I play Dungeons and Dragons 5e.
I have a habit of highlighting certain choices, without realizing I'm doing it, because what I feel like I'm doing, is telling not showing. I have a problem with my descriptions if you want to call them that. Whenever I describe something, my players feel that I'm railroading them into three different paths. I have told them, they can do something else.
They feel like they have too much choice, vs not having enough descriptions that let them choose what they want to do.
My description, if you want to call it that is as follows:
"You have chased the orcs into the pit of the cave. You are at the cave's entrance. There are a pile of bones which seem to have some teeth marks, possibly from a wolf. You hear orc drums coming from the village you just came from in Coldharbor."
"Heaven's roar drums through the Sky Sea. Your hawk-like eyes catch sight of a druid dancer waltzing by the pyre, a ritual to ignite Gimble and Gamble's Zipping Zeppelins."
Not only is this description loaded with too many railroading choices, but I'm not describing anything. You know that saying of show not tell? Well, I'm telling, I'm not showing and I just don't get it. I'm just telling information that is only important to me, vs. what description is important for my players. I don't understand the process of how to describe something (Showing not telling) and giving the players tools to interact with their environment and doing their own thing. I want to give my players the total agency of choice, not me force feeding it to them with descriptions that feel like I'm letting my players do stuff when I'm not.
For the longest time, I thought I wasn't railroading, but I am. I'm giving my players to much choice, and using choppy bland descriptions. I noticed whenever I describe something, I sound choppy. I'm probably doing that right now. Okay, I am. I'll admit it. I'm choppy as Hades right now, but I want to improve. No, I need to improve in order for my game to survive.
How do I narrate in a way that draws my players' attention in, and has them at the edge of their seats while giving them freedom of choice?
I haven't been able to find an article on the subject, a book or video of what I'm talking about. If anyone has any sources that they can recommend, that would be great. (Please elaborate on such recommendations by explaining how they're relevant to solving my problem.)