Sunday, August 1, 2010

Show Don't Tell

Blue is one of the few colours I can think of with emotional connotation. Unlike red, which is generally only associated with anger, blue encapsulates a whole host of emotions much easier to show in specific situations than to list. That said, it provides the perfect writing exercise by challenging one to show and not tell what the character feels, advice writing instructors constantly tell their students.

In my story, "Changing Tides," Mira wakes up at her grandmother's. It's her first summer here since her father died. In fact, it's her first summer here ever! In his will her father, who she's only seen once a year since he left when she was in seven, appointed her grandmother as guardian.

The house was sleeping. Twirling her ring in her fingers, she stared vacantly out the kitchen window into the garden at the mottled grey shadows cast in predawn light. The soft haunting roll of the sea floated through the window. It's salty tang bit her nose. Why had her father moved back here? At home the colours would already be dancing in the daylight and the bird would be singing. Here, everything was dull, washed out. You couldn't even tell where the ocean met the horizon, they were one and the same large expanse of - hollow, herself in the middle. Was this how is was going to be now? Passed around between winter and summer with no real place, caught in between?
This photo was taken on a beach in Victoria, B.C. not far from the University.

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