Monday, September 17, 2007

Introducing the unknown - a Writing Show sampler

I know from my own experience how tough it is to start a story in a fantasy setting; totally unknown to the public, exclusively known to me - to the extent I have developed it, that is to say. Before you know it, you are showering your readers with bulky fact packages and that is not as elegant as it should be.

Paula Berinstein has dedicated the September 9th issue of the Writing Show to this problem and she takes tow classic examples to help us out. Who are better than Lewis Carrol and J.R.R. Tolkien to show us the way? Indeed, who are. I think the examples are very helpful

There is a funny thing that happens though. It so turns out both Carrol and Tolkien 'sin' in the way of telling in stead of showing. Paula, apologizes and hastily moves on with the description and analysis. But how bad is this after all? Don't we see here when telling is in order, before showing? When the narrator is working on his relationship with the reader rather than delivering the story? Isn't that a legitimate layer in fiction as well?

1 comment:

Paula B. said...

Hi, Anne,

You are right. I've become so aware of the "show, don't tell" mandate that I've overdone it. Ever since Mark Putnam sent me his comments about that issue, I've been scrutinizing everything I read. It's impossible not to "tell" unless you're writing a play or screenplay, and there you have other tools, like the camera, action, costume, gesture, etc. to help you.

The question becomes, like the Moody Blues song/album, one of balance. I am searching for answers on this one. Whatever I find you'll hear about.


Thanks for blogging about the show!

Paula B.