06 August 2011

Show Don't Tell

Actions speak louder than words, right? But in creative writing, how do you follow that philosophy? It's called showing rather than telling. It was an assignment in one of my writing classes that really opened my eyes. Here's what I discovered.


Biscuit was excited when I came home from work. She had been there by herself all day. Her excitement was apparent to me and when I let her out she wasn't able to hold back long enough for me to put a leash on her and take her outside. Unfortunately, she made a healthy deposit on my carpet.


I slipped my key into the front door to unlock it. Biscuit barked and yiped, her nails grating across the plastic tray of her kennel. I felt a twinge of guilt for not having them clipped.

When she saw me, she pranced around in circles, trampling the blanket I had left for her comfort. Impatient as she was, I half expected her to come right out and say, "Let me out already, let me out!" She peered at me with her small, black eyes, her tawny tipped black ears perked up and slightly back. She was a picture of animation, all four pounds of her, with her silky blackish blue hair almost touching the bottom of the 2x3 feet black iron crate.

I tried matching her excitement in a high pitched voice, "Okay, Poopie. Are you ready to go potty?"

She twirled about in her circles, never stopping but for a nanosecond to make eye contact between each revolution. Every step I took toward the kennel increased her momentum and her twirls were performed exponentially faster. It was as if each of those twirls wound her up tighter so that she could spring forward at any moment. I leaned over and opened the door.


She shot out of her kennel in a burst and then bounced around, seemingly yipping, "I'm free, I'm free...let's PLAY--" Just before squatting and depositing a nice yellow stain on my carpet.


So which one do you think was more fun writing? :)

Here's a picture for you!


  1. When you gotta go, you gotta go! :D

  2. Oh trust me, you wouldn't think so much pee could come out of a dog that is barely 4 pounds! lol

  3. Adorable pooch-and I love the way you remembered to use sound too. Something we often forget when we forget to "show".

  4. Thanks! And she gets along so well with my two English Bulldogs. :D

  5. Awesome post, Diane. Your pooch is super cute!!!
    Thanks for the show vs. tell reminder. I was in a bit of a quandry on my WIP.
    Have a most epic day.


  6. Thanks Darlene! Poopie thanks you for calling her cute and then peeping at me through her blonde bangs she said, "I already knew that."

  7. Awsome post. Almost like I was there. :-)

  8. Hello hello! I just awarded you my Versatile Blogger award on my blog! Check it out to accept the award!

  9. Whoa! Really? On my way!!!! :D


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