Tell, don’t show??

Normally I post here every day but I pretty much slept all day yesterday because I have been as crook as a dog. Isn’t that an elegant saying? I wonder if anyone other than Aussies say such things! I picked up a bug on the weekend and had a terrible flight home yesterday morning, complete with a middle seat and lots of turbulence. Needless to say I was overjoyed to crawl into my bed when I got home. Of course I had to lie across the bed…because cats!

Remembering back to my English classes at school, I do recall the phrase ‘Show, don’t tell’ but it wasn’t until I started putting my work out there regularly for feedback that I heard it again. (and that’s the beauty of regular feedback, showing your work helps improve it over time!) It’s absolutely brilliant advice once you work out what it means and I have completely re-written Hotel Deja Vu keeping it in mind.

And then I began reading short stories that often do a lot of telling, like this one from The New Yorker, which is brilliant. It’s not the end of the world; I mean, we tell a story. Biographies often lack descriptive passages. I wonder if this is because we are being told the underlying feelings of the author, rather than being expected to feel our own? Does that sentence even make sense?

I read this on the weekend; The French Perfumer by Amanda Hampson. It is fiction, but written as a journal. The reader is barely shown a thing, with the exception of descriptions of scents and smells, but it is evocative and gripping. I will pretty much read anyting with French in the title so I am probably biased but it slowly drew me in. I had to sit up reading until I had finished it.

It leaves me thinking that there are no hard and fast rules to writing a good book and checking through the reviews on Goodreads, I noticed that two of the three people to give the book less than 3 stars received a free copy. For every dozen 5-star reviews of famous books like Eat, Pray, Love there is a 1 or 2-star rating. I’ve seen 1-star ratings on Harry Potter and even Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning! That’s the beauty of art; it’s subjective. One man’s meat is another man’s poison, another elegant saying.

Feature Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash