Creative Writing


Revealing Character Through Action

Imagine that you are writing a story about Victor, a young man who is kind and brave. Victor 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 creative 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 a job taking care of animals. The receptionist tells him: "Sorry, you're too late. We've already filled that position."

Crestfallen, Victor ponders his next move . . .

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

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

Lesson Steps

  1. Open your writing portfolio.
    • Level 14
      • Revealing Character through Action
  2. Choose one of the following statements.
  1. Kate is ambitious.
  2. Jody is polite.
  3. Blanca is envious.
  4. Belinda is responsible.
  5. Margie is cruel.
  6. Beverly is suspicious.
  7. Kerry is considerate.
  8. Ms. Banks is strict.
  9. Donna is superstitious.
  10. Evelyn is efficient.
  1. Now write a scene that shows the reader that the statement is true.
    • Minimum word count: 100 words
  2. When you are finished, return to this page and take the quiz.

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions