When Inner Dialogue Isn't "Telling" and When It Is in Memoir and Fiction: Episode 284 with Jess, KJ and Sarina
The whole “am I showing, or am I telling” inner debate can be tough in every part of a novel, memoir or nonfiction-with-elements-of-memoir draft. You don’t want to “tell” about the action. You don’t want to “tell” about the setting. And goodness knows you don’t want to “tell” what the character is feeling.
Except when you do. Sometimes a little telling, in the form of inner dialogue, is exactly what the reader needs to feel a part of the story, not just the happenings. Sarina, Jess and KJ are all in for a conversation about how to immerse a reader in emotions, reactions, fears, self-doubt and even self-deception.
Got an inner dialogue question you’re wrestling with? Try sharing it in our Facebook group—and for other burning questions, small and large, email us at email@example.com. We can’t respond to every email, but we might answer your question on an upcoming show—or even invite you on for a little coaching.
All links and quotes from the pod are below—but first, did you know that making a podcast is not free? (We know, the nerve of people, wanting to be paid for their production or platforms or tools. You’d think they needed to eat or something.) Our sponsors pay for our production, but the time and effort we put into creating #AmWriting is supported by you, lovely listeners. If you’d like to chip in for more interviews, coaching, career and craft advice and all the #AmWriting things, click the yellow button. (Until I proofread this, that said “lick the yellow button”. Don’t do that.)
Links and quotes from the pod:
From In Her Boots:
“Jasmine was still a little leery of the animals, so I set out to charm her with them. **Here’s what my editor said here: Maybe Rhett could think here about how the animals always made her feel good and she wants to impart some of that to Jasmine, who is stretching so far outside her comfort zone to help Rhett? This could be a nice friendship moment to show Rhett caring about Jasmine.** After we fed the entire crew—which would make any human popular—I gave Jas Brownie’s curry comb and showed her the places where he loved to be scratched, and together we groomed the little pony to a sheen, Jas brushing while I pulled his mane and tail. Jas ran inside and emerged with a bandana that we tied in his forelock, giving him a rakish look suited to his personality, and at the same time we both pulled out our phones.”
Here’s the revision:
“Some barn time would absolutely help me feel better. If Jas was a little more comfortable with them, I knew she would feel the same way, and I wanted that for her. I didn’t care about the Maggie part of it. I’d overheard her on the phone with Zale last night, and I wanted her to know that the farm was a refuge for her no matter what. After we fed the entire crew—which would make any human popular—I gave Jas Brownie’s curry comb and showed her the places where he loved to be scratched, and together we groomed the little pony to a sheen, Jas brushing while I pulled his mane and tail. Jas ran inside and emerged with a bandana that we tied in his forelock, giving him a rakish look suited to his personality, and at the same time we both pulled out our phones.”
From We Are Not Like Them:
p. 113 “I’m relieved to see that the crowd really is peaceful, so many faces filled with righteous conviction and purpose. Nonetheless, my cynicism kicks in. Ain’t nothing changed but the music. All the clever signs and chants, the people who showed up just so they could post it to their social media, what does it add up to?”
From Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake:
p. 161 “She laughed and then hoped he’d meant her to.”
p. 179 “Rosaline didn’t want to jinx it, and possibly she was reading too much into one ambiguously encouraging look from Marianne Wolvercote, but she thought she could do okay this week. Possibly even well? After all, she had a strong concept. And the part of her that used to do homework under test conditions was now secretly rather glad to get to practice in an unfamiliar kitchen.”
Beach Read by Emily Henry
KJ: We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride & Jo Piazza
Sarina: The Enneagram in Love: A Roadmap for Building and Strengthening Romantic Relationships by Stephanie Barron Hall