

            Slipped in a hint of setting: 

  • over the top of the menu

            Showing What’s Not Happening: 

  • his forehead doesn’t clear
  • his eyes don’t unsquint

Power Internalizations:

  • the general is a man who misses nothing
  • the reason behind my non-reply

Compelling Cadence

Everything shares subtext and deepens characterization.

Second Example from Kimberly Belle

Kimberly Belle could have written:

Dad let go of his anger.

But this is what she wrote:

Dad leans in, and everything about him softens. His posture, his expression, his ten-hut tone.

Deep Editing Analysis: 

            Shows Dad softening: his posture, his face, his voice

            Second sentence is a frag. Works well.

            Rhetorical Device: Anaphora – Triple Beginnings

  • His posture, his expression, his ten-hut tone

Rhetorical Device:  Asyndeton – No and after last comma

  • His posture, his expression, his ten-hut tone

Character-Themed – Her Dad was a General

  • his ten-hut tone

Compelling Cadence 

Third Example from Kimberly Belle

Kimberly Belle could have written:

“Things you don’t want to understand.”

But this is what she wrote:

His expression is like a sluice, locked down tighter than the White House during a terrorist threat. “Things you don’t want to understand.”

Deep Editing Analysis:

            She gave the reader a facial expression, amplified.

            Rhetorical Device:  Simile

  •  like a sluice

Character-Themed --  Her Dad was a General.

  • locked down tighter than the White House during a terrorist threat.

            Power Words:  Words that carry psychological power.

  • sluice, locked down, tighter, terrorist, threat

The Curse of Tenth Grave, Darynda Jones, NYT Bestseller, 2-time Immersion-Grad

 Empowered Example from Darynda Jones

Darynda Jones could have just written one sentence:

He gave me his full attention.

But this is what she wrote:

He finally gave me his full attention. He put down the pen he’d been holding and sat back in his chair. The movement was so small, so every day, and yet it sent a tiny rush of excitement spiraling over my skin.

He’d rolled up his sleeves, exposing his corded forearms. His strong hands. His long, capable fingers.

He noticed me noticing for sure that time, but instead of reaching out to me, instead of inviting me into his personal space, he waited. He simply waited. For me to speak? For me to act? I had no idea which, so I went with the former.

“Yeah, so, for this plan to work, we are going to need a dozen syringes, a case of nitrous oxide, a serial killer, and a tank.”

I included more paragraphs than needed, but I wanted to share Darynda’s awesome line of dialogue.  🙂

Deep Editing Analysis:

            Showing, Amplified, many times.

            First Paragraph:


  • Gave full attention


  • Put down pen
  • Sat back in chair

Telling – Carried psychological power

  • small movement
  • so everyday


  • Stimulus – all the Telling and Showing above
  • Response – Visceral -- a tiny rush of excitement spiraling over my skin

Second Paragraph:

  • Action -- rolling up sleeves
  • Clear Visual – forearms, hands, fingers

Third Paragraph:

  • Showing What’s Not Happening
  • Power Internalizations

Fourth Paragraph – Power-packed dialogue – lots of power words, backloaded with tank.

Days Made of  Glass, Laura Drake, RITA Winner, 2-time Immersion-Grad, Cruising Writers Grad 

SHOWING example from Laura Drake.

This Expanded Time scene is one of my all time favorites, by any author.

Harlie, a closet thrill-seeker, runs into an arena to save a Pomeranian from a stampeding bull.

The sweet rush of adrenaline hit her like a heroin-mainlining junkie. It sang through her veins, lifting her, making her impervious—superhuman. She sped up, heart thundering in her ears—or maybe that was bull’s hooves.

Everything seemed to slow. Details stood out in perfect focus: the shine of spit on the dog’s bared teeth, the whorl of hair at the center of the bull’s forehead, a small scar next to its white-filled eye.

In full stride, Harlie reached the center of the arena, snatched the now cowering fur ball by the nape and kept moving. The ground shook with pounding hooves. She tensed her muscles for impact, but felt only a sliding rub of horn on her butt and the rush of air at her back as the bull passed. Clutching the suicidal mutt in a death grip, Harlie sprinted for the fence.

She’d taken only a couple of steps when the panicked yells of the onlookers penetrated the swelling adrenaline chorus in her head. Harlie didn’t have to look. She knew bulls. The animal had wheeled, and from the vibrations in the soles of her fancy cowgirl boots, was bearing down to gore her.

