Tell: she was angry
Show: she entered the house slammed the door, walked towards the red glass vase with red roses. Hit the vase with her bare hands. It fell on the floor shattering in many pieces.
You can sense that she is angry by describing it.
I came across this article written by Erin from Daily writing tips. She explains the art of showing and not telling. Do you remember when you were in school you had a class called composition and would describe a place as beautiful or a person as tall, long hair, or in a dialogue you would use, she said or he said. that is all showing. According to the article you have to be descriptive, be specific, describe dialogue and use all your senses and colour to describe a place.
Here Is another example describing all your senses, colour and place.
Telling: Sally is at the beach
Sally felt exhausted but happy the beautiful clear turquoise ocean stretched for miles touching the blue sky, white waves flowed back and forth leaving seashells and seaweeds behind. Dark green coconut trees stretched for miles along the beach, some tall, short or slanted on the side. White seagulls screeched as they flew around while children laugh from a distance. The hot white fine sand under her bare feet as she walked towards the water wearing a blue and white shelves sundress as the hot wind blows her dress and blond hair. The warm waves embrace her feet as her lips felt salty and the aroma of fried fish filled the air. Picked a white and purple seashell. Walked along the beach enjoying the warm water and the muddy sand leaving footprints.
We know Sally is at the beach without saying she is at the beach by describing where she is
I have described:
the place: the beach
the colours:, blue green, purple
the senses: the waves, coconut trees (sight), the children, seagull (hear), white sand under her feet, shell (touch), fried fish (smell), salty (taste),
Shapes: long tall,
Person description: blond hair, walking bare foot.
Read the article below for more tips on showing with more examples.