Friday 10 November 2017

Rave: Telling

In the writing and reading world, there is this known rule when writing books "Show don't tell". I, however, love when authors write telling books, just as long as the author is good at doing the telling. There are cases where showing just doesn't satisfy you as much as telling does. However, some books *cough cough* Twilight, aren't so good with their telling and should honestly have more showing. I'm here today to talk about how telling in books isn't always a bad thing.

To be more specific, when the book is in the third person. It feels like someone is sitting there telling me a story. I have nostalgic feelings of sitting in front of the fireplace on a rainy day listening to my grandfather telling me old tales. I mean, I've never actually had those experiences, but that's what those books feel like to me.

A prime example of this is Practical Magic and it's prequel Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. These two novels have very limited dialogue, there's almost none at all, but the stories are still so rich and you don't even miss the dialogue. Rules of Magic was so full of emotion and characters that I loved and a plot that was very real despite being about witches. It was just so beautiful that I cried numerous times while reading it. The fact that it was mostly telling made it feel seamless when we went from one character to another, going along with their experiences and feeling their emotions. You can't get a lot of that through showing.

And then there are books like A Dog's Purpose where the author has almost no choice but to do most of the telling. Dogs can't talk unless they're Scooby-Doo. Even when the main character is mostly telling you what is happening around them it also creates an atmosphere for the character. You're seeing how they perceive these events int heir lives. Just look at Lolita, that's considered a classic and is critically acclaimed and most of that book is telling because that is the only way for us to see how truly unhinged Humbert Humbert is.

My point is I just like when I'm reading a book and it feels like someone else is reading a story to me. It feels so nice and especially works well for when that book is made into an audiobook. After all of my points, I honestly can't say that I agree with the saying "Show don't tell".

What are your thoughts on the subject?

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