Thursday, August 18, 2005

Showing and Telling

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the recent adage "show, not tell." This instruction is the central precept of writing courses everywhere. It is said that showing, through action, dialogue, and even letters or documents, is always preferable to telling the reader what to think.

But this wasn't always the case. Writers used to tell quite a bit. Especially in children's literature.

Philippa Pearce, L.M. Boston, and the biggest offender, C.S. Lewis, were all big "tellers." And yet their works are still read today with great pleasure by adults and children around the world.

I actually do think Lewis "tells" too much and because of that don't enjoy his writing. However, the banner of "show and not tell" has been brandished too frequently in the past ten years. It will be interesting to see what happens.


In actual news:

The Leaky Cauldron and The Snitch have reported that there are fan reviews (lucky Chicago viewers!) of The Goblet of Fire on Moviesonline. I'm looking forward to the dragon scene.

Cynthia Leitich Smith is finally back at Cynsations, a great daily read.

Finally, in the "kinda old news" department Hester Lacey has a great response to the Posh Spice ("I've never read a book in my life") controversy for The Guardian. It's a really good article and one I agree with wholeheartedly.

And, KidsLit is back. Hooray!