Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Tale of Two Views

I was reading a review thread the other day. The book under review was Nalini Singh's newest, Tangle of Need

Tangle of Need

(OMG- on a side note, this new Blogger makes it so easy to do links!! Bless you Blogger, bless you.)

Someone posted that Singh tells more than shows, which sort of shocked me at first. Then I thought - so what if she does?

I don't have distinct memories of the Psy/Changling books (which makes re-reading them even better). All I remember is enjoying every last one.

I've never understood why 'telling' is such a sin. After all, writers are supposed to be storytellers and that art started out as an oral tradition which involves much more telling than showing. Imagine the props!

I'm all for understanding a character, I really am, but I don't need to know their every last thought. I don't need to have them lust voraciously every damn time they see each other. I don't need a blow by blow description of a fight or a war . A story can be a tale with pertinent parts highlighted for a more indepth analysis and showing. What the hell's the big deal?

Is this 'show not tell' a rule for romance only? You'll have to excuse my ignorance; I've never written anything but romance and wondered if I branched out into science fiction, for example, would the same rule apply?

So, the person who critiqued Singh about telling, she reads the books anyway. What does that say?

It says maybe Nalini Singh knows exactly what she's doing.

I haven't read this particular book yet; I aim to change that this weekend. Anyone that has read it - can you tell me what's up with that cover? I've seen no mentions of the cover. What's that damn red thing supposed to be? I have to say, he doesn't look like an alpha male, lol.


  1. There seems to be these self appointed gatekeepers who have a rule book for the writers. We obviously have not received our copies yet.

    Never tell, start where the action is, no head hops allowed. I'm sure there's more but I'm too busy ignoring the rules and not playing nice.

  2. I've felt the same, most notably about The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks. But then, there are other times when it really bugs me. I think all the "rules" are things that can be very irritating, but aren't necessarily so in the hands of a good author.

    I wouldn't assume that someone criticizing is necessarily doing so because they believe a rule has been broken; it might be genuine irritation.

  3. Pretty much what willaful said.

    I don't think the show don't tell is a rule, but I do know that when told one thing yet show the opposite through the characters' actions, it's annoying as hell.

    If I'm told someone is calm in a crisis and dependable and resourceful, and then the story bears the truth of it, then I have no problem with the telling.

    And the headhopping? Look, if I can follow who's talking/thinking, what's the problem?