Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What If My Books Were Good?

I know it’s a popular thing to dump on the Star Wars prequels, but this is pretty good. And you know what – it’s also a pretty good exercise in being a better creative writer.

The first bit is an excellent exercise in showing, not telling. I know when I watched this film the first – and only – time, I never figured out the relationship between Anakin and Obi-wan. I felt like they were relying too much on us just assuming along with them that their friendship had formed after the first prequel was in the can but before the time of the second sequel arrived. I suppose that’s fair – Anakin was just a weenie little kid in the first episode – but I agree with this guy in that we needed to see more. Says he (emphasis mine):
If you don’t show them being friends, it doesn’t matter that they become enemies. In George’s version, we literally get one scene of them in the elevator when they’re like “We’re friends.” And then moments later Anakin is a d*** to Obi-wan and then they like branch off and do their own separate thing for like the whole movie. It’s not enough to simply tell us that they’re friends. We should be seeing it in their actions.
As writers, we have to show. We can do a little telling, but most of what we have to do is show or we’re going to lose our readers – and our careers – pretty early. This is something I’m keeping in mind as I revise my novels.
There’s more. Consider what this guy says about the growing conflicts between Obi-wan and Anakin, and how they could have been developed:
We get to see that they’re good friends and that they have each others’ backs.
We get to see it. As writers, we have to show it. We can’t just tell it. We can’t just assume that our readers will accept that relationships between our characters are as they are. Again another something I’m working on as I revise my novels.
I know I’m saying I’m working on a lot of this during revision. I think that’s fair. In the first draft, I admit I’m pretty aimless, just trying to get from the beginning of the story to the end. As I revise, I see where I need to show more, to make my readers care why I took them on the journey they’re on as they read. I’m hopeful I can get better at this kind of thing as I write more.

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