Showing A Character’s Trait

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We tell students to “show not tell” in their writing, but this advice isn’t effective until they experience the difference. In this video, we’ll write two examples of a scene: one showing a character’s trait, and one just telling.

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We tell students to "show, not tell" in their writing, but this advice isn't effective until they experience the difference. In this video, we'll put a famous character (of students' choosing) into a mundane situation and develop a fun scene to show off their main traits.

Objective

To practice the common writing advice of "show, not tell," students will write two examples of a scene: one showing a character's trait, and one just telling. They'll put a famous character into a mundane situation and develop their scene.

In this task,

  1. Students pick a well-known character and put them into an everyday situation: a miniature golf course, a trip to the library, a meal at the diner, etc.
  2. They identify the character's main trait and come up with an event that will highlight that trait.
  3. They brainstorm ten specific ways that the character will show that trait (words they'll say, noises they'll make, actions they'll take, how they'll look, etc).
  4. Finally, they write up the situation - using their ten ideas to show the character's main trait.
  5. They'll also write a non-example in which they only tell the trait. No showing allowed!

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