Show, Don’t Tell Sample: Emotion

I’m in the Grand Canyon right now! By the power of the Internet, I bring you today’s Machinations:

A few Wandering Penguin meetings ago, we all wrote some short exercises to flex our “show, don’t tell” skills. One such exercise was to show an emotion without actually mentioning it. We had 6 minutes to write a scene and make our readers feel something. This is what I wrote:

“She smiled but it never reached her eyes. They were downcast and shaded, her gaze unable to keep anything still. She sat across the table from an empty chair with sunken shoulders and a trembling lip.

She sat back and took a deep breath, wiping carefully at her eyes to stopgap any tears. She looked hesitantly out the window. Slowly, as if with great effort, she wrapped one arm around herself. With the absentmindedness of those lost in thought, she reached across the table toward the empty chair and let her hand rest. A single tear rolled down her cheek.”

It’s short but so is life. What emotion do you think this was meant to portray? Leave a comment below.

Author: V. Kane

I write YA fantasy, blog about it, and then take my dog out for therapy. My current manuscript is ANATHEMA, a story of two sisters caught up in a war between the gods. Find me on Twitter at @ValkyrieWriting or Instagram at books_and_dogs

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