Monday, May 31, 2010

Show n Tell. Oh, contests and blogfest.

Show vs. Tell. I thought about this yesterday because my daughter had show n tell at her school this past week.
A few of you have posted on this recently too. I'm learning how to show vs. tell. I think I'm getting there--my CPs say so. I write in first person so this is crucial to my writing. It definately makes a difference. Drawing the reader in, making your characters real.

I tried to remember that lovely classroom lesson of show n tell.

You show what you will tell about.

You stand up in front of the class.

Shaking slightly.

A cough comes from the back row.

Your heart thumps in your ear as dozens of sparkling eyes lay upon you.


You hold up the floppy stuffed animal like a trophy.

Then after the kids eww and ahh about it tell. This is my dog spot. He has white and black fuzzy fur. He can bark. He also needs a bath because he smells funny. My brother tries to eat him and says he tastes like plastic. I love my dog, he's my best friend.

What happens when you show it? You the owner hold it up to the class letting them see the object (let's say the stuffed dog). The class will observe- noting the texture (touch), color, sound (if it barks in which it would require batteries), taste (some kids do this--just sayin') and smell. That's right the five senses. So how would you write this? 

A deep musty smell traveled up my nostrils as I rolled over. I pulled my best friend from under me.
"Good morning, Spot."
Squeezing my little companion, a plastic taste filled my mouth as a bunch of fur blanketed my tongue.
Wiping the hair from my tongue, I cringed. "Yuck. blah."
"You bad dog you." Spot stared back leaving no expression but let out a light bark.
"Oh no. Mom needs to change your batteries." I scratched the scruffy fur behind his ear.
"Mom! I need new batteries for Spot," I yelled.
My mom opened my door. "You don't have to yell, sweetie. I'll check and see if we have any." She gently picked up the fuzzy beast. "I'll also have to throw Spot in the laundry. His white fur almost matches his black spots."

I'm sure this isn't the best example. Probably pretty crude and my little kid sounds a little more adult. I guess that's why I write YA. Forgive me if I made a mistake.  I also put it in a different setting--again I'm not a certified teacher but I hope you get the idea.

Please check out these posts on showing and telling as well as dealing with writing senses.

 Erica Mitchell Spickard -about writing about the senses.

This fantastic post by the lovely Lola Sharp. I think she explains this much better than I did. Please check it out!!

 Karen G is having a contest. Ends June 1st. Pay it Forward contest. Really cool.

B. Miller is having a Pay it Forward contest ending June 1st. Actually, she started it.  Go check it out--it's awesome.

Christi Goddard-106 followers contest. Write a 500 word story and you can win an awesome prize. Ends June 15th.

Frankie at Frankie Writes-Having a 500 follower contest. Lots of signed books. If you go there tell her I sent you. Ends June 6th.

Michelle Gregory is holding a blogfest July 1st. The Share your Darlings Blogfest. Check it out!
Have a great day! Have a great Memorial Day!


  1. Erica's and Lola's posts are great. I loved your example, Christine. Yep, there's a reason I write YA and not kids books, like you. It's the same reason I could never write an adult book. I have a hard time with their dialogue as well.

  2. Thanks for sharing all of the upcoming contests! Nice example of show vs. tell. LOL~

  3. Great example! I like how you used dialogue to also "show" - knowing Mom needs to throw him in the washer shows us something about how he looks (and smells).

  4. Thanks for the links! I had a hard time discerning between the two for soooo long, but I'm finally getting it. Good example!

  5. Thanks for the links! Showing and telling is a fine balance and, I believe, dictated by who your reader is too. To make rules as concrete as a grammar around showing and telling would kill the creativity!

  6. thanks for mentioning the blogfest.

  7. Great reminders here. I learned about showing versus telling way back in high school, but I STILL tell instead of show sometimes. It's especially hard writing for children (I recently started a MG novel) because I'm tempted to spell things out for the younger crowd instead of trusting that they'll pick up on what I'm showing.

  8. Thanks for the link to my nutty experiment haha :) Lola also had a great post, and so did you. Yikes, first person is a challenge having to describe from only one POV and making sure your showing only what they know (cause they don't have eyes in the back of their heads) and there isn't a detached narrator to give insight into the other characters, so each facial expression, tone fluctuation from the other characters has to be shown so well that the reader and MC can do more than just assume what they mean. It's tough, and I am still learning but I think one day my brain was like AHA got it! (but not fully lol) Great post, loved your paragraph. I'm always so lengthy in my response o.O

  9. Great exercise! (And I have a pillow and my best friend has a dog, *cough*, so no problem that your character sounds a little too old for a stuffed animal, *cough*.)

  10. Love this exercise! Happy Memorial Day!!

  11. What an awesome exercise! You know I need work on this subject and it's nice knowing I have wonderful crit partners to help me through it!!! ;)

    Great contests, links and blogfests! Once again showing all the best stuff!

  12. awesome exercise!! thanks for this!!

  13. Spot is so cute. :)

    This is a great exercise. I really do need to eliminate tell and put in more show in my writing.

  14. Great post and a great show v. tell. :) And you're right. Lola's post rocked.

  15. Oh, come on. Can't I just tell and tell and tell? OK, I know I can't. Thanks for the links!

  16. Thanks your for the example and more links! I too loved Lola's post on Show v. Tell! It's extremely helpful to get more and more examples of that so we don't fall back into the laziness of telling. :)