Exercise 6: Identifying showing and telling in your own writing

Last week, our exercise was pretty simple. We read a favorite author’s work and made notes or highlights of when they were showing and telling. This week’s exercise is similar, but we’re going to build on it and get a little more personal. We’re continuing to practice learning how to identify the difference between showing and telling, and I’m also introducing you to the early stages of editing your own work.

I think it’s important to start small and build ourselves up to bigger projects, but you can apply today’s exercise to any piece you’ve written in the past. When you’re just learning to self-edit, I think it helps to use an old piece. You’ve had a chance to distance yourself from it, so it’s not occupying the same space in your mind and you’re less likely to have the same emotional connection to it as you did when it was fresh.

Go back to the piece you wrote for our very first exercise. Read over it and try to identify where you were showing and telling, just like we did in last week’s exercise. Decide whether your use of showing or telling was effective and rewrite any parts that didn’t have the impact you wanted them to have.

Image credit: John Jennings, Unsplash

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