Here’s a simple exercise in “Show Not Tell” that practices getting rid of judgment words and replacing them with experiential details. Describe a room in your house, perhaps the room you are sitting in now. Describe everything and anything in it – without using any adjectives or adverbs that imply opinion (such as pretty, or dirty, or jarring, or too anything). Use only words that cannot be disputed.
Here’s a room I wrote about: The sofa arms have been used as the cat’s scratching post. The once-white ceiling drops crumbly bits on the floor. A starling makes a blawk blawk sound from her nest in the eaves just outside the window. There is a smell of leftovers in the air.
Do I really have to say that the person describing this room thinks the room is unkempt and lonely?
I love exercises that make me go back to basics. It reminds me to keep my beginner’s mind, so I will see things as though it is the first time.