Show, don’t tell. That’s what every beginning writer is told. But how is this achieved? And what does it look like when it comes to setting?
In terms of show, don’t tell, there are two broad strategies to think about. When used together they are brilliant tools to really paint a picture in your reader’s mind. The first is to use figurative language (but more on this in another post). The second is to use sensory language — to draw upon the five senses to describe the setting.
Let’s take a look at one of the more underutilised senses: touch.
When teaching creative writing I like to take my students outside so that they can notice in minute detail what is going on around them. I use the wordtouch rather than feel in this exercise because the term feel tends to lead to discussions about emotions. Instead, I want my students to really notice the touch of the wind on their faces or the ground under their feet.