No time. She heaved the dog toward the red-faced men on the opposite side of the fence.  Her brain registered a stop-action photo of the little dog flying through the air, hair blown back, mouth open.

She hadn’t known dogs had an expression for terrified but this one sure did. It hit the ground running and streaked for the line of boots at the fence.

Harlie spun on her heel. The bull was farther away than she’d guessed, but closing fast. She shot a glance to the fence. It seemed as if she were seeing it through the wrong end of a telescope. A bull will beat a human in a race, every time. She’d never make it.

No choice.

Tension zinged through her. The timing had to be just right. Failure would come in the form of lunging horns and bone-snapping hooves. Head down, the bull came on.

Decision made, the fear in Harlie’s chest lay down before a rising exaltation of knowing. Crouched in a marathon runner’s stance, she shook the jitters out of her hands and gauged the bull’s closing speed.

One more step –

Harlie exploded, launching herself straight at the bull.

She took two long-jumper strides.

The bull charged in, lowering its head to hook her.

On the third stride, perfectly timed, her foot came down in the center of the bull’s broad forehead. He threw his head up and she was launched, flying over the beast’s back.

It seemed she rose forever, her stomach dropping, shooting the sparkly fireworks of a roller coaster’s first hill. A quiet, high-pitched sound escaped her lips. It might have been a giggle.

When the arc finally began its downward tail, Harlie looked for a place to land.

Awesome example of showing visuals, and how to write a powerful expanded time scene. 

Thank you for dropping by WITS blog today.

Please chime in and share your thoughts on What’s the Visual?

Or just click in and say Hi. Let me know you’re here.

Post a comment, and you have TWO CHANCES to WIN!

1. Lecture Packet from Margie Lawson

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If the avalanche of comments on this blog WOW me, I’ll double the winners again.

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Check out the courses offered by Lawson Writer's Academy. 

1. Revision Boot Camp – May 16 – June 15, registration is still open!


2. Create Compelling Characters  – Starts June 1


3. Writing Compelling Scenes  --  Starts June 1


4. How to Write Dialogue with a Psychological Punch  -- Starts June 1  http://bit.ly/PowerDialogue

5. Pinterest for Authors -- Starts June 1


6. Virtues, Vices, and Plots  -- Starts June 1


margie-lawson-1-readingMargie Lawson—editor, international presenter—teaches writers how to use her psychologically-based editing systems and deep editing techniques to create page turners. Margie has presented over ninety full day master classes for writers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and on cruises in the Caribbean.

To learn about Lawson Writer’s Academy, Margie’s 4-day Immersion Master Classes (in Denver, Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Canyon Lake, Dallas, San Jose, Albuquerque, Australia, and more), her full day Master Class presentations, on-line courses, lecture packets, and newsletter, please visit www.margielawson.com.

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172 comments on “Margie’s Rule #15: What’s the Visual?”

  1. Ah Margie. I'm so honored to be included with two of my favorite authors (and favorite people!). Thank you. And thanks for the lesson, and the reminder. We all can be guilty of this - you think you have it mastered, and the little buggers sneak in the back door!

    1. Hugs to 2-time Immersion-Grad Laura Drake!

      Writers see what they don't put on the page.

      Readers only see what's on the page.

      That's how those TELLING lines sneak in the back door!

      Can't wait to see you at RWA National. Thanks in advance for being my moderator again!

      1. I am driving Laura down for the San Diego conference, even though I'm only staying for the Literacy signing. I want to spend time with her in the car and then sneak in a hug with you, Margie. 🙂

  2. Oh, wow! Love the lesson. And the fantastic examples are a triple shot of espresso for my writer's soul. Thanks for another great post, Margie.

    1. Hugs to Immersion-Grad Suzanne --

      A triple shot of espresso for my writer’s soul -- NYT!

      You'll soon be a 2-time Immersion-Grad. Can't wait to see you again!

  3. I need Laura's book, because that scene...WOW! All the examples are riveting, beautifully reinforcing your topic.

    Thanks for the educational, entertaining, and inspiring lesson, Margie. This article has me excited for revisions.

    1. Hello DM

      Margie-Grads get excited about revisions too! They have the deep editing power tools that make rewrites stellar.

      I love Days Made of Glass -- by Laura Drake. I bet you'll love it too!

