Show, don’t tell.
|True love is the greatest thing in the world…Except for a nice MLT. A mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe.|
It’s a beginning writer’s mantra. Perhaps, it is even an apt collection of words to tattoo across the top of a novice scribbler’s hand. Do not tell the reader that your character started to feel old, instead show them.
Let’s draw on personal experience, shall we?
Today I strained a muscle in my hand using a three-hole-punch. I was all alone in my office, yet I still pretended it didn’t hurt. It hurt like hell, and while I struggled to remove the paper that was stuck in the middle punch, I blushed in my own humility. Then I ripped the stack of sheets in half trying to free them from the middle-punch choke-hold. Yes, it was barely audible, but I still said it: bloody hell, I’m getting old.
How else could you show your readers that a thirty something is starting to feel the other side of the bell curve? True, I now choose VHI over MTV, and sometimes diss food by saying it “doesn’t agree with me.” But after today, I have to say the best “show” is to describe a wimpy injury sustained while doing a simple task. As an other example (identity redacted for protection of masculinity purposes), a close relative of mine, who shares the same birth date and year, blew out his back making tea.