[Write On Wednesday] Pull Readers into Your Story

This month’s theme at StoryADay is “Show, Don’t Tell”, that pesky little piece of writing advice that sounds so easy and will actually take us the whole month to unpack. It’s more than simply ‘showing’. It’s about using all our senses to immerse the reader in a moment, and it come more easily to some writers than others.

Let’s start practicing with today’s prompt. This week we’ll focus on making the setting immersive. Next week will be about showing through dialogue. The week after that we’ll work on when to ‘show’ and when to ‘tell’.

photo of dining room by matt briney on unsplash.com

The Prompt

Your character walks into a room  and sees something/someone they really, really don’t want to see. How do they solve this dilemma?


  • While you’re writing this story, try to immerse the reader in the most emotionally-significant moments by taking us right inside your story.
  • Don’t say “I walked into the large, well-kept formal dining room.” Try something like, “the clack of my heels on the hardwood floor echoed around the high ceiling. A crystal chandelier’s reflection winked at me from the polished dining table. I couldn’t smell the flowers that had been artfully arranged in huge gleaming vase, just silver polish and oil soap.” 
  • Be wary of weighing down the story with too much description though. Anything you spend this much time on should have emotional resonance. For example, I imagine the character in the above scene has a complicated relationship with an older relative who owns this house. All these features make her deeply uncomfortable, and my next sentence should show that. e.g. “I pulled at the collar of my blazer and made sure my skirt was straight. Aunt Sara would surely comment if it wasn’t.”
  • In that sentence I added some action to convey the character’s feelings rather than telling you she was nervous about seeing the old battleaxe again.
  • The thing they don’t want to see could be a spider, and alien, something that triggers them, something they’re scared of, something they thought they’d got rid of, something that tempts them…
  • The person they don’t want to see could be an ex, a difficult family member, they person they just stole something from, their principal/priest/parole officer…

Try to include a few instances of this kind of “showing” in your story today.

Use the StoryADay Short Story Framework to map out what might happen in your story. Don’t have a copy of the Short Story Framework? Request it here.)

If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.

Leave a comment to let us know what you commit to doing today to nurture your inner writer: Write this story? Comment on this post? plan your next story? Read a great short story?

11 thoughts on “[Write On Wednesday] Pull Readers into Your Story”

  1. My Response to the Prompt

    Delilah stepped cautiously into the dark, shadowy room filled with the smell of old books. Silence filled the room and all her worries seemed to disappear as she searched the shelves for her next story. Her mind wandered where the next book would take her, to Africa this time. She soon found one called A Day of Wonder and sat ready to lose herself for the next few hours. Clank! She slowly turned her head in the direction of the mysterious sound. Many thoughts rushed through her mind. What could that be? Who else is here? What could they want? The sight that met her eyes was unbelievable. The man was bloody and shaking. His body crumpled to the ground, though his eyes remained alert. Standing behind was a person in all black holding a gun. “Get on the ground, now!” She quickly followed his orders and proceeded to lie on the cold, white tiles. The smell of cleaning detergent and blood filled her nostrils. He ran over to her and wrapped some rope around her small wrists. A black object covered her eyes and felt herself thrown onto a seat. An engine started and her worries blended into dreams. “Get up and don’t fuss!” A voice shouted, she was led up some steps and into a bright room. “What are you gonna do with her?”

  2. I had a knot in my current story that I couldn’t unravel. While driving home from work, I turned on a classical music station and concentrated on figuring out why it was a problem and how I could fix it. 45 minutes later, problem solved. Now to write the scene!

    1. Fantastic!

      I went for a long walk today that decluttered my brain too. I should probably have written some fiction as soon as I got home. Oops, next time.

  3. This afternoon I will be working on editing two pieces: a 200 word flash fiction story for a competition and final (I hope!) edits on a 5000 word story that will be published next year.

  4. I started my day with writing! I am continuing to read a poem every morning to be immersed in that language. I always have a notebook, my Keep app, or my computer close to jot down ideas that come to me.

  5. Today, I have my writing notebook open on my desk at work with my favorite pen lying next to it. I have a 45 minute timer set for work, followed by a quick stretch and 10 minute timer for writing. I will be here for 7 hours today and will get in one solid hour of writing.

    1. I love that. So often it seems like we can’t write at work, but I bet lots of people could do this, with no decline in productivity. Perhaps an increase!

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Find out more about the StoryADay


The only qualification to be a ‘Superstar” is a desire to write and support your fellow writers.

A supportive group of committed writers, who meet virtually, support each other’s efforts, and inspire each other.

Registration for 2024 open now-June 8, 2024

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