Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Paint A Picture With Words

Show - don’t tell

and don’t tell – show.

Do it well

and pictures grow!

One thing writers hear all the time is “showdon’t tell”.  It seems like a funny thing to say because you’d think pictures would “show” and words would “tell”.  But, if you choose descriptive and active words, you’ll be showing – not telling.   If you use vivid details, you’ll be painting a picture in the reader’s head. 

Here’s an example: 
Tell:  Bob was happy. 
Show:  Bob grinned from ear to ear. 

In the “show” example, I didn’t have to tell you Bob was happy – instead, you probably imagined Bob with a big smile on his face.  I painted picture in your head. 

Here’s another example:
Tell:  Sarah was scared by the storm. 
Show:  With each flash of lightning and boom of thunder, Sarah ducked under her covers and squeezed her eyes shut. 

I didn’t mention Sarah being scared, but you got the picture! 

So, when you’re editing a story you’ve already written or when writing a new story, look for ways you can show and not tell. 

Click HERE for an awesome activity to help you practice.  It’s from a website called Beg, Borrow and Teach. (Teachers, bookmark this site. You'll want to come back again and again for great ideas!) 

~ Lori


No comments:

Post a Comment