Plot, Pacing, and Structure
Point of Telling
Hi there, BC Members!
We just kicked off our first-ever #BCReadalong, a new idea we had where BC members can read a book and talk about it for a couple weeks here on the site.
Our book for the last 2 weeks of August is THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, a contemporary YA title by Stephen Chbosky (it's also one of Book Country's Landmark Titles). I had been wanting to read it forever, and it's that "back to school" time of year, so I thought: no time like the present!
Anyway, today I asked the community a question about the "point of telling" in PERKS. The narration is done through letters that the main character is sending to an anonymous recipient. It made me start to think about the ways that writers use this conceit of writing their story in letters. It's fairly common, and I was wondering what you all think about that strategy in a more general sense. I thought that would be a good topic for this Discussion Board, as well: What are you thoughts about writing "a novel in letters"?
That got me thinking about larger issues around "point of telling." Point of telling is one of those things that is SO crucial to writing a novel. I came across this awesome explanation of point of telling here. Definitely a post for the writer's toolbox.
In the books that you all are working on now, what's your "point of telling"? How did you decide what the point of telling should be?
--edited by Lucy Silag on 8/18/2013, 1:27 PM--
Exposition is necessary, of course. Telling is not.
The exception is when we need to skip over a time when nothing exciting is happening, but of which the reader needs to know. There's where the author steps in and uses a report format to sum up those events and "sew" the active scenes, before and after, together.
The thing that too many hopeful writers forget is that every history book is telling about the events in a way that there's no sense of immediacy and no uncertainty. The events it describes are immutable. But how many of us cheered when the teacher said, "Okay class, open your history book and read pages 218 through 234."?