By Sheree K. Nielsen
Anyone can tell a story, and it might even interest the reader, but wouldn’t it be better if they conjured up visual images in their mind?
Attending Saturday Writer’s group for the first time in 2008, the board members gave a talk with handouts on The First Rule of Writing by Sandy Tritt – Show, Don’t Tell. I still implement this principle of writing today.
Born and bred in The Show Me State, the Show, Don’t Tell rule is easy to remember.
Readers love visual details. With regards to travel writing, I try to place readers in the moment by touching on all the senses. Here are a few examples of painting visual pictures while penning travel articles.
As I stroll through the Middle Caicos’ picturesque Mudjin Harbor, I notice limestone cliffs towering above. Powdery pink sand massages tender toes and heels. Rounding the curve of the island, warm summer trade winds tousle my sun-bleached hair as I reach harbor’s point.
An excerpt from my feature in AAA Midwest Traveler and AAA Southern Traveler, “Southern Sophistication”, published in 2016, talks about the interior of award-winning restaurant, Circa 1886, in Charleston, South Carolina. “The romantic restaurant with arched booths and candlelit tables, beckons couples to linger over a fine-dining experience.” Even that one sentence description sets up a visual image for the restaurant ambience.
Don’t those two totally different descriptions place you in the moment? Anything less than feeling, smelling, tasting, hearing or touching robs the reader from pure imagination in this adventure we call Life.
And finally, here’s an example taken from my ‘healing’ coffee table book of beach photographs and lyrical poetry and prose, Folly Beach Dances – The Infinite Rhythms of a South Carolina Seashore. The photograph is titled Liquid Dancing. If I’m having a stressful day, I remember these words for writing inspiration.
“The glistening water reflects from the sun hints of golden maize and beige gray in this late morning swelters, with ripples that form parallel to the sand similar to an Escher drawing.”
Often when I’m traveling, I’ll find a seat on a park bench, or along a shoreline, and observe the sights, sounds, and smells around me. When I begin writing, the words seem to flow like musical notes on a song sheet.
Peace, love, and long walks on the beach!
is an award-winning freelance writer, poet and photographer. Her countless credits include and in October 2013 – ”. , , , and others. For two consecutive years, Sheree received First Place for Photography from the l and the e – Awarded September 2014 for