If you're a writer, it's a fair bet you've heard this one:
"Show, don't tell."
For many writers, this proves to be a bit of a challenging lesson. For others, it comes fairly naturally. What many don't realize, however, is that whether or not you realize it, you are always showing something.
For me, one of the tricks to showing vs. telling comes with dialogue. It's easier to think of body language when we think about people actually communicating. Before I describe any action or statement with an adverb -- "He said angrily" -- I consider what sort of body language will communicate anger instead:
"He said with a scowl"
"He clenched his jaw"
"He shook his fist"
While it's easy to remember body language when characters are actively communicating, we may not always think about it when they are not. However, as we rarely have a character who does nothing but sit in a corner and stare into space, we know that characters are always doing something. We have to remember, therefore, that whatever they are doing, it shows us something.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
It's cliche, but it's true. Talk is cheap; actions often relay our true motivations and intent.
When it comes to storytelling, I'm a fan of saying "Just because you say something doesn't make it true". Quite often I see new and amateur writers in romance making this mistake: they give readers claims such as:
No one had ever made her feel this way before.
There was just something about him.
She was always such a klutz!
He'd never been good at finding the right words.