  4. Hi Margie! Thanks so much for the reminder! It was very timely! I met you in Melbourne last year at the RWA Conference and have found your courses very helpful...thank you so much, Regards Morgan (Perth, Western Australia)

    1. Hello Morgan --

      Thanks for chiming in!

      I'm teaching four Immersion-classes in Australia in August this year. Let me know if you might be interested!

    1. Hello Immersion-Grad Becky!

      Happy ratcheting. 🙂 Miss you and your characters and your smile!

      You remember polysyndeton. I bet you're using it, and all the other rhetorical devices from Deep Editing too!

  5. Margie,
    You always have such wonderful info packed posts.
    *running to my mss with highlighters to correct telling*

  6. Awesome post as always, Margie!! Will be diving back into my chapters with a red pen and a keener eye! Thanks.

    1. Hello Carrie --

      Your comment carried a compelling cadence. Love this sentence:

      --- Will be diving back into my chapters with a red pen and a keener eye!

      I bet you'll add power to your WIP!

  7. I love the simple "What's the visual?" test. I have a terrible time with description, because quite frankly, I gloss over a lot of it when I'm reading. I'm a 'cut to the chase' person and my challenge is writing the words I would be skimming as a reader and hope my readers don't skim. I can remember condensing an action scene by saying something like, "What seemed like an eternity, but according to Dalton's watch was only seven minutes..." and my editor came back and said "I want to see those seven minutes on the page."

    1. Hello Terry --

      You compressed time and left out a cool scene. So glad you had a smart editor!

      Always great to see you. Thanks for chiming in.

  8. Thanks, Margie, for the clear explanation and marvelous examples. I struggle with this concept at times but your visual test is a great tool I can apply to my WIP.

    1. Hello Reno Barb!

      Thank you. Glad you'll be doing the WHAT'S YOUR VISUAL? check.

      The Harlie-Saves-The-Pomeranian video will stick in your mind!

  9. Thank you Margie for the timely post as I'm revising to submit and working on my query letter with Laura Drake. I think it could use some visuals too!

    1. Hello Laurie!

      Ah -- Laura Drake is the QUEEN OF QUERIES!

      I bet your query letter will impress and hook everyone.

      Hope to see you at RWA National!

  10. The timing of this is amazing for me. I am doing a final edit of my manuscript. These examples are invaluable. I will go back and look for the "visual". Thank you.

  11. Ah, the power of fragments and rhetorical devices! It's amazing how much our reader minds take for granted that our writer minds have to construct with meticulous clarity. Thank you for the boost of refreshing inspiration!

  12. Thanks for another truly informative post, Margie. So very helpful. Now, turning off my Internet and heading to my WIP for a line by line search of “What’s the visual?”

  13. Whoa! I want to know what happens next in each example. Must go back and check my rodeo scene visuals. Love the whorl of hair... Not every writer can pull that kind of visual out of the ethers. My final edit in progress and I thought I was near done.

  14. Just when I think I have a handle on some aspect of writing, you appear with a post that shows me otherwise. I going to go through my manuscript AGAIN and look closely at showing, AGAIN. Thanks.

    1. Dianne, these blogs are a tiny snippet of all that is Margie-wisdom. If you haven't taken her classes or workshops, you're in for a treat!

    2. Hello Dianne --

      Good for you for digging in to make your writing stronger. I teach writers lots of deep editing gems!

      Thanks for chiming in.

  15. Every time I think I've learned a writing skill, I read one of your blogs and realize I have a lot more to learn. Your teaching skills are exceptional.

  16. Agree with lorihenricksen...gotta go buy every one of those books.

    Margie, you are the (Wo)Man!

    At this point, I have no idea how many Margie Rules blog posts I've forwarded to various authors I work with. Tons of them, for sure, because I can count on you to clarify and hammer home the very fiction-writing technique they need--briskly, vividly, and very, very effectively.

    Thank you!!

    1. Hello Faith --

      Wow! Thanks for sharing my Margie Rules blog posts!

      I hope some of you drop by my website and check out all the online courses offered by Lawson Writer's Academy.

      I'm not teaching online again until September, but the lectures from my BIG THREE online courses are available in Lecture Packets for each course. You'll find hundreds of pages of lectures full of examples and teaching points.

      Check them out!

