Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Telling, Not Showing

I can’t decide if this is just a matter of perspective, or if Richard Thompson has mastered the art of telling, rather than showing.

Why not show the clown falling from the ceiling, scaring the children?

Timing might be a part of it.

This year (the Cul de Sac comic strip is in repeats) this strip appeared June 20. For context, you have to go back to February 23:

Thus, the offending clown appears only in the second panel of the first comic, leaving its menacing presence (is it in the ductwork or in the plumbing – which is worse!) unknown.

In only two of the four strips do we get a firsthand account. The final two strips in the sequence are told from different perspectives. And in that June 20 panel, the only clue we get that might get us back to the clown (aside from Panel No. 4) is Miss Bliss’ repeated use of “For heaven’s sake.”

Why am I babbling about this?

It’s just an interesting bit of perspective and narration playing with the notion of “showing, not telling” by putting it on its head in the fourth strip. It’s somehow funnier when we don’t see the clown fall out of the ceiling, but instead only get to see the reaction of the kids to the clown falling out of the ceiling.

Important lesson: Sometimes our characters’ reaction is the most important thing we can show.

No comments: