L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami September 26, 2015 - 9:06am

I know we are all familiar with show, don't tell. How would you go about solving the opposite problem. That is figuring out when to leave stuff to the imagination?

I don't discuss this much but I actually was introduced to writing through illustration, and so a lot of early work feels like a riddled mess of showing to much.

Where do you draw the line in thus?

And yes I also started with poetry, though that's a non important note.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal September 26, 2015 - 6:17pm

I like to only tell what's necessary to know. I'm light on description, sometimes I leave it open to the reader to fill in completely, and while this might not work in every genre (looking at you, epic fantasy), I've found it preferable when I'm reading something.

When I was introduced to the show-don't-tell thing I happened to be reading the last two Hunger Games books. There was (unless I missed something small) literally no description of some characters- I kept an eye out with this purpose in mind. Nearly none of District 13, too. My mind filled it instantly, and while it was completely different from how it looked in the movie, it was as complete as it needed to be.

 

If you're talking about the setting, you need to get some things across, maybe focus on one small detail. I've heard authors talk about this, seems to work. Example: a hotel room with ornate drapes and matching rugs equals fancy, a hotel room with towels as stiff as cardboard equals shitty. I bet you have an entire room in your mind for both already. And how much did I need to say to get that image in your head?

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated October 25, 2015 - 8:33am

I try to put it in the action.

Bobby opened the blue door.

VS.

The door was blue. Bobby opened it.

CS's picture
CS from Biloxi, MS is reading Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity September 28, 2015 - 9:54am

Either go bare minimum on the details, or go JRR Tolkien with the details and include all the details. Every. Last. Single. Damned. Detail.

Nathan's picture
Nathan from Louisiana (South of New Orleans) is reading Re-reading The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste, The Bone Weaver's Orchard by Sarah Read October 24, 2015 - 10:36pm

Go with the details that make your real life memories of an event or place stand out, and then do that through a character. Vivid images in your mind are what make it to the page. Everything else is pretentious. Your mind and memories are enough. 

Nathan's picture
Nathan from Louisiana (South of New Orleans) is reading Re-reading The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste, The Bone Weaver's Orchard by Sarah Read October 24, 2015 - 10:37pm

@Dwayne: I like that. 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated October 25, 2015 - 7:22pm

Thanks.

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami October 25, 2015 - 8:05pm

I think I might also experiment plot reversal, similar to how poetry can enhance the meaning of the work by somewhat reversing in itself. Sort of like how I am the ancient means something totally different if it's the last line in a stanza or the first line.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated October 30, 2015 - 12:45am

Are than any examples of that you can share?

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami October 30, 2015 - 4:47pm

I have poems and one story so far, just not sure where to put it. Mostly as I've mainly been using GitLab and my blogs on Media Goblin at the moment.

The story is called Cycle Of Life. The other is called Fop Of Always: http://numerohex.tumblr.com/post/132137156474/fop-of-always

I think I have one other sonnet that follows a similar reversal style: http://numerohex.tumblr.com/post/131999320909/hark-the-hooligan

Trying to decide at the moment if said reversal is practical for prose.