Hello and welcome to the Write for a Reason blog!

We look at ‘show don’t tell’ a lot here at Write for a Reason, because it is an essential technique for writing engaging stories.

Today I have some practice for you (there’s nothing like a writing exercise to help you remember something you have learned!).

First let’s look at some examples.

1. Tell: The girl was angry. – This is a simple telling of the facts.

Show: The girl’s face went red. She clenched her fists and stamped her foot. In this description, we are not told the girl is angry… we see it for ourselves. Or she could put her hands over her ears and scream!

Here’s another example:

2. Tell: The cat stalked the mouse.

Show: The cat crouched low, swished her tail, then crept towards the mouse.

3. Tell: The moon shone on the still lake.

Show: Moonlight shimmered on the unblinking water.

What do you think? These are only simple examples, but if you look through your work in progress, you might find a few places where you could change a simple telling of the facts into a descriptive ‘show’ to take your readers right there to the scene with you.

OK, now it’s your turn! Here are three ‘tells’ to turn into ‘shows’:

  • The kitchen looked clean.
  • The boy felt afraid.
  • The birds flew slowly.

You can put these little phrases into a bigger picture if you like, so they make more sense, if that helps. 🙂

I hope you enjoy this exercise, and it helps you with your writing.

See you next week!

Janet Wilson from Write for a Reason and Dernier Publishing


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‘Show Don’t Tell’ Practice
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