      I'm just sharing info, in case you didn't know about the lecture packets. 🙂

  17. Visuals are definitely something I need to work on. I'm bad with details. Thanks for the reminder, Margie.

  18. ugh, I catch myself doing that (telling) all the time. Thanks for showing such great examples to remind me (and others) what the difference looks like. As for its impact... I could not let myself put Days of Glass down. I already told Laura this, but I really was hooked in to the last page and invested in the story even after I finished it. I know great writing doesn't happen by accident and I am still so enamored with Laura's story that I want to go reread it right after reading that example. 🙂 Definitely a great advocate for why showing works where telling fails.

    1. Hugs to CRUISING WRITERS GRAD Rachel!

      I had the BEST TIME with you on the last cruise. So excited I get to see you on the 7-day cruise to Belize too!

      I agree -- DAYS MADE OF GLASS is unputdownable. The awesome story grabs you and the awesome writing makes you want to read every book by Laura Drake!

  19. LOVED these examples. Now I have the urge to go through my entire draft–again–just to look for this. Thanks, Margie!

    1. Hello Kerry Ann --

      Fun to e-meet you. I don't think we've met. Right?

      Just clicked on your name and read about Bill Bryson. Loved your write up on him. Beautifully written.

      No segue into my next topic.

      If you're going to RWA National, I hope we connect. I'm teaching -- NOT YOUR MAMA'S CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS.

      Laura Drake is my moderator. She's the BEST!

  20. You and I have a love-hate relationship ... and we haven't even met yet! (I'll be hunting you down in San Diego to give a tender handshake or a breath-stealing hug...your choice). The love part of our relationship is all about your generosity and your teaching style. I learn best with examples. You always deliver spot-on examples that hammer the concept and the execution. The hate part of our relationship is how you remind me time and again that I have SO MUCH to learn. However, I'm a lifelong learner and I know the best stories I have to tell are yet to be told. Plus, they will be told in ways FAR better than the ones I'm telling today. Thank you, sincerely, for your positive energy. For your inspiration. And for reminding us the best is yet to come...starting today!

    1. Helloooooooo Chris!

      Loved your post! Glad you like my style of teaching and what I teach. Hope to see you in one of my online classes sometime. And in an Immersion class too.

      Can't wait to meet you when I present for OCC on October 8th!

  21. This is awesome. I'm currently revising my first truly complete novel...and that's thanks to Sarah Hamer's Class on Virtues, Vices and Plots at Margie Lawson Academy! It was just what I needed to help me build the tension and strengthen the plot of my book. I'll use your post today while I'm revising! Thank you Margie, I look forward to more classes at MLA and hopefully the opportunity to meet you at RWA16

    1. Hello Tari --

      Thanks for sharing about Sarah Hamer's class, Virtues, Vices, and Plots. Smart class!

      I'd love to meet you at RWA National! I'm presenting -- NOT YOUR MAMA'S CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS. It's loaded with lots of deep editing gems!

  22. Visuals soothe my artist's brain. These are great examples of how a visual can SHOW so much.

  23. Thanks for the great tips today, Margie. You are the best! I love the three writers used for examples of excellence. I'm looking forward to my next Margie class.

    1. Hello Celia --

      Yes! Practical and concise!

      Happy revising! Keep in mind lots more deep editing gems in my online courses and lecture packets. 🙂

      1. Yes, I've bought one of your lectures and will be nose to the pages for the next few months. Now if only I had someone to feed me! Cheers,

    1. Hello Chick Tales Group --

      I loved working with ALL of you in Immersion class. And you're all incredibly creative.

      You're all xplodingly forgetive!

    1. Hello Barbara --

      My Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues lectures would make writing visuals easier for you. Those lectures are loaded with examples and teaching points!

  24. Great info - now I need to dig out the class packet I took a while back and relearn it. Thanks!

    1. Hello Sandy —

      Sounds like you’ve only taken one of my classes, or have the lecture packets for one class. You’re missing so many teaching points!

      You may want to consider my other classes too.

      These courses are my BIG THREE. Musts for writers.

      1. Empowering Characters’ Emotions
      2. Deep Editing, Rhetorical Devices, and More
      3. Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist

      The Lecture Packets are available for the BIG THREE, and other classes too.

      Now you know. 🙂

  25. "Writers see what they don’t put on the page. Readers only see what’s on the page." Hello! "Where is the visual?" And it's funny how much we leave out because "showing" is a skill that needs to be learned. Glad to know that I am not alone. Revisions, revisions, revisions. Excellent examples Margie. Thank you so much. I can see you're a great teacher through the work of your students. 🙂

    1. Hello Karen!

      Love your enthusiasm!

