Last week, I shared an exercise I did with my teen writers from the library that had to do with showing vs. telling. I didn’t want the post to get too long, so I didn’t include a second exercise we worked on during the same writing club meeting.
This exercise was put together by a writing friend as a way to get my teens to think about what might be important to a character when it comes to describing a scene or showing what’s happening in a particular scene. Basically, using the picture below, we had to imagine a character coming into this room/house for the first time and write an internal monologue of their thoughts about what they see. The key was to think about what this particular character would notice, wouldn’t notice, and would focus on as well as how those details would affect the character’s thoughts, feelings, memories, etc.
I decided to write mine from the POV of the protagonist from my current work in progress, Lost and Found, a YA contemporary. So here’s Rory’s thoughts about this room.
Wow, I think, Briana’s house is so cool. Way more hip and colorful than my house. I mean, Mom would never hang up all those art pieces because she’d definitely worry about Levi knocking them off the wall. And forget about that blue chair. Smaug would have a time chewing that to ragged bits.
Mom might like a house that is so put together. So fresh and clean. So colorful. She’s talked about getting a nice mirror for the living room, just above the piano or adding some plants around the house, too. I think she’s worried the dogs might try to eat the leaves, but they wouldn’t be able to reach that plant!
Maybe if we didn’t have George and Levi or Aunt Beast and Smaug we could have a house this creative. But we do, so that’s that.
Also, who uses books as a table for a flower vase? That’s just wrong. So wrong.