Wednesday, November 28, 2012
A Good Example of Showing
Although this blog primarily relates to books, communication is the primary subject matter. And even though books have long been the primary medium for storytelling, a few years ago the technology of the motion picture came into the world and offered another method of engaging the audience.
While books and film are obviously two distinct mediums, the basic manner of telling a story remains the same in both. I thought today we could take a look at a short clip to demonstrate how the process of telling a story is the same regardless of the medium, and how showing is so much more interesting than telling.
This scene begins like a good book should start: We have an opening visual of two characters. The characters tell us that it's raining and that we're in California. Their dialogue takes us right into the story and we know what's going on: These two are in love. And from his dialogue, the character played by Gene Kelly lets us know that he's about as happy as a feller ever gets.
From that point on, his actions illustrate (show us, not tell us) how he feels. The lyrics of the song help explain his emotional state, but through it all, he is showing us, through actions and expressions, what's going on in his head and his heart.
Take a look. Keep this clip in mind the next time you sit down at your computer to write a scene. Show the reader what's going on through the character's actions and words. It will make for a much stronger scene.