      Providing the reader with fresh visuals is critical. Stellar writing comes from SMART EDITING.

      So glad you posted!

  26. As always, great teaching, great examples, Margie. Thanks for SHOWING us how to write better scenes, and not just TELLING us! Can't wait to see you in Amarillo in two weeks! And I get to see Laura Drake, too! How lucky am I?

    1. Hugs to Immersion-Grad and Cruising Writers Grad Fae!

      I'm excited that I get to work with you again, this time at West Texas A&M University's Writer's Academy in Canyon, Texas.

      Can't wait to see you and dig into five days of deep editing fun!

  27. Wow. Thank you for the fantastic examples. I have heard such wonderful things about your classes and immersions. I will be attending rwa nationals for the first time, I can't wait for your workshops.

    1. Hello Kimberly —

      You’re so sweet! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

      RWA National is soooo fun! Glad you’re going. Hope I get to meet you!

      I’m teaching one workshop at RWA National this year — NOT YOUR MAMA’S CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS. You can catch me after the workshop, and we can find somewhere to chat!

    2. I will definitely look for you after your workshop. I appreciate you taking thw time to chat. See you in July.

  28. Margie I love your teachings. You rock the world showing us how to empower our writing. Thanks for sharing. And thanks to WITS for having Margie today. 🙂

  29. Thank you so much Margie! As a writer, it's incredibly useful to have such vivid examples. I love the way you showed us instead of told us what the difference between showing and telling is. And as a reader, I hope more authors out there listen to what you have to say and make the effort to follow your lead. Because sometimes, it's laziness. It's hard expanding on a scene when you're under pressure, and all too easy to say 'that'll do'.

    1. Hello Lou GrimmGrimm --

      Margie-Grads have such strong writing. I have thousands of stellar examples from them. They deep edit, and it shows.

      Thanks for chiming in!

    1. Hugs to Immersion-Grad Natasha --

      I'll see you in Melbourne! Look for an email this week. 🙂

      Can't wait to work with you and Jonte again!

    1. Hello Nicola --

      So glad you liked the examples and teaching points. Hope to see you in an online class sometime!

      I had an awesomely happy weekend. I hope you did too!

  30. Love your analysis, Margie. Makes me want to dig deep and create stronger images! Thanks for sharing!!!
    Laura, loved, loved, loved the expanded scene. You got my heart pumping this morning!

  31. I never tire of these examples. Inspirational! (And good gravy, Laura Drake -- what a scene, girlfriend!) Thanks for sharing, Margie. I'm about to Deep Edit my WIP, and I'll be keeping this SHOW advice in mind.

    1. Hugs to Immersion-Grad and Cruising Writer's Grad Julie --

      I know your deep editing will make your writing stellar!

      Can't wait to cruise with you again in October!

  32. Margie,

    Wonderful stuff! And very useful examples. You do keep us honest with the showing.

    Can't wait to see you at Nationals, Colorado Gold, September Immersion...

  33. This is another great lesson told by Margie. I always am in awe of the examples you give- the talented writers you quote. What a great scene from my good friend, Laura. I'm looking forward to your class in Canyon, Margie. Can't wait to meet you!

  34. Margie, I've been writing a long, long time, but I always learn something from your posts. Thank you for these useful lessons--your examples are always spot on.

    1. Hello Holly --

      Ah -- Glad you always learn something from my WITS blogs!

      I'm tempted to type -- You'd learn lots more in my online classes and lecture packets -- so I did.

      Hope you see that sentence in a casual sharing-information way. Because I was. 🙂

  35. Thank you for the great examples of show vs tell. What's the visual is a good way to check that you are showing and not telling.

  36. Thank you Margie! Love the examples. They are showing rather than telling us how to show, haha 🙂 Bringing a friend to come see you for Write on the Sound in October!! Woo!

    1. Hello Immersion-Grad Kimberly Kessler!

      Great to see you here. It will be so fun to connect again, and meet your friend, at Write on the Sound!

  37. People always talk about showing vs telling, but this is one of the best, most practical examples I've seen anyone give. Just wow.... And now I know I I enjoy Darynda's writing so much! 😀

    1. Oh my gosh, Penny - be sure you have the second in the series loaded before you start Darynda's series - you'll fly from one to the next!

