Welcome to this week’s blog hop. Today the topic is:
Does ‘show don’t tell’ ever run up against your personal prohibitions?
Since I’ve been on what so far is an 8 year writing journey, I’ve come to realise the worst thing you can do is tell and don’t show. Showing and not telling can draw one event or chapter out and make it more interesting for the reader, whereas flat prose can render the event quite boring.
I like to show with conversation. When I first started writing I avoided conversations as much as possible. However, I came to learn that you can impart much information via conversation and even include some humour as well to make the chapter more readable.
Here’s a little snippet from ‘His Ladyship‘, currently on the Longlist of the 2021 Page Turner Award (Shortlist not yet announced). I could have just told of the event where Norman decides to lose his virginity and to meet a girl he had been chatting to on CB radio. However, I stretched it out a bit with a bit of conversation …
Excerpt from Chapter 5 of His Ladyship, copyright Stevie Turner 2021:
He found out that if he attended enough job interviews and acted on his worst behaviour, he could keep the vagaries of the Labour Exchange at bay and retain his dole money. Norman, certain that the nightmare of the warehouse would be forever fresh in his mind, bought himself a CB radio and retreated into the safety of his bedroom. With some trepidation he set it up, fixed an aerial to the outside wall, and switched to Channel 9 to try and make some contact, any contact, with the outside world.
“This is Hot Rod. Hot Rod. Anybody about?”
Over the white noise and brief snatches of other people’s conversations came the sound of a distinctively female voice.
“Hi Hot Rod, this is Peachy. Can you hear me?”
His heart leapt at the sound of his new CB handle.
“I hear you, Peachy. Loud and clear. Whereabouts are you?”
“Switch to Channel Fifteen, Hot Rod. It’s a clearer signal.”
Excited, Norman tuned in.
“Peachy, this is Hot Rod.”
“This is a better channel. Not so many people use it at the moment. I’m in sunny Addiscombe, Hot Rod.”
“Near Croydon. How about you?”
“Fulham. Just as sunny today.”
“So… do you work, Hot Rod?”
“In-between jobs at the moment.”
“I’m a hairdresser.”
“Great. Do you live with your parents?”
“No. I live over my shop. How about you?”
“I still live at home.”
“No girl, Hot Rod?”
“Er… not at the moment.”
“Fancy an eyeball?”
Norman, perplexed, wondered if he had heard right.
“An eyeball. Meet up. Do you want to? What about it?”
“Er…sure. I can get the train. What’s your nearest station?”
“Elmer’s End, Hot Rod. I’ll wait for you at the station tomorrow. Eleven o’clock. I’ll wear jeans and a yellow jacket. I’m always punctual, and I’d appreciate it if you could be the same.”
“Sure.” Norman knew he would be there half an hour early. “I won’t be late.”
He could not believe a date had happened so soon. He took time over his appearance for his first meeting with a member of the opposite sex. He could tell his mother was curious, but he decided that she could stay that way. He was thirty years old, still a virgin, and it was about time he went out with a girl.
On investigation there were too many train changes. He decided it would be quicker and an easier option to take a taxi for the ten mile journey. He could afford it, and anyway, what else was there to spend his dole money on? Norman bought some Brut aftershave, washed his hair, and wished he were a few stones lighter.
“Why have you ordered a taxi, Norman?”
His mother didn’t miss a trick. He likened her to an all-seeing eye and an all-hearing ear.
“I’m off out for an eyeball.”
“What’s the matter with your eyes?”
At ten to eleven Norman looked out of the taxi window as it approached Elmer’s End station. A woman old enough to be his grandmother stood at the entrance in too-tight jeans and a bright yellow jacket, and peered in his direction. He dropped down in haste, and laid sideways on the seat.
“Sorry. Could you take me back to Fulham please? I’ve changed my mind.”
“Whatever you want.” The taxi driver replied with a shrug. “You’re the one with the money.”
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