I wrote down this example on a student paper a while ago, and thought I’d add it to my existing handout on showing and telling.
|Winning is important to me. It doesn’t matter to me what I do, so long as I win.|
|Unengaging and unconvincing. This is like saying “I am a hard worker” or “I am a fast learner.” Anyone can make those claims, but without proof they have no persuasive force.|
|On the shelf in my bedroom is a first-place football trophy, and a first-place chess trophy. Above my bed on one side is the head of a four-point buck I shot when I was 16, and on the other side is a framed photo of me winning “Junior Chef of the Year.” Before you ask me to play cards, you should have a full wallet. If your son wants to play marbles with me, he should know I play for keeps. If your daughter starts crying while I’m playing house with her, I won’t stop until she looks me in the eye, and admits, “You won!”|
|Okay, the bit about trying to “win” while “playing house” is a bit extreme — I wouldn’t recommend putting that in a resume, but my point in including it in this example is to demonstrate how well-chosen details can generate an emotional response in the reader that a dry statement cannot.|