  38. This one's a keeper. It's like the light bulb came on when I read your examples. Now back to the WPI for a telling vs showing review. Great job, Margie!

  39. Hello Sandy --

    Sounds like you've only taken one of my classes, or have the lecture packets for one class. You're missing so many teaching points!

    You may want to consider my other classes too.

    These courses are my BIG THREE. Musts for writers.

    1. Empowering Characters' Emotions
    2. Deep Editing, Rhetorical Devices, and More
    3. Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist

    The Lecture Packets are available for the BIG THREE, and other classes too.

    Now you know. 🙂

  40. Hello Kimberly --

    You're so sweet! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    RWA National is soooo fun! Glad you're going. Hope I get to meet you!

    I'm teaching one workshop at RWA National this year -- NOT YOUR MAMA'S CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS. You can catch me after the workshop, and we can find somewhere to chat!

  41. As others have said, thanks for the reminder. This is such an important point and so easily forgotten in the rush of getting a story down on the page. Brilliant examples, too.

  42. Thanks Margie for Rule #15 - the visual is what lasts, for me - years after I read a great book. Great to see Laura's scene again - I can see (visualize, eh) that open-mouthed scruffy pooch flying through the air - it's my absolute favourite.
    Thanks to both,

    1. Hugs to Immersion-Grad Wendy Leslie from Down Under!

      I see that Pomeranian flying through the air too!

      I enjoyed working with you in Immersion class in Melbourne last year. I'll be in Melbourne this August too. Want to Immerse again? I'll email you!

  43. Thanks for the reinforcement Margie. Trying hard to be more observant of people's facial expressions/body language but I sure find it hard to describe. The examples are extremely helpful.

    At the lake now. Looking forward to our advanced immersion here in Jan/Feb!

    1. Hugs to Immersion-Grad Tammy!

      I loved working with your Immersion class - and can't wait to dig in to Advanced Immersion class with you all at your lake house in Florida early next year.

      Thanks for letting me know you were here!

  44. My heart's still thrumming from the DAYS MADE OF GLASS example! Thanks for the guidance and encouragement to write better; I just stuck up a post-it with "Where's the visual?" written on it to keep me thinking about it during upcoming revisions.

    1. Hello Megan S --

      You're so smart to give yourself a VISUAL reminder: WHAT'S THE VISUAL?

      The writing in DAYS MADE OF GLASS is viscerally engaging.

  45. I just love, love, love Laura and Darynda's writing. Brilliant! Just Brilliant. Just goes to show what can happen when writers move from ordinary to extraordinary. Thank you so much for these examples. I always learn so much from you each and every post.

    Hope to see you at RWA Nationals.

    1. Hello 2-time Immersion-Grad Lyz Kelley --

      Always great to see you!

      I'll see you at Nationals -- and hopefully in the Denver area sometime too!

  46. Hi, Margie. Fantastic post, as usual. You know, I save all of the examples you give in your posts. I re-read them when I feel stuck for fresh writing. The stellar examples always inspire me. Love, love, love how you share your superhero power of finding those examples!

  47. I love the word"immersion" because it's exactly what we, as writers, need to strive to give our readers. To immerse them in our characters' respective worlds. I write a very skeletal rough draft and then go back and ask, "how can I bring my reader into this so they are lost in the world I am creating?" I often give a talk on layering the five senses in writing and how it helps, but I love, love, love showing what is NOT happening. A new technique to learn and I am up for the challenge. It's a subtle approach that is terrific. Hope to make it to a class one day! I have some friends I am trying to convince to come with me.

    1. Hey Victoria --

      Immersing is a full experience!

      Ah -- You like my SHOWING WHAT'S NOT HAPPENING deep editing technique.

      So do I. 🙂

      Written well, it can be incredibly powerful. The POV character is thinking what he or she could do, but you load the scene with big time emotional power.

      You give the reader that powerful visual. They SEE the character doing this extreme thing, even though part of their brain know the character is just thinking.

      It would be fun to work with you and your friends in an Immersion class. If you have questions, email me.

  48. Hi, Margie! Loved the post and the examples. Sure helps to see what you're talking about. I read so many "how to" books that explain all day long but never "show" me. Thanks for the visuals!

    1. Hello Maggie --

      I am the queen of SHOWING, and I teach writers how to show too. Glad you liked the VISUALS.

      Thank you for posting a comment.

