It’s been a few days since my last story, seems like almost everything I’ve turned my hand has been rubbish, has just felt incomplete, with no logical endings in sight. So instead I started reading 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami…which I’m not sure is up to all the hype. I’m hoping it’s the translation, not the writing itself, as there are definite passages of genius. And lots of good advice for writers (one of the main characters is an author, and much of his internal monologue so far is about writing.) Which means I’d probably recommend it. It’s also set in my home town (Tokyo) and in particular just down the road from here I grew up (Azabu, which just so happens to be where Sailor Moon lived), so it gets sentimental credit from me as well.
But he definitely seems guilty of the sin of telling rather than showing (both Steph over at BekindRewrite and Chuck on Terrible Minds covered this better than I could), which I can’t see being the translator’s fault. And reading it as an author who finally understands how to spin a yarn and (hopefully) grab and hold a reader’s attention I think I notice it more than I used to. All of which has led me to devise my own stance on Show vs Tell, something which is usually good advice when applied to any part of life: ALL THINGS IN MODERATION.
Sometimes telling helps to pull the reader out of the narrative and give them a more dispassionate panorama of the scene. Too much slows down the narrative, slamming on the brakes, bogging your reader down in the quagmire of a word stew. Sometimes too much dialogue can cause too quick reading, skimming over the pages. Not really following along because, let’s face it, some people’s conversations are boring.
Anyway this post has gotten out of hand and has strayed too far of topic. I’ve figured out a new direction for the work in progress The Gods They Feast on Men over the last week or so while I’ve been writing The Brevity of Sensation, This Innocent Costume and Point of Difference. They are basically character sketches, the backstory for secondary actors in the book, with two told through the eyes of the (currently nameless) protagonist and the other a suicide note for a character who I don’t think will feature in the story but who influences another character, with his suicide fueling her sense of being hard done by – a driving motivation haunting her.
So now I don’t feel so guilty about those unfinished stories. There’ll probably be another one up later today. After I struggle to write it and then force myself to come up with a title. Talk to you then, and sorry for writing this ‘real life’ post in place of fiction.