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Show vs. Tell, a Blogfest



6 comments
I don't know how I came to stumble upon it, but over at Writer's Block ~ Oh wait! I mean blog..., Misty is hosting a blogfest by the name of Show vs Tell. I believe it was inspired by Charissa Weak's series of Show vs. Tell posts. All the same, I thought I'd check it out.

So, as writers we ought to know all about show vs. tell. It's a given, right? It's like that strange saying: No woman wants a man who can't bring home the bacon. No one wants a writer that can't entertain you. The old classics use a lot of telling - Evelyn Waugh's BRIDESHEAD REVISITED is a perfect example. He tells you that someone was an agreeable person - I find that a lot of first-person novels use telling, but in a more prejudiced way. Giving the character's perspective before the reader can make their own decision. TWILIGHT does this, tells you that Eric (I think that's his name?) is the chess-club type in the first few lines that he appears - that forms the reader's opinion before they're familiar with him.

Anyway. So, I picked The Last View as my stimulant. The image lies to the right - if you click here, you'll get a bigger version. In short, it's a guy sitting on a bench, looking across some sort of lake at a mushroom cloud explosion. So, adapting the Charissa Weak template, here we go.

Tell:
He sat forlornly on the old bench, watching as the city blew up, the mushroom cloud rising. He felt like a failure, a veteran at such a young age, watching the enemy destroy his home. Worst of all, he knew that she was dead, that he'd never see her again.

Show:
Bloodshot eyes cast down from stiff eyelids, pooling on the knees of stiff military trousers. One knee was thicker and far more inflamed than the other - a sharp twinge thrummed in its muscles. His broad shoulders drooped, leadened hands slipping over the decaying timber. He straightened on the bench, readjusting his green peaked cap. A heavy breath. His cheeks were hot, wet. His fresh, chiselled face was creased, splotchy.

The resonant crackling, thunderous, drew his eyes. Dust and debris burst upward, invading the darkening sky with its spreading mushroom shape. The crass humming of the fighter planes rung in his ears. Their funeral march formation splattered his memory.

His fingers, long and thin, fished into his breast pocket. He turned the small bronze house key over in his hand. His gaze rose to the explosion, then fell again. He heaved a sigh, voice breaking deep in his chest.

The young man curled forward, palms cupping the cloche hat in his lap. He traced the flower on its side, smoothed his thumbs over its purple surface. Glimpsing over his shoulders, he cast his eyes forward to the cloud. He choked on a breath, spluttering. He closed his eyes, the warm tears coursing. Her upturned nose, her full lips and her Bambi eyes. His eyelids burned. He gasped.

He glimpsed the cloud, then the ruins, before he bowed his head. "...Eileen."

Ooh. So there we go. I don't know why I called her Eileen, I guess I was just in an Eileen mood. It did take me a while to write that - the shaking washing machine behind me was kind of killing the mood of it.

So there we are. I guess that was my entry for the Show vs. Tell blogfest.

6 comments:

Tessa Conte at: January 16, 2011 at 10:02 AM said...

GREAT entry! And a lovely contrast between the two! A great interpretation of that picture, too.

T.x

nindogs at: January 16, 2011 at 11:53 AM said...

@Tessa
Thanks!

Mia Hayson at: January 16, 2011 at 1:56 PM said...

I love the show entry! Really powerful!

Madeleine at: January 16, 2011 at 7:32 PM said...

Great pieces and the difference between Show and Tell is very clearly defined. Well done! :O)

Jodi Henry at: January 17, 2011 at 4:16 AM said...

I loved the difference between the two entries. The show was very showy.

J

LM Preston at: January 17, 2011 at 11:09 AM said...

Oh yeah! You nailed it!

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