“Don’t tell us the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.” Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). Show Not Tell. You’ve heard me say it over and over. You’ve seen examples galore. You’ve been practicing with writing poetry and prose. Is focused, descriptive
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Show Not Tell
writing coming natural to you yet?
even better at using what
you’ve learned in all your writing?
1. Those ubiquitous adverbs:
You learned them on Grammar Bytes, and they
are parts of our speech. They are allowed in
our writing, but don’t let adverbs take over.
Let me illustrate:
“You ruined by book,” he said angrily.
You’ve been told he’s angry and why;
but can you see, hear, taste, smell,
touch what the writer is seeing as he writes?
Henry slammed the book shut and hurled it at the couch. The pages ruffled open, exposing words against dark black covers. He jumped up so fast his chair skidded across the floor and dented the new drywall. You ruined my book, he shrieked.
2. If possible, avoid forms of this verb: am, is, are, was,
was being, will have been,
could have been, et al.
It’s the deadest of all the dead verbs.
hear, smell, feel…?
Have you been told or shown?
Remember the 2012 Oscar winner?!
Remember our Greek clip of “Ransom of Red Chief”?
Mrs. Harrell’s slide show used ideas from Rebecca Kaplan and Shirley Jump