I recently tried a free online class for writing. I was rather disappointed. I was hoping for activities that would push my writing. Unfortunately it was too generic to challenge me but then it was free and I really shouldn't complain. But I thought I can put up my own writing tasks for people who want to improve their writing.
I'm completely self taught but I'm also a teacher so I've taken what I've taught myself and broken them down into lessons.
How to show not tell
We are often told we need to show not tell but what does that really mean. You can get countless examples from authors but just how do you figure it out in the first place. Well, here is a task that you can use for every event or setting in your life to build up your showing not telling writing muscles.
Describing settings: Take a place you are very familiar with and describe it without using the usual nouns to describe it. Say you are describing a room you can't use the words: floor, walls, roof, ceiling, doors etc. If you have five minutes describe the place around you like this.
Describe actions: Take an action and describe it without the usual verbs. Say you are describing a fight scene, then you can't use words like punch or kick.
This will give you the skills the describe in an interesting way but if you did this all the time in your writing it will appear overworked. So when you go to show your environment only use a few of these.
When you have something happen in your story imagine you are there. Like it is a movie and write down what you will see. Then give it the next level and describe what it would feel like.
Here is an example: He jumped into the car.
Okay that is boring. So putting the first task into play I can change it to: He crawled up onto the passenger side.
Then put the next part into play: He crawled up onto the passenger side. He clicked in the seat belt and glanced over at the driver and asked, "Where are we off to?"
Now you don't always have to use showing not telling when you write but you first need to show a scene before you can decide when to speed things up with a little telling.