It’s so wonderful to have Claire on the blog today. Claire is one of the few author friends I have who I am able to see regularly. Claire’s debut novel, What Goes on Tour, came out in February, and I was at the pitch session where her manuscript was accepted, so I’m really so happy for her success.
Show Don’t Tell
First of all I want to say thank you to Michelle Diener and the rest of the Magical Musings crew for inviting me to guest blog today. I had no idea what I was going to blog about until I went to the most amazing production the other day called, Burn The Floor. It’s a ballroom dance spectacular and it really wowed me and got me thinking.
As authors, one of the things we are constantly told is show don’t tell. What this means is don’t say, “Libby was upset”, show she is upset by the way she folds her arms across her stomach, looks down on the floor and speaks quietly.
It can be tricky to do especially when a character is going through an emotional roller-coaster and you need to think up different ways of showing they are angry or upset or sad.
So what’s this got to do with Burn the Floor?
The dancers on the stage told many stories without using a single word. There was no program to say, ‘The first dance is a Romeo and Juliet story’ or ‘the last dance is all about falling in love’ – you just knew what it was about. Through music, movement and body language these dancers told stories to the audience which had me at various times, cheering, laughing and close to tears. It was just beautiful.
I came out of the theatre feeling a bit like I’d finished reading a really satisfying book. My heart was pounding, I felt way too emotional, like I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time and I felt thoroughly satisfied.
This is the type of feeling authors try to evoke in their readers. We tweak every word like tuning a guitar attempting to get the right combination in order to send our readers on that rollercoaster. For me, Burn The Floor was a lesson in how to show and not tell. It explored body language and movement in a way I’d never thought of before and I know I’ll be watching the DVD I bought regularly to remind myself of how it can be done. Last month Mary Hughes wrote a blog on Television, Books and the Power of Story in which she wrote, “you can’t get more concentrated storytelling than a movie, television, or play” and I’d like to add dance to her list.
Claire’s debut book What Goes on Tour was released in February 2014. You can find Claire online at:
What goes on tour, stays on tour … or does it?
Few people know that socially awkward Adrian Hart is actually rock God, Kent Downer, and that’s the way Adrian likes it. His privacy is essential, especially now that he has guardianship of his orphaned, ten-year-old niece, Kate. But when the nanny quits in the middle of his Australian tour Adrian finds himself in a bind.
Until Libby Myles walks into his life.
Libby has only ever wanted to become a full-time author and prove to her parents that she can make it on her own. On the surface, the temporary job as the nanny for Kent Downer’s niece looks perfect—the pay is fabulous, the hours are short and Kate is a big fan—it’s the rock star that’s the issue.
Arrogant and way too attractive for anyone’s good, Kent Downer has enough swagger to power a small city. But when he’s out of costume he’s different—shy and uncertain. For Libby it’s a far harder combination to resist. She needs to find a balance between work, writing and ignoring her attraction to the rock star, because if she falls for him, it could mean the end of her dream.
But when a horrible scandal is unleashed—putting young Kate in danger—there’s more heat between Libby and Adrian than just sexual attraction. Libby must figure out if Adrian ever cared for her, or if it was all just part of the show …