SpudCast #7 is up and it’s called “Show and Tell“.
Following up from show #5’s topic of how reading the Harry Potter books inspired me to follow revisit the fundamentals of character design, today I will talk about how I noticed that book 7 is a fantastic example of how important it is to show the reader what is going on as opposed to telling. I’ll also use a few examples from what I think is the greatest sitcom ever, I Love Lucy.
Telling what’s going on makes your story boring. When you show the reader, you let them deduce what is happening. That’s what made reading the Potter books so much fun. And I’m sure any fan of Lost will also attest to that.
The 7th Potter book used all the elements from the first 6. Everything we learned about the wizarding universe she created was put to use in book 7. Rowling did not have to explain the wizarding world. She had already showed us how cool that universe was in the previous books.
We experienced Harry’s lessons in apparating and disapparating, flying a broomstick, learning which spells to use for certain situations and even what magic can and cannot do. By the time book 7 came out, we were already familiar with the language and physics Rowling created and it made her story incredibly enjoyable.
I am a huge fan of I Love Lucy and I’m slowly collecting the box sets. After watching a few shows, I noticed there’s a pattern, perhaps you can go as far as calling it a formula, done on some episodes. Act 2 would show the audience something hilarious that went wrong. That was hilarious only because the proper way was previously demonstrated in Act 1 without the audience knowing.
For example, The Operetta… in Act1, we learn that Lucy borrows money from the women’s club bank account to pay for her household items when her own bank account is at zero. She pays back at a later date. But at this point, both accounts have no money and she instead of telling her club, she convinces them to put on an operetta to raise money. Without letting them know, Lucy plans on paying by post-dated cheque since they’ll have money after the tickets are sold.
In Act 2, we see the result of that scheme. The cheque bounces. Imagine if the operetta was the only thing on the show and Lucy had to tell the viewer everything in the end. Not as funny as seeing Lucy building up her own trouble!
[tags]storytelling, Harry Potter, I Love Lucy, SpudCast[/tags]