Sunday, December 28, 2008

Show and tell

One of the most difficult things to do as a writer is balance showing versus telling. If there's too much action and not enough interaction the reader doesn't connect with the characters. Too much introspection and the story doesn't move the reader along. They get bored.

It's the same with men and women. I have this theory that men hold tight to their emotions because their anatomy expresses their interest as soon as awareness passes through them. The female anatomy is not as easy to read so women tend to verbalize their thoughts. Men show, women tell.

Men are generally action oriented. They're in a near constant state of movement, even when just sitting around; pages turn, channels surf, and worlds are invaded. Women talk;about their day, how they feel, what they wore. Men eat. Women discuss the menu.

These are generalizations truly but for the most part the hero makes the plan and enacts it. The heroine discusses the plan, the emotional ramifications of said plan and then talks all the way through it to make sure that the plan has not changed.

Oftentimes men and women encounter a few difficulties in their interactions because of these generalizations. It makes for great fiction but rocky relationships. I'm exploring new characters in two different projects. In both cases the heroines are more introspective than the heroes. There's a lot of analysis on their parts as they explore all of the changes in their lives. The heroes picked up stakes and moved to explore new worlds when they couldn't fix what was wrong with the old ones.

It's not that men are incapable of talking about how they feel. They are more comfortable with showing. They bring flowers and chocolates, build a potting shed, or drive to the dentist. Women say "I love you".

If you're struggling to understand the opposite sex watch the man, listen to the woman. You never know what you might learn.

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