One of the things I hate about current fiction "rules" is that they tell you to SHOW everything, not tell the story. The problem with this is that there are only so many ways to show things, so you get overused phrases that make us all sound like hacks. Phrases like, "Her heart caught in her throat." Or..."A lump rose like bile."
In contrast, I picked up Steinbeck for the first time since high school. He was never a favorite (obviously), but this time...this time, he speaks of the Gabilan mountains (the California golden hills that I love) and he described them with such glorious adoration, I realized that I've been wrong about Steinbeck all of these years. He loves my mountains. He is like me -- only 1,000 times better. Here is his description of them in "East of Eden"
"I remember that the Gabilan Mountains to the east of the valley were gay mountains full of sun and loveliness and a kind of invitation, so that you wanted to climb into their warm foothills almost as you want to climb into the lap of a beloved mother. They were beckoning mountains with a brown grass love."
OMG, THAT IS IT!!
And when he TELLS you the story instead of showing it?? You only wish you possessed such skill. Like when he TELLS us about this character. He doesn't take four pages to SHOW us she's humorless and stodgy. He TELLS us...
"...he brought with him an Irish wife, a tight hard little woman humorless as a chicken. She had a dour Presbyterian mind and a code of morals that pinned down and beat the brains out of nearly everything that was pleasant to do."
Tell me you don't know exactly who she is in the most unique way. I apologize Steinbeck. I was not worthy.