Show vs Tell

He was Old and Thin writing by Marissa Campbell
He was Old and Thin writing by Marissa Campbell

He sat in the rocker. Wooden and hard, the chair had a cushion of square fabric flattened by years of use. A brown and yellow afghan spilled over one corner. The fireplace crackled.

The wool cardigan tugged at his shoulders, the weight dragging down his stooped frame. His hand, the skin paper thin, freckled with age spots, and tinted blue with veins, reached into a trouser pocket and withdrew a yellowed handkerchief.

A barking cough stole his breath, and his eyes watered. He dabbed at the tears then pushed his thick glasses higher. They edged back down the sharp slant of his nose.

His gazed travelled to the frost covered window, the lead glass dimpled and thick. No warmth touched his eyes, only a passive disinterest. His mind a hopeless blank as he searched for some lost memory, something to tie him to this place.

This was a writing prompt from a wonderful workshop I took called Write to Win! presented by Ruth Walker & Dorothea Helms. I invite you to check out their website: http://writescape.ca/writescape/workshops-2/write-to-win/

The concept of the prompt was to ‘show’ us a character—as opposed to ‘telling’ us. Rather than write: ‘he was old and thin,’ create an image in the reader’s mind. I hope you see him as clearly as I do. xo

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

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