Thursday, July 28, 2011

One of the nice things people say about THE CIRCLE CAST, when they say nice things, is they like Morgan. One of the things they criticize, when they criticize, is that I sometimes tell instead of showing.

It's funny, because I'm a professional screenwriter. Showing instead of telling is my default.

But I find it an odd criticism of a novel. One of the nice things about novels is that you can tell instead of showing. A movie can only give you what characters say and do, mostly in real time. You can't show, in a movie, how the besieging troops are getting restless, and sick, and hungry. You can only show four or five restless, sick troops complaining about being hungry, and eventually getting into a fight. More than four or five people on screen and all you have is a mob. Movies have to develop all sorts of odd cinematic techniques to show Spring turning into Summer turning into Fall.

So in THE CIRCLE CAST, I tried to do more than show a series of scenes. I tried to talk about some things that happen over stretches of time. I also dissect some moments in detail, to show everything that goes into them.

Maybe that is not done in YA novels, I don't know. It's a style. Some of the people who like the book very much like the descriptions -- the "telling" -- very much. But some of the people who don't love the book jump on the "show don't tell."

Well, if you are one of those people who felt the book has too much telling and not enough showing -- let me know, eh? And let me know an example of what's bugging you...!



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