This one is going to be short and sweet—I hope. There’s a comic strip called “His Face All Red”. My best friend posted it on Facebook the other day and I gave it a read. It’s only about ten pages long. Before I go into what’s so impressive about it, the comic can be found here.
Now that you’ve gotten a first hand look at this thing, did you notice how chilling it is without resorting to gore of gratuitous violence? Emily Carroll, the author in this case, makes impressive use of the medium she is working within to convey feelings and emotions without directly telling the audience very much. Sure this is easier because comics are a visual medium, but even in comic books we’re used to seeing characters launch into needless exposition to explain complexities in the narrative and the like.
It’s not uncommon for authors to treat their audience like they’re completely inept and unable to figure out the reason behind things or what’s actually happening in the plot, which is what makes this such a great piece of work. Emily trusts you to reason a lot of the bits and pieces out and you don’t even consciously do it. She doesn’t have to call attention to everything. You feel it and as you read you understand. That is a really hard thing to do and the line between too much telling and not enough showing can be hard to find for some. The trick is usually that you should show when possible, tell only if necessary or for dramatic impact.
Having said that, I know it’s easier said than done. Before the day is out I will break that rule multiple times.
Another blogger actually goes into an in depth page by page anaylsis of the plot and how it’s a good example of showing versus telling. That can be found here.