Writing Skills: Show, don't Tell - Add An Extra Dimension And Depth To Your Description | Elizabeth Bezant | Skillshare

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Writing Skills: Show, don't Tell - Add An Extra Dimension And Depth To Your Description

teacher avatar Elizabeth Bezant, Writer and House-sitter

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (15m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Show, don't Tell Explained

    • 3. Quiz

    • 4. Project (Beginner)

    • 5. Project (Intermediate)

    • 6. Project (Advanced)

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About This Class

Show, don’t Tell is an often overlooked and misunderstood aspect of writing. Yet, use it correctly and the quality of your writing, plus the depth of your description and your reader’s involvement in the story, can’t help but improve.

It’s definitely a skill worth learning which is why I put together this course - complete with an explanation of the skill, a quiz and a variety of projects.

So why not check out the course, have a go at the quiz and projects, and then experiment with Show, don’t Tell in your everyday writing?

PLUS, I’ve also created these Pack of Prompts especially to back up all you learn in this course.


Looking for books to help you with your writing?  Check out my Amazon page.


Meet Your Teacher

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Elizabeth Bezant

Writer and House-sitter



Hi, my name’s Elizabeth Bezant and I’m an internationally-published, freelance writer and writing coach, currently house-sitting full-time across Australia.

For the past two decades, or so, I’ve had a wonderful time inspiring and informing writers (in person, in print and online).

Over the years I’ve had a diverse range of articles, stories, columns and educational features published in countless magazines, anthologies and newspapers across the world. The ones I’m proudest of were included in: Britain’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Living Abroad, and Grace magazines; America’s Chicken Soup for the Soul, Chocolate for the Woman&rsqu... See full profile

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1. Introduction: hello and welcome to the show. Don't tell course. Overview show Don't tell is an often overlooked and misunderstood aspect of writing. Yet use it correctly on the quality of your writing, the depth of your description and your readers. Involvement in the story can't help but improve all, making it a skill that's definitely worth learning. Which, surprisingly enough is why I put to get that this course, complete with an explanation of the skill, a quiz and a variety of projects. So why not check out the course, have a go at the quiz and the projects, and then experiment with show? Don't tell in your everyday writing. 2. Show, don't Tell Explained: show. Don't tell us an interesting one and a confusing one quite often, too. But get the hang of it and your writing will improve immediately. Show Don't tell is one of those techniques that all writers who are serious about their craft should know If you've heard of it before and it never quite got that your head around it or if you've never heard of it before, this is where you really need to listen. So there are two ways of describing what's happening in a story. You can show it or you can tell it. Showing is describing what you absorbed through your senses and allowing the reader to then make their own assumptions from what you're showing with, Um, as in saying, I saw him smile and allowing the other your reader to then describe what his him smiling actually meant. Telling, on the other hand, is absorbing the information and then sharing with the reader what your assumptions are from that information, as in, you saw him smile and I said he was happy. The reader then doesn't have to make their own assumption from what you saw, because you've made it that assumption for them in everyday life. Very few people come to you in simply state. I am happy or I am sad. You're more likely to look at them and notice how they move, how they talk, what they say and what look is on their face. These are the pieces of information that you absorbed through your senses, and from then who then make your own assumption on how that person feels from these. You can tell if a person is happy, said, tired, bored, excited and so on just to fuck clarify the technique a little bit more. Here's an example. If a book said Fred was happy, that would be telling simply saying its simple, straightforward and to the point you are being told something directly from the information gathered by somebody else. You are being told somebody else's assumption. Showing, on the other hand, would be a sentence like the smile on Fred's face was reflected in his eyes. From that statement, you would instantly assumed that Fred was happy was smiling because he was happy. Or how about if you read when he was almost out of sight, I noticed Fred jump slightly and click his heels again, you would assume, presumably, that Freight was happy. These sentences tell us that, but at the same time, they're sharing a bit of information about friends character. Maybe the second. Fred is trying to hide his emotions more than the first. So maybe his shire, but can't contain his happiness. Or maybe he's just more athletic than the first Fred. Each sentence shows us shows so much more than Fred was simply happy. They are also subtle and smooth. Each one adds more coat or ization and depth without using direct statements. In the first draft of your story, you might simply choose to fight. Fred was happy, or Fred happily did something. But as you flesh out your story and everything becomes more three dimensional includes his , including his character. Make sure you choose to show. So if a story is retailing life, wouldn't it make more sense that it would replicate the way that we also behave in life? This is what showing is. The writer gives the reader enough information for them to make their own decision about things s specialty, the subtleties of the story, unlike telling which is stating the information and denying the reader the chance to make their own choices as a writer. The ability to show rather than telling neighbours the depth of your description, characterization, honesty, realism, in fact, almost everything to be stronger. And it is a simple is that it really is show, rather than tell and your writing will improve. There is, of course, is always one exception to the rule, and that is that not all young Children have learned to read body language or are able to make assumptions from what they feel see and sense around them. Therefore, if you're writing for young Children, you might choose to tell rather than show or even use a mixture of both styles. But other than that, I would always say where possible unless it comes across his clumsy and awkward show. Don't tell. Showing is just one more skill and technique to add. Tow all the others a writer canoes. But it's one of those techniques that will make a lot the difference. It will instantly make you appear more experienced and confident. How about that? A skill that will make you look like you've been writing for years, even if you only started it seriously, last month. So spend time playing with your descriptions and see what you can come up with. It might take a while to get a good handle on it, but try nonetheless, I expect the outcome will make you smile. And just to make things a bit easier here, some exercises that you might want to try. Watch people see how they behave because everybody behave slightly differently in different situations. Just a people's emotions show differently. And as a writer, it's worth recognizing traits for possible use later, Whilst watching define what triggers your assumptions is the one trait that makes you think one thing about person regardless of all their other behaviors. Why not read back over your writing and highlight where you tell and don't show them? Play with the words and see how you can show. Instead, see if there is more you can add to the story. Also, by showing in one spot you can quite possibly delete telling or unnecessary descriptions elsewhere. Hopefully, that's made everything a lot clearer, but also giving you something else to think about. Have fun with that play with it, just see what works and where you end up 3. Quiz: Hi and welcome to the show. Don't tell Quiz. I hope you have fun with it. - So how did you go? I'd love to hear how you got on. Don't forget, Teoh. Put your results in the comments section. 4. Project (Beginner): And here you go. Show Don't tell. Protect number one. Well, there you go. Don't forget to check out my course on using your senses if you need a bit of extra. 5. Project (Intermediate): Welcome back. Here's thes show. Don't tell Project number two. So what do you think? You want to try the advance project as well? 6. Project (Advanced): welcome back. His project number three. Well, there you go. I hope you enjoy those protects. And I'd love to see your favorite sentence if you care to share it on the courses project section.