Does Your Scene Come Alive?


As children’s writers, we hope to pull our readers into a story and keep their interest from start to finish. One important tool for achieving that goal is called “show; don’t tell.” By showing what characters experience moment-to-moment, we help readers feel like they are THERE with the characters, sharing the experience. “Show; don’t tell” helps us write lively scenes rather than just giving readers a bland list of facts or background information about characters, settings, and events.

Here’s an example based on one of the writing exercises I use in my workshops. The first is a series of fact statements that lack “show; don’t tell”:

Inside the Traynor home, 11-year-old Jason was working on his school science project. The project was due the next day. Jason had not planned ahead and didn’t have the materials he needed to finish. He was worried.

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