Don’t tell them; show them.

This diary entry was filed under the heading You Don’t Say by Washington based journalist and blogger Graham Meyer:  

From Clive James’s essay “Blood on the Borders,”* about crime fiction, in the April 9 New Yorker:

Camillieri can do a character’s whole backstory in half a paragraph, and only rarely do you get that giveaway trade trick by which one character tells another what he already knows, so that you can find out. “You know what he’s like,” says A to B about C, and then proceeds to tell B what C is like, as if B didn’t already know.From Don DeLillo’s* short story “Still-Life,” in the same issue:

“There’s nothing to discuss right now. He needs to stay away from things, including discussions.”


“You know Keith.”

“I’ve always admired that about him. He gives the impression there’s something deeper to him than hiking and skiing, or playing cards. But what?”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 25th, 2007 at 4:12 pm and is filed under Readings. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

* Blood on the Borders
** Don DeLillo

Succinct and very much to the point, I’d say.


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