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.
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.
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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.
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|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.|
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