Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This week at Nathan Bransford University

Here's an excerpt from his post on showing vs. telling:

My interpretation is this. With the understanding that "if it works it works," and there are always exceptions, in general: universal emotions should not be "told." Instead, we should be shown how the character is reacting to their feelings.

I'm of the opinion that we read books in order to get to know our fellow humans better. We are empathetic animals and are able to put ourselves in the shoes of characters, and thus, we have a pretty keen idea how we'd be feeling in any given situation the characters find themselves in. And emotions are universal: we all feel sad, angry, happy, emotional, etc. etc. But how we react to those emotions are completely and infinitely different. That's what we find interesting.

Being told that a character is "angry" is not very interesting - we're reading the book, we know his dog just got kicked, of course he's angry! It's redundant to be told that the character is "angry."

More interesting is how the character reacts to seeing his dog kicked. Does he hold it in and tap his foot slowly? Does he explode? Does he clench his fists?

Read the rest.

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