Read these tips on writing better poetry by using this "Show Don’t Tell" Exercise! This is meant to help writers and is taken from a workshop.
Show Don’t Tell: Group Rewrites
First person names a general (not specific) noun and a general verb. Secretary writes them down. Person next to the first person in a circle names two specific nouns for the given noun, tells what images are brought to mind by these specific nouns, and does the same with the given verb, then finally gives a general noun and verb to the next person in the circle. This can go around a full time, and if there aren’t many people maybe twice or three times.
First person looks at two nouns from the list in exercise 1. First person labels each of these as concrete (able to see, hear, taste, touch, or smell) or as abstract (just something you feel). Secretary writes down. Then first person names two abstract nouns that are brought to mind. Second person does the same with two nouns from the list of exercise one, until the circle is completed.
The first person takes any two abstract nouns from the list made in exercise 2, and names as many tangible symbols (concrete nouns that is, with or without adjectives) as they can from them. Secretary writes them down. Go in a circle until everyone has done this.
Each member of the group will pick one of these metaphor symbols to write a poem, different ones each, all of us right now. As soon as it is written, pass it to the person next to you clockwise to have it rewritten by them when they have completed theirs. If possible, have the poems go through every person once and only once until the group rewrites are complete. If only one rewrite is left for any of the poems by the end of the workshop, send it home with the person whom hasn’t done that rewrite for them to make sure they keep track of it and bring it the next group that they can make it to.
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