Born in Long Island, New York, have lived in New Jersey, Connecticut, Arizona, California, and Oklahoma. Lived three years in Italy and Germany while in USAF.(Air Police: K-9 section). Now live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Married after whirlwind romance to same wife for over 30 years. Currently run my own real estate school in Oklahoma. Like to study foreign languages for a few months just to see how they work. Also like Latin and giving speeches. I’ve taught Philosophy, Advertising, Property Management, and many real estate subjects at the University, Community College, and Technical School level. Now writing non-fiction book on the Romance genre. I was trained to be a philosopher and history teacher but have worked mostly in advertising, marketing, and real estate.
Some writing books have a few good ideas and lots of padding while others offer many good ideas, no padding and just a few pages.
“Telling Details” is of the many good idea variety.
What I found the most impressive in "Telling Details" is that the author is a teacher with much experience. Her ideas have been tested. She does not say something as cliché as “Show, don’t tell”. Rather, Kat Duncan gives the strengths and weaknesses of both telling and showing. She then gives several examples of melding both telling and showing tohether in order to get the maximum benefits of both approaches in the fewest words.
"Telling Details" also covers the importance of 5-sensing the writing to make it real for the reader. In addition to the five major senses, the author goes into over a dozen examples of the minor senses. Like balance, temperature, muscle memory, and many more.
This book could only have been written by someone who is doing it and who puts herself out in front of other writers who can challenge her views. This is clearly tested material.
The 'telling details' the book is named for are also very important. Two details can often pinpoint the reality of a location or situation; however, they have to be the right details. When visiting Venice, for example, I’d only need to see a part of a building and smell the canal water to know I where I was. Notice that these are not the cliche canals and bridges.
More than a dozen examples are given in the material of the many different types of details a writer may use. There were many more types than I would ever have thought of on my own. "Telling Details" covers much more useful information than the title would seem to indicate. "Telling Details" is a very good 'book' to read and read as soon as possible.
More Useful Information Than I Ever Expected! Exceptional Value -- 5 Stars!
“There is one thing I’d really like these ‘show, don’t tell’
aficionados to show me and that is the psychological testing that proves readers like
‘showing’ better than ‘telling’. Where are those surveys?” Vince Mooney
“What’s better: having your doctor just show you your x-ray and telling
you nothing about it or having your doctor tell
you what your x-ray means but not showing
it to you? Showing always derives its
meaning from what was told.” Vince Mooney
“The problem with showing is that it elevates the mental priority of the sentence above that of the story. Readers would rather be told a good story than be shown a series of superior sentences. Writers see the trees, readers see the forest.”
When they asked the philosopher, Immanuel Kant, why his “Critique of Pure Reason” was so darn long, he said that he didn’t have enough time to write a short book.
There are two big problems with understanding “Deep Point of View”.
One: You can think you understand it when you in fact don’t. And as Will Rogers said, “It’s the things you know that ain’t so that get you into the most trouble.”
Two: Deep Point of View doesn’t look any different on the printed page than just plain telling.
On Point One:
I know from many years of teaching adults that the hardest thing to teach anyone is something they think they already know. You start to teach the class and soon you can just see the student’s minds close once they think they already know what you are trying to teach them. The students smile and shake their heads indicating agreement and nothing you are saying is getting inside their heads.
“Deep Point of View” is one of those subject areas where it seems that those who are most eager to explain it, actually understand it the least. I’ve read explanations that were just baffling.
This Book is Different! It Gets it!
Jill Elizabeth Nelson really understands Deep Point of View. Her explanations are philosophically sound and she provides countless examples to illustrate her points. More importantly, she provides examples of what Deep Point of View is not. This is a must when teaching in an area where students already think they understand the key concepts.
You just have to hit the student on the top of the head by saying: “X is not Y”. If you just tell the student what “X” is, many will still think “X” is “Y”.Explaining what DPOV is not is a major advantage of Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View”. You simply must know what DPOV is not in order to have any chance of developing a working understanding of what it is. For example: deep POV is not the same thing as First Person POV. If you think it is, then you don’t understand deep POV.
Writing a full novel in DPOV requires a profound change in both one’s writing habits and in the reading habits of a life time.
The reader will have to read the book several times and then diligently work the exercises to make thinking in terms of Deep POV a more natural occurrence. Thankfully, the reader will be able to do this with practice because everything needed to learn how to do this is provided by the author’s explanations and examples. In a way, it's like reading a book on 'How to Juggle' -- you will be told how to do it but you will have to do a lot of practicing to really be able to do it and understand what it is like to do it right.
About Point Two:
Here’s the hard part: Deep POV can look just like ordinary 'telling' on the printed page.
Imagine looking at two pictures. The first is a picture of a horse. The second picture is the same picture of the horse. Under the first picture the caption reads, ‘ordinary telling,’ and under the second picture is the caption ‘deep point ofview’.
I know what you’re thinking!They’re the same picture!
Welcome to Deep POV!
How can the same exact sentence be 'ordinary telling' in one case and 'deep POV' in another?
It's because “Deep POV” is not 'in' the words, it’s 'in' the mind of the reader. Deep Point of View involves creating and then maintaining a ‘steady-state’ mindset in the reader. Maintaining the DPOV mindset in the reader is like trying to juggle many balls in midair for the entire length of the novel. Any slip up with any of the balls can destroy the mindset and cause a mental crash. But first let’s look at some ‘sentence examples’ from Jill Elizabeth Nelson’s book. All the below are examples of deep point of view taken from the book.
“Jane looked out the window.”
“If she did that, she’d fail”
“A pair of strangers in suits and ties goose-stepped up the walk toward the front door.”
When you read the above sentences, they read just like ordinary telling. They are simple declarative sentences.
In the first sentence the reader is being told that, ‘Jane looked out the widow.' The reader is not ‘shown’ Jane looking out the window. The reader is told this.
In the second sentence the reader is told that 'The dew on the roses sparkled in the morning sunlight.'
In the third sentence the reader is told, 'If she did that, she’d fail'. I’m not sure you could even ‘show’ this if you wanted to.
In the fourth sentence the reader is told, 'A pair of strangers in suits and ties goose-stepped up the walk toward the front door.'
This is telling. The author is not showing that the men are ‘strangers’. The author is not showing their legs kicking up and outward and then coming straight down as happens with goose-stepping. The reader is just told the men are goose-stepping. Of course, the reader is supposed to ‘know’ that the men are not literally goose-stepping.
What? 'Goose-stepping' was not in italic in the story. How is the reader to know that this is the POV character's thought and not the author's description? When is 'goose-stepping' not 'goose-stepping'? When? When deep point of view is properly maintained. Now because of this very feature the dichotomy between showing and telling almost disappears in deep pov. (Do you think you understand DPOV now?)
Now We’re Getting Somewhere!
Deep POV is about what’s going on in the reader’s mind and not what's appearing on the printed page. (Sorry, deep pov is not like looking for the 'ly’s' that ‘give away’ telling sequences.)
The writer must look to the reader’s mindset in order to understand deep point of view.
Deep point of view requires a character who is experiencing the story directly in the moment and in a lineal progression. This is not the same as First Person POV. There can be more than one deep POV character in a book. Having the story happen in the mind of a given character (or several characters) is a very difficult writing process. There are many ‘balls’ that must be kept in the air -- all at the same time. Listed below are some of these ‘balls’:
The never saying ‘he/she thought’ ball.
The never naming that ‘feeling’ ball.
The never using ‘prepositional tells’ ball.
The never using ‘he saw/she saw’ ball.
The writing lively, linear prose ball.
The logical motivation /reaction ball.
The avoidance of narrative distance ball.
As long as this review is so far, I cannot explain Deep POV for you. I believe the minimum method for doing this has already been done in Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View”. However, I can give you an idea of the learningprocess needed to obtain a genuine working knowledge of DPOV.
It’s like learning how to juggle many balls at once.
Each skill necessary to create and maintain the delicate ‘mindset’ in the reader required by DPOV is explained and demonstrated in the book. The reader will need to learn each of these many skills and then practice them individually and then finally all at once – with all the balls in the air -- to experience DPOV first hand.
This kind of understanding takes much practice. It’s not like being able to tell the difference between 'showing' and 'telling' after just one lecture. Even simply understanding DPOV takes a lot of practice. It’s like trying to lean how to ride a bike by reading a book. The reader simply has to try and ride the bike to really understand it.
At this point, I have a philosophical understanding of deep POV which simply tells me what I would have to do to develop a real working understanding of the concept. The book tells how I can go about developing that understanding. I am now going to rewrite my WIP, "Stranded in a Cabin with a Romance Writer" in deep POV. I hope this effort will help me create the habits necessary to feel at home writing in DPOV.
Mary Connealy creates horrible husbands and then she kills them. Fortunately it doesn’t take the widows long to find another husband. One heroine even had her own cemetery of dead husbands. (The Husband Tree). One of the husbands in, “Wrangler in Petticoats”, Sydney, I really liked! *
Like I said, Mary Connealy, is an acquired taste. To her adoring fans all her historic western romantic comedies are 5-star pleasure fests! To unsuspecting readers, however, she can be something else. (These account for the less than 5-star stellar reviews.)
This current book, “Out of Control”, is edgy for even Connealy. I’m not sure there is a normal character in the book. The theme is what I would call ‘an inconvenient marriage of convenience’.
This is not a cozy romance where you can see the hero and heroine falling in love, little by little, from start to finish of the book. This is not a romantic book in the traditional sense. Consider the poor heroine’s potential husband, Rafe.
Rafe has a looney, always grinning, brother, a ‘locoweed’ insane brother, and to top it off,he’s not quite right himself. The hero and heroine haveonly known each other for a day or two and as far as she can tell, he doesn’t love her.How romantic can you get?
“Out of Control” isChristian fiction because it is respectful of God and the reader. It is also a very clean book even if the characters get very dirty for most of the book. The heroine is on a quest to prove God exists by showing that fish fossils are found at the top of a mountain. The whole world had to have flooded for fish fossils to be up this high. Thus God exists. She is in love with fossils and her goal in life seems to be to get published in professorial journals. (I can sympathize with that.)
The hero likes her because she is a cute little thing but she has a big mouth and is very bossy -- just like him.
Here’s the really good part.
Each page is fun to read. Each page is full of surprises. While the characters are on the wacky side, the physical details and descriptions are so exacting it makes everything seem natural and believable. For example, a lot of the story happens underground in deep caves and caverns. I’ve been in many caves and caverns and the writing is spot on perfect. You feel like you are really in a cave. In a way, the more wacky the story line is, the more authentic the details must be to keep a believable balance. This technique is so hard to pull off that almost no writers attempt it. (I think Janet Evanovich does this well in her Stephanie Plum novels but there are not many examples I can point to.)
There is always the threat of Death at each moment!
The author knows how to keep a reader turning the pages. First, the reader quickly comes to care about these zany characters. Then everyone is always in immediate danger of death. There is also ample motivation for every ounce of quirkiness expressed in the book. The most loco brother spent time in the infamous “Andersonville” Civil War prison camp. As quirky as they are, all the characters feature fully three dimensional personalities. (These are not easy books to write but they are very easy to read and enjoy.)
Much More Fun to Come!
As quirky as “Out of Control” is, it’s only the start of a three book series. Rafe, the hero in “Out of Control” is the most normal brother. The next two brothers are really locoweed – who in their right mind would marry them – canidates for romance herodom. The second book is now out, “In Too Deep”.so you don’t have to wait to enjoy it.
Mary Connealy is a prolific writer. If you acquire a taste for her work, you’ll never go hungry!
*Mary did attempt to redeem one horrible husband in “The Bossy Bridegroom” –my favorite Connealy book, (read my review here) but this book is not funny at all. It’s also not a historical western romance. It is serious Christian fiction. But this is just a footnote for those who might want to see the other side of Mary.
“You should be able to tell what I want from the bubbles.”
"A lot of ‘showing’ is like dealing with a wife who simply will not come right out and tell you what she wants! I’m not a mind-reader and I don’t want to be a mind-reader when I’m reading a novel. I get enough of that already!” Vince Mooney
“A Heart Revealed” provides the perfect fusion of an abiding faith and romantic passion. The heroine, Emma Malloy, is a most sympathetic and lovable heroine. The reader may even come to think that Emma is 'too good to be true'…but she’s not. She’s real. She’s worthy. She’s someone a man could love without reservations. Yet, she's all too human.
“A Heart Revealed” tells a heartwarming love story which is central focus of this romance novel. Yet, “A Heart Revealed”, is much more than a love story. It’s a family history. It’s a small slice of American history. And while it may rightly be called Christian Fiction, it could just as well be classified as historical fiction about an Irish Catholic family in Boston at the turn of the century and beyond.
I must say, that this series of books, “The Daughters of Boston” and “The Winds of Change”,is very personal to me. I come from an Irish Catholic family that lived in the area during the years covered in this O’Connor family saga. A lot of my family still lives in the Boston area. Everything in the book is so real to me. The Catholic Church, the priests, the beliefs, practices and attitudes are all vividly real to me. I knew priests like Father Mack. I looked up to good men like the heroes in this saga. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a family series any more than I have this one by Julie Lessman. There's love and respect for her work found on every page. This whole Lessman series has the imprimatur of a life work.
Over 100 Reviews & Counting
As of today, “A Heart Revealed” , has been reviewed 114 times on Amazon alone. So I won’t say too much about the story itself except that it’s really four stories in one.
There is Luke & Katie’s story. There’s Mitch & Charity’s story. (Charity is more 'Charity' than ever before!) There’s Sean & Emma’s story. (We get to see the real Emma at last). There’s Patrick & Marcy’s story. (Complete with Gabe's story). As expected, all these threads are woven together into a narrative that is greater than the sum of its parts. The reading enjoyment begins on the first page and continues right up to the dramatic conclusion.
The fifth O’Connor to face love and marriage, Sean O'Connor, is the hero in this story. Emma Malloy is the heroine. She is married but estranged from her husband who lives back in Ireland. He abused her often and finally when he scared her face with hot oil, she left him. Emma is a saint to all who know her but she is much more than meets the eye. Even the people who know her best don't really know her. This is a very complicated story which surprised me again and again. I loved it pure and simple.
I believe that each book read in this "O'Connor Family" series leverages the reading enjoyment gained from reading the next book. I highly recommend reading the books in order; however, "A Heart Revealed" stands on its own and will provide a wonderful reading experience. I also think it would be enjoyable to read "A Heart Revealed" first and then go back and read the rest of the books in order. I often do this when I have not read the early books in a series.
To make it easy to learn about and find the other books in the series, I am listing them below. When I have reviewed the book, I have left a link as well. (Note: I was too upset with Charity to review book Two. When I calm down, I'll review it.)