What does this actually look like? How do you add specificity to your writing? Here are three ways to be more specific:

1. Focus On Detail


“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” —Anton Chekhov


Show, don’t tell” is one of the most common—and most overused—writing cliches out there. The reality is there are times when it makes sense to “tell.”

However, what I love about the quote above from Chekhov is that it shows the power of specific detail to open the imagination of your reader.

To summon detail in your writing, focus on your five senses: touch, taste, sight, smell, sound. When you set the scene, challenge yourself to use each of your five senses.

Depending on your scene you might not be able to write using all of them, but by stretching your observation skills, you’ll give your reader a much richer experience. Without realizing why, your readers will think, “Wow. This person can really write!”

(For more on the writing rule, “Show, Don’t Tell,” check out our post The Secret to Show, Don’t Tell.)

2. Focus On Moments

“The mark of a master is to select only a few moments but give us a lifetime.” —Robert McKee


Great storytellers don’t try to tell every little detail of a character’s life. Instead, they select a few, precious moments and then go so deep into those moments that it’s as if we’re living those moments with the characters.

Of course, this is more difficult than it sounds because when you’re first writing a story, you may not know which moments will be important to a character’s life.

This is why the most important, and usually most difficult task of every writer isn’t the creation process but the editing process, when you choose those important moments and cut the rest away.

3. Write Dialogue

Dialogue is ultimate form of specificity because you’re writing exactly what the characters actually said. However, it always surprises me when I read writing by amateur writers and they describe what the characters are talking about instead of using dialogue. This is so lazy!

Write out the dialogue. Don’t describe the conversation.

By the way, remember to be specific in your dialogue, too. Cut out any unimportant small talk and only include dialogue that moves the story forward.

(Want to know one common mistake that will ruin your dialogue? Check out our post A Critical DON’T For Writing Dialogue.)



Learn From The Best,

Streamline Your Focus

 Define Clear Writing Goals

Create a Space to Write

Call a Truce With Your Inner Critic

Quality Over Quantity


see all these things which are necessary to become a better writer for you.


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