I need help with creative writing. I already have an essay, but I need to improve it, and I can't. It sounds like I'm telling the story but it should use the "show, don't tell" method. Also, I need help with improving character description. Here is the first paragraph. It was a beautiful sunny day in the south bay area of San Francisco. Robert and his wife stood in their backyard fighting over his addiction of drinking alcohol. He was sitting on a chair shirtless and drinking over and over again, she is always sick of him, especially when he’s drunk. When he’s drunk he always leaves home and his wife was all alone waiting for her husband to arrive home but she used to being alone as she spends her childhood. Her childhood was pretty tough, growing without friends made her feel like hole inside of her. She spends most of her time alone, calm and peaceful. One day Robert and his wife decided to spend some time in a place where his wife always wanted to go. His wife, Martha, had no idea about the place. She hated hates surprises, especially from her husband; on the other hand, Robert loveds seeing her wife amazed. So he rented a cabin in the woods of Eastsound, Washington. He knew this place would make her happy due to her love of nature. On the 2nd of July, 2014, at midnight, they reached their cabin. It was their first experience living inside the forest. She could not hold her amusement when they arrived. She stepped outside, took a deep breath, felty feeling the fresh thin air, and was caught up on the smell of wilderness, wildflowers, and wild mints/ herbs. Although It was not a fancy cabin as they expected. It was a decent place for a couple. They were tired and decided to get some rest first. They have the whole forest in front of them to be explored.  

Expert Answers

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I understand what the "show versus tell" part of your question asks, and your first paragraph has moments of showing rather than telling. You have a good start, but I'm only seeing a single paragraph, and it is very difficult to show a reader characterization within a single paragraph. Direct characterization can be handled easily within a single paragraph, because that involves you directly telling your reader information about characters. This initial paragraph does this by telling readers about Robert's drinking habits and how he loves to see his wife surprised.

Moving forward into additional paragraphs, you are going to need to have your characters carry more of the story. They need to interact with each other. They especially need to talk to each other, because that will help show your reader more of each character's personality. Dialogue will do this, because you can have a character respond "angrily," "patiently," etc. You can also narrate what a character is currently thinking. This kind of narrative information shows readers how a character is acting and responding, and that shows your reader information rather than telling your reader information.

If you are struggling with showing more information rather than telling, I have one more suggestion. My suggestion would be to change the narrative point of view from third person to first person. Third person is great, because the narrator knows a lot of information, but the third-person narrator tends to tell the story rather than being an integral part of the story. Try thinking about how your first paragraph would be different if you had to write it from Robert's perspective or Martha's point of view.

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