One of the first rules story writers learn is this: Show, don’t tell.

What does that mean? Check out the following examples to see what I mean.

When you write a story, try not to tell your readers what your character is feeling, like this:

Jeremy was angry.

Instead, show your character in action, like this:

Jeremy threw his bat, kicked up dust, and yelled at the umpire.

MIDDLE SCHOOL WRITING PROMPT: One of the first rules storywriters learn is this: Show, don't tell. What does that mean? Read on to find out and to practice this important skill!

In the first sentence, the writer tells readers that Jeremy is angry. That’s boring, and it does not tell the readers just how angry Jeremy was or what he does when he’s angry. The second sentence fixes that. It shows Jeremy in action without even using the word “angry.”

Pay attention to yourself the next time you are angry. What do you do? How does your body feel?

When you are happy, what do you do? How does your body feel?

Study yourself and others to learn how to describe characters when they are feeling something strong. Then use those actions in your stories.

Now it’s your turn: Change these three boring sentences to show how each character is feeling. Make the characters do something that shows how they are feeling:

1. Erik was excited as he went up the stairs.
2. Melissa was happy that she won the contest.
3. Abby was afraid to go into the room.

Copyright © 2011-2014 by Sharon Watson

Image: silhouette courtesy of graphicstock.com. Man with mask by Axel Bueckert / adobestock.com. Faces by lassedesignen / adobestock.com.
Do you have an idea for a writing prompt? Contact Sharon Watson by clicking here.

Teachers, connect with Sharon on Facebook or Pinterest!

Drop the Drama: Help Stuggling Writers Jump These 5 Hurdles Are your writers struggling? Do you wish you could figure out why your children won’t write? Would you love to have a peaceful writing class experience?

Help your struggling writers—and you!—by identifying five hurdles to writing. Then learn practical actions you can take against those hurdles.

This article by me in The Old Schoolhouse magazine is also loaded with links to other helpful posts that will give you and your writers some welcome relief.

Click here to drain some of the tension from your writing class



Frustrated that your students don’t finish an essay or don’t know the steps to complete one? Worry no more! Click here for my latest article in The Informer about a super-practical writing schedule you WILL use!

Want daily writing prompts to tempt reluctant writers and delight eager ones? Find out more about Sharon’s daily writing prompts posted on SchoolhouseTeachers.com under “Dailies” or click here.

Get three FREE writing lessons by subscribing to Writing with Sharon Watson! Use the Subscribe form in the column to the right.

the-power-in-your-hands writing-fiction-in-high-school Check out the innovative The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School for your complete high school writing curriculum needs. If you have a storyteller at home, try Writing Fiction [in High School] with hundreds of examples from popular fiction and classical literature.

Jump InGet your middle school student ready for high school with this popular writing curriculum from Writing with Sharon Watson, published by Apologia! Featured in Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, Jump In will prepare and even amuse your students as they learn the fundamentals of effective essay writing and storytelling.