Body Paragraphs: Show/Don’t Tell!

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of a narrative essay must reveal your story: Beginning, Middle, and End. When you write your
story, you should make sure to include story elements like the ones listed below to ensure you are showing the
reader what happened, not telling the reader what happened.

Story Elements to Include in Body Paragraphs

Dialogue: When a character(s) is/are talking. Remember, when two people are speaking, lines of dialogue must be
indented, and a dialogue tag should be present to show who is talking. Think of using only small patches of dialogue
sprinkled throughout essay. 1-3 lines here and there!

Ex: “Good Morning, Sister,” Carrie happily announced.
“Is it good?” Jenna snapped angrily.
“Yes, I thought so,” Carrie favorably replied, not acknowledging Jenna’s bad mood.

Internal Monologue: When the narrator thinks to himself or herself. The writer should use question words like
wondered, questioned, pondered, speculated, deliberated, mused, thought, considered, or reflected. It does not
have quotation marks.

Ex: I knew I had been sick, and I knew it had been serious, but never, even in my nightmares, did I think of surgery OR Would I come out alive? I questioned?

Sensory Imagery: Description that uses the senses (sight, taste, touch, sound, & smell)

Ex: The Beach: The sand glistened in the sunshine as the seagulls honked above our heads. Each
breath brought the scent of salt and of life.

Figurative Language: The use of similes, metaphors, personification, and hyperbole to create meaning.

Ex: -The building seemed to be a hundred miles off the ground. (Hyperbole)
 -The pencil walked right off of my desk. (Personification)
 – His face was as red as a beet. (Simile)
 -Her mind was a machine. (Metaphor)

Practice: Let’s write about an event. Use at least 3 of the “Show Don’t Tell” suggestions.
Event: The race began. (Telling…BORING!)


The conclusion is the last thing your reader will remember about your narrative essay. It needs to provide the reader with the greater significance of your story (Why did you reveal that story to us? What did it teach you about? How does it connect to the topic or the prompt? )

*** Use your vivid verbs! *** Use transitions!***

Sample Prompt: Conquering Your Fears

EX: My experience has taught me a lot. I discovered that, in order to reach the top, you must learn to climb the mountain and, in order to conquer your fears, you must face them first. In a way I am thankful for my surgery, because I conquered a lot of my fears. I’m not telling you to go out and have surgery, but if you do, it’s probably not going to be as bad as you expect it to be.

Now choose another LEAD/HINT and work with a partner to write a conclusion for that “story”

Sample Prompt: Greatest Accomplishment