Showing vs. telling is to think about “reporting” vs. “storytelling

Another way to think about showing vs. telling is to think about “reporting” vs. “storytelling.” Even though we always want our writing to be rich with details and specificity (i.e. showing), it is true that sometimes we do want to do more storytelling (i.e. showing), and sometimes we want to do more reporting (i.e. telling). Ideally, a really good piece of travel writing will have some of both. This week, we’re going to focus more on the first element: storytelling. Next week, we’ll turn our attention to the second element: reporting (or, as is often the case, reflecting). 

Showing vs. telling is to think about “reporting” vs. “storytelling

Before you dive into this week’s assignment, be sure to read your group members’ stories from last time and offer them some feedback. Take the feedback from your piece to help you think through how you will approach this week’s assignment. 

Week 2 Assignment:  

Think about a time when you experienced some kind of conflict while you were traveling. Maybe you lost something (e.g. passport, backpack, favorite ring), or you have some kind of confusing or uncomfortable experience with another person (e.g. someone misunderstood you, someone tried to trick you, someone looked at you in a way that made you uncomfortable, you had an argument with someone, etc.). In 2 double-spaced pages, write the story of your experience of travel conflict, including both what happened and how it changed you. Remember that the heart of good storytelling includes both a central conflict and the change (usually of a person) that results. 

**Model Essay: “Appointment in Istanbul (Links to an external site.) ( This piece does a great job showing a conflict during travel–and how it changed the author’s perspective. 

Week 2 Rubric: Conflict & Change

Week 2 Rubric: Conflict & Change
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeClear and engaging conflict1 pts Personal story makes use of an engaging conflict that is clear and relateable for the reader. 0.5 pts Personal story organizes itself well around a clear conflict. 0 pts Conflict is unclear or does not motivate the story forward.1 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeClear change resulting from conflict1 pts The experience of conflict leads to clear and significant change. 0.5 pts The speaker in the story is somewhat changed by the end. 0 pts Conflict is present, but change does not occur.1 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeStyle and voice1 pts Told in a strong personal voice that adds to the value of the story. 0.5 pts Story’s style and voice make a positive impact. 0 pts Story does not attend to style considerations.1 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeClarty and correctness1 pts Story is cleanly presented and is free of mechanic errors. 0.5 pts Story is cleanly presented and has few mechanical errors. 0 pts Story has more than a reasonable level of errors.1 pts
Total Points: 4