Show Don’t Tell

hand writingShow don’t tell is a phrase you may have heard before. Writing that shows us things about the character gets the reader more involved in the story than writing that tells the same information. Below are some examples of showing vs telling.

You could say:
“She was sad that he had left.”
Or you could show the reader, by saying:
“She stood watching his car drive away until she could no longer see it.”

You could say:
“He was afraid that the teacher would yell at him.”
Or you could say:
“He walked to the front of the class with his head bowed, avoiding Mrs Periwinkle’s stare.”

In both of these examples, the second version is more interesting. When you show rather than tell, you give the reader a chance to become involved in the story.

Try adding a sentence to the examples below which shows the feeling written in brackets.

  • He watched his sister play netball. (bored)
  • She looked at her Grandma’s photo. (sad)
  • She opened the present. (amused)

You can find more writing tips, ideas and story starters on our blog page.