Friday, June 10, 2011

Rudolph? Rambo? Research?

Yesterday, we talked about Showing vs Telling.

As in:
Martin was angry. "You useless bastard!" he screamed at the printer (telling).
Martin's eyes bulged, his beard bristled and veins stood out on his fleshy neck. "You bastard!" he screamed at the printer (showing).

Showing is good. Telling is bad. In general. Teacher said a good mix may be 85 percent showing and 15 percent telling. But it all depends on the text.

I have a submission due next Friday, 0730, to be critiqued over the weekend, critiques presented on Monday. I thought I had a good text. I was confident. I felt strong. Then we did the Show vs Tell workshop. Not so confident anymore.

See, this is a potential problem with this workshop. We write texts and then we workshop problems which we then see in our own texts. Clarity of vision leads to whatever the opposite of peace of mind is.

Today we talked about originality. Are the any original stories left to tell?

Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer is shunned by his peers. John Rambo is shunned by his peers.
Oh Rudolph, it's snowing, we need your special talents to help us. Oh, Rambo, there's some prisoners that need rescuing, we need your special talents to help us.
Rudolph, you're a hero now! Rambo, you're a hero now!

Scary, ain't it? There were other examples too.

And today our first guest, Elaine Isaak, a former Odyssey graduate and published author, arrived. Each guest will arrive on Thursday night, when we hold a simple reception (popcorn, cookies, soda, oh the glories of the author's life) and ask questions for an hour. Then on Friday the guest holds a lecture and sits in on the critique session that afternoon.

The Q&A was interesting. We talked about research and publishing. Getting The Call.

A secret learned today was about the Barnes & Noble death spiral. So strange.

As a final note: today's critiqued stories included the first in-text casualty since we started. Nine stories critiqued, one death. Highly dissatisfying. In my admission story, I killed off 50+ people. I should write something like that to up the average here.

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