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Writing Exercise: The Old Book

Updated: 5 days ago

An old book is open on the table

Introduction to the writing exercise and its purpose:

The goal of this exercise is to use the “Show, Don't Tell” technique to explore nostalgia and remembrance through objects and physical reactions. Writers will learn to convey deep emotions through object manipulation and description of surroundings, without relying on explicit dialogue or internal thoughts.


Charles, an elderly man, casually enters a second-hand bookstore and discovers a used edition of a book he loved in his youth.

The writing exercise:

Recount the moment when Charles finds the book. Describe his physical reactions, his interaction with the book, and the elements of the bookstore that contribute to the atmosphere of this find, without using dialogue or internal thoughts.

Suggestions and development of the exercise:

Begin with a description of the dusty environment of the bookstore, lit only by soft light filtering through the curtains. As Charles explores the shelves, his hands tremble slightly when he recognizes the book cover. You could describe how he caresses the cover, tracing the titles with his fingers as if rekindling old memories. Show how his gaze is lost in the yellowed pages, and how he smiles slightly, an expression of restrained joy. Close with Charles sitting in an old armchair in the bookcase, opening the book and beginning to read, completely immersed in memories of his youth.


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