The OF Blog: A quick thought on the show vs. tell maxim

Friday, February 22, 2008

A quick thought on the show vs. tell maxim

While most people use "show, don't tell" in reference to plot descriptions/development, I can't help but notice that an author I'm reading now has his characters describe others a bit too often for my taste. I'd rather "see" the instances of a character being an asshole or saint, rather than being told that the character is one or the other. Every once in the while, as a direct reaction to a character's action, I can accept, but when I notice "asides" and an overabundance of irony being used to paint a character/scene, I cannot help but to think that the author has inserted him/herself a bit too much into the story and that s/he doesn't have as much faith in the "naturalness" of the characters as is needed for those characters to come "alive."

Thankfully, this book I'm reading has other positives that make the above merely irritating rather than damaging to the story at hand.

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