Several days ago in a phone conversation with my friend, Marsha McDonald, we discussed the fact that some of the good old books we read and loved as young girls, were written in a time when the author ‘told’ us an exciting story. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys stayed on the top of our reading pile. We loved those books and devoured every word. But ‘telling’ a story today is considered… umm, not good. ( we’re talking fiction here ) Readers today like to get into the story and really ‘see’ it.
‘Telling versus showing’.
Go on Google and you’ll find hundreds of articles explaining the difference between the two concepts. Telling is considered bad writing in the fiction world of today—oh, Carolyn Keene, you could have gone far with your Nancy Drew series, had you only known!
Instead of a measly fifty-six books… 🙂
Authors out there who would like to have a series running fifty-six books strong, raise your hand! 🙂
So where does that leave the once great writers of the past? Null and void? Nooo… The awards and accolades those writers worked and gave many hours of their life’s energy for, are still in good standing. Their achievements meant as much to them and their careers then, as they do to the writers of today—and do I hear a collective sighing of ‘Thank you’, to all of those early writers who pounded away on manual typewriters, or wrote entire manuscripts in longhand simply to satisfy their own creative release as well as providing reading enjoyment for the masses?
So does this new, improved writing mean that readers can now dump all their old ‘telling’ books and be glad that writing has improved so much, and reading is more fun… but wait, I loved reading those books, just like I love reading now! Don’t anybody try to separate me from my treasured old treasures! 🙂
Writing, like anything else that continues, must evolve. New writers learn the new ways. But the old ways are still there as guidelines. The old is our history; where we came from. In studying the past we learn not only what to do, but also what not to do.
I admire the ‘beautiful bustles’ of the 18th century, but give me jeans and tee-shirts… for everyday, anyway! And now back to my Phyliss Whitney that was published in 1968… 🙂
Take care, and God’s blessings on all of you,