Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Listen to the Crowd

They guys were watching soccer on TV last night, but there was something wrong with the sound. They could see the players running around and hear the commentators talk, but the crowd was silent. My guys knew exactly what was going on in the match, but "Oh, it's so hard to concentrate," said one, and the other agreed. I was trying to read.

I often read during football matches on TV, but then, I'm not a guy. I stop when the crowd starts to roar and I look at the screen, so I catch all the goals, all the best bits. But without the crowd, without the emotional involvement, there was nothing to pull me back into their world.

And in a book it doesn't matter how well the author describes the scene; without the roar of emotion, or deafening silence of intentional reserve, the reader's going to struggle to feel involved. It's all tell and no show, like soccer on TV without the crowd.

7 comments:

Paul "FooDaddy" Brand said...

There is indeed a difference between emotionally-linked and dry, passive description.

If an author goes overboard on the similies, however, it gives me the impression that he/she should have done a little more editing and trimmed most of the stuff out entirely. Stephen King is somewhat guilty of this.

Going past overboard, though, can be fun:

A cheer romped around the room like a perverted otter, touching everybody in special places.

Hywela Lyn said...

I love the a analogy, Sheila, you're so right. I'm not a football fan but I know exactly what you mean. It's what we authors all strive for isn't it, to show the reader, have them get involved. Not so easy to do as to talk about though!

Helen Ginger said...

So true! And you told it well. Emotion is key in storytelling.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Kathryn Magendie said...

Yes! :) I just finished a book that was so much narrative and very little dialogue - the writing was beautiful, well-crafted, but without dialogue, sometimes it was reading words words words....beautiful words, but words!

I hope my novels do their job :)

bearmancartoons said...

I think watching soccer without sound would be better. In fact without picture too is even better

Sheila Deeth said...

Ah, heresy Bearman!

Sun Singer said...

Cool analogy.