Show and Tell 2

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Demon Runner Book 1

Show:

Later that night Roland heard his father talking to his uncle. They were sitting in the bare kitchen which had once been adorned with feminine items. Candles lit the room but failed to make it cozy. When his mother died his father had packed up anything that reminded him of her. That had also caused Brant and his father’s first serious argument. Brant said that his father should be keeping her memory alive. 

At the moment Roland’s grizzly-bearded uncle gulped from his mug and said casually, “Warwick still puts on a good show.”

His father grunted. “All the same, it’s always dangerous.”

There was a pause.

“It’s a quiet time and the caravan had no demon magnets,” Brant said.

“You know, Brant, ever since Caroline died you’ve resented the demon runners.”

“As it was your wife who was misplaced I would have thought you would have been at least a bit suspicious.”

Roland’s father hit the table in frustration. “And so should you, ‘bit’ being the operative word. Let it rest, damn it. Let her rest. The runners had nothing to do with her death, it was an unfortunate incident.”

“Incident! Is that what the local police are calling it now? You don’t even know she’s dead!”

Roland moved back further into the shadows gripping at the wooden door frame.

His father grew red in the face but said nothing.

His uncle’s voice grew angry. “You should honor her memory and find out what really happe—”

“Brant, I’m warning you!”

His uncle changed the topic abruptly. “Did you see that lad in the marketplace? The one who was standing next to you? Bit of a thing, starved and abused I’d say… We should—”

“It’s none of our ruddy business.”

It was Brant’s turn to hit the table and then make jabbing motions with his finger. “That’s your answer to everything. It’s not our business. It was a bloody accident … oh, no, I mean incident!”

“Get out… GET OUT!” His father was yelling now.

His uncle got up, finished off his drink and walked away. But he stopped to wink at Roland still in the shadows and patted him on the head on the way through.

The argument always ended the same way.

Tell:

… Brant said that his father should be keeping her memory alive. As the two began to bicker, then argue and start yelling, Roland shrank back into the shadows. His heart was pounding even as a loud bang caused the door frame to vibrate as his father bashed the wooden table. Brant kept saying Caroline, Roland’s mother, might still be alive and suspected the demon runners might know more than what they were saying but his father was adamant she was dead and nothing could be done. Roland knew his father wasn’t coping, he had loved his wife so much that her disappearance was unbearable. His uncle told him one night that while some said it was good to move on, to keep forging ahead, that in this case more was needed to determine why Caroline had been abducted. Abducted. Roland never said that word to his father’s face because too often he’d seen Brant kicked out of the house for using it. Tonight though it wasn’t about his mother that caused the eviction, Brant raised the starved boy they’d seen at the market.

“Did you see that lad in the marketplace? The one who was standing next to you? Bit of a thing, starved and abused I’d say… We should—”

“It’s none of our ruddy business.”

It was Brant’s turn to hit the table and then make jabbing motions with his finger. “That’s your answer to everything. It’s not our business. It was a bloody accident … oh, no, I mean incident!”

“Get out… GET OUT!” His father was yelling now.

His uncle got up, finished off his drink and walked away. But he stopped to wink at Roland still in the shadows and patted him on the head on the way through. Roland agreed with his uncle about the boy but was still confused about his mother. If she was still alive they should be trying to find her but his father wouldn’t just ignore that, surely? Roland loved and trusted his father to make the right decisions but deep down he worried.

You may use tell to shorten the scene because it’s not that important, or you may need to move the story along, or maybe it sounds better succinct. In this case I’ve taken the opportunity to explore Roland’s thoughts and feelings more as his father and uncle argue. As a writer it’s good to explore different ways to write scenes and often it opens new plot lines or provides a deeper motivation for the plot. Show is good but tell can be extremely effective to give your story, scene and or character depth.

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