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February 25, 2013


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I love your example of how to show, not tell, and how to structure paragraph flow, Michael. I'll bet your classes are excellent! Wish I lived close enough to take one.
Good luck in getting through that CFFL and making your deadline! :-)

Michael A. Black

Hi, Ann. Thanks. I actually finished the CFFL on Saturday, realized I had an earlier scene that had a similar tactic, and rewrote that one. I did a bit more tweaking yesterday and this morning, and now need to let it sit and ferment for a bit. My deadline is April so I'm a head of the game at this point. I don't know if my suggestions translate well in the classes. I have yet to have full classroom attendance for the entire run.

Susan Shea

Funny, Michael, but I just did an exercise like that with a classroom of third graders. We started with a noun and a verb and built first a sentence and then the beginning of a story, with sensory detail, specific verbs, and plot surprises. In my LK post tomorrow, I'll take your excellent post one step further: which details are important and which shouldn't be there to get in the way?


That cooling-off period is key! Sometimes I have no idea what I was going on about, and it's so easy to cut stuff after a week or two. Okay, easier if not absolutely easy.

Now to look for all those "laugh" "smile" and other habitual actions that sometimes stand in for specific details...a writer's work is never done!


I love how you reordered the sentences, since that can have just as big an impact as including all the sensory details. I love how you ended the paragraph with whatever slithering creature lurks in the water. It's very effective!

Pat Morin

Your reordering of the sentences (for the senses) is very effective! I would have fun playing around with those sentences in your class. Great way of showing and not telling, and "getting right in there" with the class scene.

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