2 Show Don’t Tell in your Essay You are writing a personal narrative—the word narrative implies that you are telling a story.Which is more entertaining to read?One time my sister hid in the closet. She jumped out and scared me. I freaked out.On Saturday, my sister Kate contorted her body and stuffed herself into the small coat closet underneath the staircase. A few minutes later I reached for the door, only to feel a hand reach out and grab me as she simultaneously leapt from behind the door. I screeched in terror! My heart raced for quite awhile after that fright!
3 Strategies to SHOWdescribe the character’s actions rather than just saying how he or she feels.Mark was frustrated with the grade he got on his test.TELLSHolding his graded test in his hands, Mark groaned audibly and buried his head in his hands.SHOWS
4 use action verbs. Lydia was crying. LINKING VERB Strategies to SHOWuse action verbs.Lydia was crying. LINKING VERBTears streamed from Lydia’s eyes. ACTION VERB!
5 use similes and metaphors. Strategies to showuse similes and metaphors.The boy ran fast.Action verb…but still tells!With cheetah-like speed, the boy blew by his competition.
6 use dialogue. Strategies to Show She was excited when he asked her to homecoming.TELLS“AHHHH!!” Elizabeth squealed with excitement as Matt walked away after asking her to be his date to the dance.
7 Strategies to showUse sensory details! Appeal to some of the five senses to paint a picture of what is happening.SmellSightTouchTasteSoundHer eyes darted around the carnival as she tried to take in the flashing lights. Screams from kids on the tilt-o-whirl blocked out her previous thoughts of finding a deep fried twinkie, whose sweet aroma tempted her despite the dripping oil that would inevitably accompany it.
8 Show, Don’t Tell The girl cried a lot. Describe the picture that this sentence paints in your mind.What words could we use instead of girl? What are more specific words that mean cry?How else can we say a lot?Example: The teenager threw herself on her bed and sobbed into her pillow until she fell asleep.
9 The little girl looked in the window. Let’s try it…The little girl looked in the window.
10 Let’s try it…As her nose pressed against the window, the glass fogged with her breath.
11 Your turn—in your notes, change these from telling to showing! The students decorated the halls.He climbed the fence.I danced to the music.She was happy.The scent of cookies was in the kitchen.