What do you like about The Phantom Tollbooth so far?
Writers use vivid details to show not tell a story to their readers. This allows readers to form their own opinions and create their own mental images of the story. Readers can become part of the story and experience it for themselves.
The Writers Craft of Show Not Tell
Writers craft 'show, don't tell' by using descriptive language, such as metaphors and similes, to create visuals and feelings in readers' minds. The technique of 'show, don't tell' was initially popularized by Aristotle in his work The Poetics, written in 335 BC. The phrase 'show, don't tell' was first used by American author and writing teacher William E. Wilson in 1935.
Did you know?
In your opinion, what is the best way to practice the writers craft of show not tell?
- Write a story with vivid descriptions
- Read a book and try to find examples of show not tell
- Watch a movie and identify examples of show not tell
- Draw a picture that tells the story instead of writing it
- Write a poem that illustrates a scene without describing it
Many famous writers, such as JK Rowling and John Steinbeck, use symbols, metaphors, and other literary devices to subtly 'show' rather than 'tell' the story. Show, don't tell is a writing technique that allows the reader to use their own imagination to visualize the events, characters, and settings of the story. The use of 'show, don't tell' is particularly popular in books for children, as it allows for more creative storytelling.
Did you know?
Description: Showing the reader the action that is taking place instead of telling them what happened. Example: Instead of saying 'The boy was angry', say 'The boy clenched his fists and gritted his teeth.' Dialogue: Showing the reader the conversation between characters instead of summarizing what was said. Example: Instead of saying 'They discussed the plan', say 'John said, 'I think it's a great idea' and Mary replied, 'I agree, let's do it!'.' Sensory Details: Showing the reader the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of a scene instead of describing it in general terms. Example: Instead of saying 'The meadow was beautiful', say 'The meadow was filled with vibrant wildflowers, the sweet smell of grass, and the buzzing of bees.'
What is one examples of show not tell in The Phantom Tollbooth?
Work together in pairs: Which of the following is an example of a writer's craft of show not tell: A) She was angry. B) She slammed the door and stormed away. C) She gave him a stern look. D) She clenched her fists and gritted her teeth
Can you think of a book or story where the author uses descriptive language to help you imagine a scene or character, rather than just telling you what it looks like? Other than Phantom Tollbooth...
Which sentence is an example of 'show not tell'?
- The wind was howling angrily outside.
- He was very scared.
- She was extremely happy.
Which phrase is an example of 'show not tell'?
- Her heart raced as she watched the suspenseful scene unfold.
- They were really excited.
- He felt nervous and worried.
Which sentence demonstrates 'show not tell'?
- The flowers danced gracefully in the gentle breeze.
- She was incredibly smart.
- He was very tall.
'Show not tell' is when a writer...
- Directly tells the reader what to think or feel
- Uses descriptive details to paint a picture in the reader's mind
What do you think is the importance of showing rather than telling in a story?