Showing vs. Telling “Don’t just say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.” ~ Mark Twain Tell: It was a hot day. Show: As Alicia stepped into the white hot light of noon, she felt her black hair attract the sun’s rays and begin to fry her head. Tell: Charlie looked sad. Show: Charlie's rear end sagged and his head drooped so low his ears dragged on the ground. Tell: Mrs. Parker was nosy. She gossiped about her neighbors. Show: Turning the blinds ever so slightly, Mrs. Parker could just peek through the window and see the Ford Explorer parked in the driveway. She squinted her eyes so she could get a better view of the tall, muscular man getting out of the vehicle and walking up to Mrs. Jones' front door. He rang the doorbell. When Mrs. Jones opened the door and welcomed the stranger into her home with a hug, Mrs. Parker gasped and ran to her phone. Tell: The pizza was delicious. Show: Steam rising up off the melted cheese made my mouth water. The first bite, my teeth sinking into the cheese through the tomato sauce and into the moist crust, made me chew and swallow rapidly. Even the cheese and tomato sauce, sticking to my fingertips, begged to be licked. Tell: He is angry. Show: Sitting at his desk, his jaw tightened. His eyes flashed heat waves at me. The words erupted from his mouth, "I want to talk to you after class." The final hiss in his voice warned me about his feelings. Tell: The morning was beautiful. Show: Behind the mountains, the sun peaked brightly, ready to start a new day. The blue sky remained silent yet showed signs of sadness. The wind whispered through the trees as the cheerful sun rose. The birds sang gently by my window as if they wanted to wake me up. Tell: His uniform was uncomfortable. (about a soldier) Show: His stock had rubbed permanent rawness under his chin, his shoulders were welted by the weight of his haversack, his feet slid inside boots misshapen into leather lumps, his gun was so heavy it had dug a groove in his palm and he'd been half-minded to throw it into the trees . Tell: The passengers on the plane looked sleepy as they gathered their luggage. Show: As the pilot announced the end of their six-hour flight, the passengers yawned and rubbed their eyes while stuffing stray personal items into carry-on bags. Tell: The house seemed deserted. Show: A floorboard creaked under my foot as I stepped over the threshold. Not even a curtain stirred at he open window as my eyes swept the room, and the ticking clock over the mantel echoed in the stillness. Directions: Change the following paragraph from a telling paragraph into a showing paragraph. I was afraid as I walked down the pathway. It was dark outside and I felt nervous when the wind began to move the plants and trees. Trees were on both sides of the path and only a single light stood halfway down the path.
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