Show, Don't Tell

A bad method in writing is to say constantly, "He/She/I was scared," or "He/She/I was hungry," or sad or angry or excited or whatever.

Here's something you can do once in a while. Take a phrase like what I've just mentioned. like, "I was scared." Elaborate. Tell all about you being scared, without using the word 'scared.' For example:

I was scared.

My legs were trembling with the effort to stand, my teeth chattering nonstop. My hands were clammy and covered in sweat, wringing themselves as I walked forward hesitatanly. The smallest noises made me jump, the wind on the back of my neck making me shiver.

--and so, you get the picture. It's just to practice showing something, without telling.

However, this really only works with feelings. Don't go off talking about long, wooden sticks with suction cups on the end. Just say plunger. No need to get fancy there.


Here is a fun, not to mention simple game, where the challenge is: make a story!

The way it goes is that you and a bunch of friends and/or family collect a small array of items, probably no less than 3 or 5 and no more than ten. Then everyone sits down and, using the collected items, goes one at a time, creating a story using the itmes either in the story's context or simply just to act your story out! You don't have to use all of them, but its funner and coller if you do! It shows how creative you are, making a story right out of thin air! It can also give you some ideas for later.

Even people who DON'T like to write can play the STORY MAKING game. Everyone's still got their own imagination, and so everyone's got their own stories! See how many different ones you can gome up with!


When you create characters for a story, one thing that is fairly important is variety. You can't have everyone be dry, or have them all bouncing off the walls, or have them all so straight you'd suspect they all have sticks up their butts (pardon me for the language). You have to give them different personalities, different likes and dislikes, all the things that makes a person unique!

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you're working with making characters that are all different from each other while also identifying their personalities--if these sound familiar, I got them from a book by a guy named Art Roche:

Just giving credit where credit is due. (I've just recently read this book myself and took a few notes.)

  • How would each character respond to giving a speech in front of a crowd of 1,000 people?
  • What does each character want most in life?
  • What is each character's biggest personality flaws?
  • If each of these characters had to make a choice between money and happiness, which would they choose and why?
  • How would each character react to someone cutting in line in front of them?

These may not sound very big, but from just these little questions you can learn alot about the very character YOU created, while proving to yourself that they're all special, and not drones all given the same brain.

Good luck!