Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"This Isn't Show & Tell" .......

I literally have two huge stacks of writing books on my coffee table.  I've been reading like crazy - in addition to my regular reading - I've been sprinkling that with books on my craft.  It's my latest obsession.  My husband will have to build me a new bookcase soon just to shelve them all.  Each one has nuggets of great information, and I drink them all in.  

They tell me how to write a great scene, how to write sparkling dialogue, how to create memorable characters, and so on.  One of the common themes is to SHOW not TELL. 

I'm a fan of Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series.  Today, I started the latest one,  "Victims."  These are all written in the first-person POV, who happens to be Alex Delaware.  This book began with nothing BUT  "showing" and yet still managed to hold my interest.  I never noticed these types of things before getting serious about my writing.  I just knew I loved his books.  Since teaching myself to be more aware of how other authors write, I view books, and even movies, differently.

Alex is called to the scene of a murder.  He explains to the reader what the body looks like, what was done to it, what the apartment looks like, etc.  He also tells us what the landlord looks like, so we can picture him in our minds.  None of this is done with dialogue, as are other passages in the book when it comes to describing places and other characters.

I'm curious to hear others' opinions on what's wrong with doing this.  Obviously nothing, since he's an established author - at least, that's my guess.  However, us newbies are told NOT to do it.  I know there are exceptions to rules, but can anyone else give some experiences you've had?  Perhaps you've already got some books under your belt, and you've already dealt with publishing, so I'd love to hear from you.