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Writing Exercise: Shades of Emotions


Young guitarist performs on a stage


1) Introduction to the exercise and its purpose:

This exercise focuses again on the "Show, Don't Tell" technique, encouraging the use of concrete details to reveal complex and deep feelings without resorting to explicit statements. Through this method, the text becomes more inviting and the reader is asked to interpret and dive deeper into the narrative.


2) The situation:

Marco, a young musician, is about to take the stage for his first major performance. The hall is packed and the atmosphere is charged with expectation.


3) The exercise:

Describe Marco's preparation before the performance, showing his nervousness and excitement without ever directly mentioning these emotions. Use elements such as his behavior, interactions with objects and surroundings.


4) Suggestions and exercise development:

Focus on how Marco interacts with his instrument and backstage environment. You might begin by describing how he repeatedly checks the tuning of his instrument, how his hands tremble slightly as he passes a cloth over his guitar, or how he avoids looking directly at the gathering audience.


Marco might also repeatedly make his way from one side of the backstage area to the other, breathe deeply, or rearrange his scores even if he doesn't need to.


After writing the scene, reread to make sure that Marco's actions clearly convey his state of mind without explicitly stating it. Ask a reading partner to interpret his level of nervousness and excitement based only on your descriptions, and adjust the text if necessary to increase the emotional impact.

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