Show, Don't Tell (2)

You are writing a story. Your main character, Victor, is kind and brave. He wants to be a veterinarian.

You write: "Victor was kind and brave, and he wanted to become a veterinarian."

Then you remember the golden rule of narrative writing: Show, don't tell.

So you start again.

Victor, bundled in his winter coat, is hurrying down the road. Passing a frozen pond, he sees a dog that has fallen through the ice. At great risk to his own life, Victor saves the dog. But now he is late for his appointment.

Shivering and wet, Victor arrives at his destination—a veterinarian's office where he wants to apply for the job taking care of the animals. The receptionist tells him: "Sorry, you're too late. We've already filled that position."

Chagrined, Victor ponders his next move . . .


Much better, don't you think? In two scenes, you've established that:

Showing your characters in action is the best way to reveal their personalities.

Instructions for the Quiz

The quiz asks you questions like this:

Andy saw his neighbor struggling to get his lawn mower running, so Andy went over to his neighbor's house and filled up his lawn mower with gas. When it still wouldn't start, Andy lent him his lawn mower.

What can you infer about Andy's character?

  • He is helpful, neighborly, and kind.
  • He is mean, cruel, and thoughtless.


The answer is A.

If this sort of question gives you trouble, it's probably because you have not understood all the words. Try Googling the definition of any word that you're unsure of.

To look up a word: