Friday, April 27, 2012

Famous Writing Quote of the Day

“Showing is Head-Hopping’s little sister. Each must be treated with special care.”
Vince Mooney


  1. Where are you finding all these writing quotes about showing, Vince? :) Unless, are you quoting yourself?

    I think the words showing vs telling are just one of the ways authors try to put into words things that are inherently hard to put into words.

    I think of it more as Acting Out a scene, instead of something just thinking it through or telling someone what did happen.
    When you compare that to a movie, I think of my books as being very visual, I picture them moving. I try to make a reader SEE not just hear what's going on.

  2. He's reading Jill Elizabeth Nelson's Rivet Your Readers with Deep POV. It has caused a fissure in his brain.

  3. LOL, Tina ... Deep POV will do that!! But to be honest, Vince's brain is SO far ahead of mine, I think the fissures in it are smarter the whole of mine ... especially when it comes to deep POV!!


  4. Hey, if the fissures are TOO deep, the brain cannot send messages across the gap... and I know a boatload of folks with big GAPS, LOL!

    Vince, I love head hopping. I love the speed it lends to a long book. I love that it credits the reader with a BRAIN... It recognizes that we don't need to have the action slowed down and separated into POV's to read a fast-paced book.

    So I like that. It works for me.

    But no one asks me, so my opinion goes unappreciated! However, the show vs. tell... I just finished two tell books... Very little dialogue. The author explaining the scene from various POV's...

    It was painful.

    Very painful.

    Red hot chili peppers under the fingernails painful.

    We've got to tell a bunch of stuff, but I do like a balance. Finding that balance... well, that's the trick, right? And doing it within an editor's parameters is another thing entirely.

    Deep Point of View... Whatever it is... Don't you think you just do it naturally, big guy????

    And doesn't your fireplace need kindling???? ;)

  5. I'm totally with Ruth on this one. Too much showing and too much deep POV gets over done as well. I guess I would choose a mix. I also like an omniscient POV. I see some telling as a break, where I get a respite to take in the story, consider it and move on.

  6. Hi Mary:

    My quotes? I just thought I’d use up my own material before I borrowed any from other authors.

    Ah, but you, Mary, and your books, are not the problem. The problem is having to reread bad ‘showing’ in order to figure out what the author was trying to tell me. Like pole dancing, showing should be reserved for when and where it is appropriate. : )


  7. Oh Tina!

    You are so right! Reading too much deep POV is like watching too much ‘handheld’ cinema verite: it can make you nauseous.

    The Reader’s Prayer --

    “Please, just tell me a story and stop showing me how great a writer thou art.”

    At least, that's how I feel sometimes. : )


  8. Hi Julie:

    You are too kind! :)

    Deep POV is to a philosopher like a really deep cave is to a spelunker. We’re right at home but that it doesn’t mean we’re safe!


  9. Hi Ruth:

    Bad writing is bad writing whether it is shown or told. I don’t object to showing when it is the best way to go – it’s the ‘don’t tell’ part that drive me nuts!!!

    It seems modern fiction wants to banish the storyteller. The story just happens! That didn’t work very well for cinema verite and it won’t work for writing.

    I think the more a writer can think like a reader, the better her books will read. (And that’s what it’s all about, right?)

    Now about my synapses: actually it all depends on the amperage. You have to rev up the amps if you want to run with the big dogs. : )


  10. Hi Tina P.:

    I’m with you and Ruth. I like the idea of having a storyteller who knows it’s a good story and that it is going somewhere. I like a storyteller who wraps her arms around me in reading comfort.

    I even like first person detective stories that begin:

    “It was Monday morning like all the other Mondays I showed up for work – expect for the dead body sitting at my desk.” (I can hear a saxophone as I read this!)

    Don’t take the telling out of story telling. If you have to show me something, show me you can tell me a really good story.


  11. Like pole dancing? LOL!