    1. Hugs to Multi-Immersioner Kimberly Belle!

      My Kimberly Belle books have at least a couple hundred sticky-tabs. And each tab marks a sentence that has a high WOW factor. Impressive!

      Thank you for your smart deep editing!

      Can't wait to see you at National!

  49. Thank you for sharing all of these fabulous examples. I've learned so much from you, and it's always great to see how others are putting your teachings into practice. Can't wait to do this all again at the next Immersion!

    1. Hugs to Immersion-Grad Lauren --

      So glad I bet you at Victoria Writers -- and got to work with you in Immersion in Melbourne. You'll dig deep in your next Immersion too!

  50. I'M SO HONORED!!! Wow! Thanks for including me. What company! Their examples blew me away. I am always, ALWAYS impressed with Kimberly's and Laura's writing. And I will forever love bull semen thanks to Laura. Just saying.

    1. Darynda --

      You and Laura Drake and Kimberly Belle are all incredibly talented writers. I'm honored to work with you all.

      Every Immersion-Grad will remember Laura Drake, bull semen, and bitch-kitty!

      BLOG GUESTS -- Read the opening of Laura Drake's first release, THE SWEET SPOT, and you'll know why.

      Darynda -- You know I love all your books. Your writing and stories WOW me.

      And THE CURSE OF TENTH GRAVE kept me reading several hours past midnight. I never should have started reading it at 11:30 PM. Had to keep reading until I got to the last word.

      Kudos to you for writing another compelling page-turner!

  51. Love your blog and can't wait for your class!! Thank you for all the great info!!


    You all WOWED ME with an avalanche of comments!

    I themed that sentence to my top-of-a-Colorado-mountain world. 🙂

    Since so many people posted comments, I decided we needed FOUR WINNERS.

    Random.org selected four names.

    Two Lecture Packet Winners:

    ---------------------------->>> Dianne Marie Andre

    ---------------------------->>> Morgan Watts

    Online Course Winners:

    ---------------------------->>> Nicola Burggraf

    ---------------------------->>> Kimberly Kessler

    CONGRATULATIONS to Dianne, Morgan, Nicola, and Kimberly!

    Please contact me through my website. Thank you!

    BLOG GUESTS: If you have questions about the online courses, lecture packets, and/or Immersion Master Classes, please contact me through my website. I'm happy to fill you in!


    Thank you again for dropping by WITS blog. It's THE BEST!

    1. Hugs to Immersion-Grad Krystal!

      So fun working with you in Immersion last week. Loved your story and your writing!
      Can't wait to see you again sometime. Maybe in 2017!

  53. Hugs to Immersion-Grad Tammy E!

    Thanks for letting me know you were here -- and that the examples made you happy!

    Loved working with you and your Immersion class. I'm excited about teaching an advanced Immersion class for your class at your lake house in Jan/Feb in Florida! Thank you again for offering to be the host Immersion!

  54. What a great post. Thanks for showing me how to make my story stronger with visuals. I'm in awe of these authors!

    1. Hello Jackie --

      Immersion-Grads Rule! Their writing is deep-editing strong. Learning how to amplify in fresh ways, when it counts, makes a huge difference on the page. And it makes pages turn faster and faster too.

      Thanks for chiming in! Hope to see you online or in person someday.

    1. Hugs to Immersion-Grad Sheri Humphreys!

      I had the BEST TIME working with you in Immersion! Hope to see you at National this year!

      You'll love DAYS MADE OF GLASS. Stellar writing!

  55. Excellent examples of vivid scenes by great authors. I happen to be a visual learner, so these examples help greatly. And thanks for mentioning that writers don't need to draw out every scene, just the important ones. Now to be sure I don't miss any important scenes in my WIP, I need to consider pacing. Thank you again for sharing this wisdom with your readers. I've shared on social media.

  56. Great, great, great. It's so easy to have the entire story in your head and "forget" that the reader doesn't have the same information. Show, show, show.... Thank you.

  57. Maggie, swear I've reposted this a dozen times and mailed links to an equal number of writer friends. All our thanks!

  58. Margie, Kimberly, Darynda and Laura:

    Margie, another terrific "How-To".

    K, D, and L:

    Wonderfully layered and textured writing. Congrats to all on your latest pubs.

    1. Hugs to Immersion-Grad Donna --

      Thank you. Thanks for letting me know you're here.

      Hope to see you in another Immersion class sometime!

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