Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Engage your reader by relating to your reader

Have you ever read a book and screamed to the character "No, don't do that!!" Why did you do that? It's because you were so pulled in to the book that you cared for the reader.

Not only that you had experience from life that told you they were making a mistake.

As you know from reading my blogs on movies, I learn about craft from some non-writing sources. That is true for today's blog.

I heard a song when I was surfing through stations recently and was intrigued. It is "Because of you" by Kelly Clarkson. Many of my characters have been hurt and thus have a very difficult time relating emotionally to people. They throw up emotional walls.

But how do we convey that in a book?

That is what we have to learn as writers. I'd like you to go to this youtube video of Kelly's for the song "Because of you" and really look at what the story is about. You hear the words. You feel the emotion. You see the package.

In less than 30 seconds...actually more like 5...I immediately relate to the characters. Go watch the video now. I'll wait. We'll discuss it here below.

Okay, how did you feel about that poor little girl? [The younger 'Kelly Clarkson"] My heart hurt for her. What in the pictures did you see that showed you that her dad was preoccupied with his own issues?

What about the mom?

How do we see that she was trying to smooth things over between her parents?

How did we see that there were problems in her parent's marriage?

How did we see her parents divorced?

How did we see that "Kelly" was determined NOT to make that same mistake?

Now watch the video again but this time mute your computer. You have no words but yet the entire message is being communicated to you RIGHT!

THAT is showing rather than telling.

Now turn the music back on. The words don't coincide with all that is happing but rather summarizes. Like interior monologue. We get the emotional reaction to the physical events.

That is what you need to do in your writing. You need to let the reader SEE what is happening and then react to it emotionally by the POV character's reaction to it.

So does that clear up Showing vs. Telling?

I'll see you later this week. I hope you all have gone over to read A Face in the Shadow. It is 100% free with no sign ups.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

GREAT video and GREAT insite into the SHOWING vs TELLING!! Thanks for sharing that. It really brought clarity to many things I have heard before. Very powerful. Thanks again for your faithfulness and insight.

Nora St.Laurent