Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Tuesday's Inspiration - Showing Dramatically
Back to On Becoming A Novelist by John Gardner. This quote sent me thinking about what a writer must learn to do. "Anything necessary to the action's development must be shown dramatically."
Does this mean every action in the story must be developed in a dramatic fashion. Not necessarily so. Not all actions in a story are ones that need to be depicted every moment. There are those areas that can be summarized rather than shown in living color. But if you want to show a character's inner nature there are scenes that must be shown.
Saying he had an abnormal love for his mother is one such area, especially if this allows him to act in certain ways. I discovered this while writing "Code Blue." The reader needed to know what was behind his reason for acting the way he did without the heroine seeing he was anything other than normal.
Other stories have scenes that need to be developed fully to show why a character acts in the way they do. Often this must be done without going into back story. Back story can interrupt the flow. This is where the writer must decide where the story begins. A prologue could show what needs to be shown. Better is to start the story with a scene that brings this action to the reader's attention in a dramatic way without having to show the past. Difficult but necessary. A short flash of thought. A bit of action. The seeds of a plan that reflects on the reason the character's reasons for their actions.
This is part of the learning process of becoming a writer. Finding the way can be done by looking at alternate ways to show the reader the why behind the actions. And knowing which one way to choose. Finding the best solution to a problem in the story, once learned is one of the keys to success.