1. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Show vs Tell I think

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by GuardianWynn, Feb 7, 2015.

    Ok. First I am really going to try and include all important details in the OP. I keep failing at that. lol.

    Ok So I have a character(Kerrin). She was a bad person for a long time(200 years). She was bad as a coping mechanism that she developed from emotional trauma and partly believed she was doing the right thing at least at first. I think as time went by the coping mechanism aspect completely took over. She coped by not taking the world seriously. Cracking jokes constantly by not letting life be real her inner pain faded. Also making sure she wasn't the victim even if that meant being the abuser. She dies. In the later life the people there try and revitalize the spark of good in her. The person doing this does so by forcing her to relive her old life pre-trauma(illusion). After much thought it seems the idea here is that he is reminding her of who she was and that who she was would be sickened by who she became.

    1. Do you think this sounds like a valid way to reform her? If not what do you think the guy should have done.

    2. I was thinking of adding a scene where the man uses the illusion to actually create a fake Kerrin that would represent her old self. Idea being that in a sense her old self is yelling at her. Would that be too much show? I mean I think that is what is happening. Where it is an illusion or just the thoughts in her head. Do you think showing them bicker or fight in an illusion is a good way to do this scene? Or do you think just her the effect that her internal battle is having on her is better?

    3. If you think an illusion is the way to go what kind of attitude do you think the fake Kerrin should have. My original thought was angry but since Kerrin spent her whole like practically making jokes as a way to repress the truth I thought disappointed might be more successful approach. Thoughts?
     
  2. Gawler
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    Gawler Contributing Member

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    The best example that I have read of someone being shown the error of their ways was Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.
     
  3. I Am Vague
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    I Am Vague Active Member

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    I don't think it's too much show, but I think it would work better if she was in some kind of illusory containment where she's confused but is in a state where she just rolls with it. This way she would be confronted by her past self and not think she's better than the illusion itself. You could have it to the point where her past self knows everything that she's done to that point, or you could make it so she has to explain herself. Both ways could work, your choice.

    If she's repressed herself by poking fun at the world, seeing her past self at a time before she ever needed to do that would be a breath of fresh air. I imagine the only person she would listen to is herself anyway, so it makes sense that she'd have some kind of internal realization rather than having someone scream that what she does is wrong.
     
  4. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well to be fair. It wouldn't be possible for her actual past self to confront her. It would be someone trying to replicate that in an illusion.
    So you think this is a good idea?
    Wait. You don't think she would listen to yelling but think her past self should yell?
     
  5. I Am Vague
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    I Am Vague Active Member

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    That's what I meant, the illusion of herself. But it's not the fact I think she'll ignore yelling, I just think she'd be more inclined to listen to herself rather than anyone trying to lecture her. That way she won't be able to argue about not seeing things from her point of view, not understanding what she's gone through, etc etc
     
  6. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    So you think this scene should have Fake Kerrin shouting at Real Kerrin?
    I thought having Fake Kerrin just be depressed and sad might be better emotion.
     
  7. I Am Vague
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    I Am Vague Active Member

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    It's all your choice. I never said she had to yell at herself, it's usually an easy way to piss someone off. Whichever path you want to take it is up to you. I don't know the character as well as you do, or the events preceding, so you're just going to have to write how you think it would or should go down. However, what she's done to that point would play a major role in how her past self would react. If you think she'll be more submissive to sadness, then go for it, but maybe she'll find herself an easy target and try to repress it more... or maybe not? It's all what you think she would surrender to.
     
  8. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Funny enough I am actually not sure if I am even going to write this scene.
    One beta reader suggested I don't. That showing her face her past self and then just showing her in emotional pain from that is a stronger feel that her being given a literal lecture from past. Or at least I think that is where that reader was going with it.
     
  9. I Am Vague
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    I Am Vague Active Member

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    You could have her relive scenes from her past while her fake self is present and notice their different reactions. I truly think showing is better than telling in this case. I never said lecture... I meant choosing to face herself would be better than any lecture someone else would try to give her. Have an internal struggle, but make it good. Make it explosive. Make her hate herself, or make her strive for redemption. But no, I didn't specifically say it had to be as flat and boring as a talk between the two. It is an illusion after all, it can be anything you want it to be.
     
  10. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fair enough. Actually the illusion that was revealing her past wasn't going to have an outside perception to it. The idea being that the illusionist but her so deep in that while under she was back there. She had no awareness of being in an illusion or of what she became. So when she woke up. It was like for a moment she skipped from that moment in her life to present with all the flood of memories hitting her while her mindset was still in her old self. The sudden rush of feeling caused her great pain. Does that sound any good?
     
  11. I Am Vague
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    I Am Vague Active Member

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    Sounds good to me. It would give her a reason to change. Just be sure to give the reader insight to what she is feeling or her thoughts on it. If it's going to be quick, then I think maybe it'll be too fast of a turnaround and the reader won't be able to sympathize with her. But if you think you got that covered, go for it. I trust you'll make the scene fit
     

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