"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Fine Example of Show Don't Tell

The other day I received an email from a friend who was frustrated with someone she was dealing with.
But she didn't just say, "I am so frustrated." Instead, here is what she wrote:

"I'm going to kill them and myself in a fiery show of telekinesis powers a la Carrie."

So let's step back a minute and look at this. Why is it so good?
1) She shows an action of what she plans to do based on her emotions.
2) She uses telekinesis because she is sending the email to me and knows The Emerald Tablet has telekinesis in it.
3) She knows I am in my later 30s and thus the Carrie reference is totally appropriate.

I was awed, and send a response telling her so. This is how I want to write.
*Note - I'm happy to report there were no unexpected injuries as a result of this comment.
**Question - Would Carrie be an appropriate reference to use in YA books today? Has it withstood the test of time?

Are you looking for some great fall reading? Here's what I recently ordered from Amazon in case you want some suggestions!

Ok, so I admit it. These are all Class of 2k8 books. There are a couple more I plan to order which aren't, but they will have to wait until next time.

Here's my positive thought for the day:
Be your own cheerleader. You need to support yourself mentally. Push aside your fears, worries, anger, doubts, and concerns, and free your mind to focus on the positive.
Whenever you have a doubt slip into your mind, repeat over and over, "I can do it!"

Why? Because I can do it!


Gottawrite Girl said...

Thanks for the great book suggestions. And I love your friend's fireball writing - that's right. Writing so vivid I wanna throw myself in front of her flame-charging self!

Casey Something said...

Lol! Great line, that one.

As for Carrie, I'm in my early twenties and it didn't click until you stated it was a reference, THEN it clicked. However, I've pretty much avoided any and all "scary" movies all my life, so maybe I'm a minority and the majority would catch on right away.

Let us know how you like your new books!

PJ Hoover said...

You're welcome, Susan. It is such a vivid line! Fireball writing - nice :)

Good input on the Carrie, thing, Casey, because when I was in high school, whether you'd seen it or not, you knew about Carrie. It was somehow required knowledge. And that's the difference 15 years can make!

Thanks for visiting!

Angie Frazier said...

Oh, I would love to use that kind of writing in one of my WIPs!! Great line!

Will you post your reviews of the books you ordered? There are a few in your line-up I was interested in checking out...

Carrie Harris said...

I make Carrie-the-book references all the time, because obviously, I am Carrie-the-person. I was also born the year that Carrie-the-book came out, which makes me very worried about my parents' mindset at the time. Anyway, younguns always look at me funny when I make those remarks; I quite suspect that they have no clue what I'm talking about. ;)

Anonymous said...

Great line!

The well-read will get the reference. The rest -- who cares?

The book itself definitely stands the test of time, or it wouldn't be in a position to be referenced!

PJ Hoover said...

It certainly is something to strive for, isn't it, Angie! I love it. I should print it out and tape it by my desk.
And when I read then, I will post reviews (though I know I'll love them all). They all seem fantastic, and I love seeing all the covers!

Maybe I was secretly referring to you, Carrie!!!!
That is too funny you were born in the same year it came out! At least it wasn't years later when Cujo came out.
So you get blank looks? Too bad!

Good point, Devon :) The safe thing about Stephen King is everyone has heard of him. Those who read the line and didn't get it, probably wouldn't give it a second glance. Those who read it and did get it would love it.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Great example!

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Lenore! I loved it! I just had to share :)

Sheri Perl-Oshins said...

This was a fun post PJ. I love your friend's descriptive writing. And you've told me before to be my own cheerleader. You'd think I'd learn, but I have to say, I needed the reminder again. So... Yay me! Yay you! Yay all of us! 8)

Tabitha said...

LOL!! I love this example!! :) It says so much about how she's feeling, how she reacts as a person, and who she's talking to. Excellent example. :)

I've never seen nor read Carrie, but I'm also old enough to understand the reference. I think that if someone made another movie, it would definitely become another household name/idea. But I doubt kids today would know a Carrie reference.

PJ Hoover said...

It was a fun email when I got it, Sheri! I busted out laughing immediately!
The great thing about stuff like the cheerleader comment is we all need reminders, and the more often they come, the better!
Yay you!!!! Yay me!!!!

I know, Tabitha! LOL!!! I've never read Carrie either, but saw bits and pieces of the movie.
And so many of us have read Stephen King On Writing, we feel intimate with Carrie.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the Carrie reference would make sense to most teens today. When I told 14 to knock it off before M went all Carrie on him, I got that blank teen look.

Vivian Mahoney said...

Too funny about Carrie. Nothing like feeling dated.

Love your friend's line. Very vivid.

But I love your positive thought even more! Thanks!

Unknown said...

Yup, I think the Carrie reference might be out. The new reference is: "OMG! If you don't quit, like, she'll go all Lauren-after-Spencer-disses-her on you!"

*shudder* I've never even *seen* the Hills. I hate pop culture!

PJ Hoover said...

Too funny, Amy! You said that! I need to role model that behavior.

Thanks, Vivian! And I'll be a cheerleader for you any day!

Beth, I am so with you on the pop culture. Do I really need to keep up with all that stuff? I left pop culture behind in the 80s.
Loved the 80s.

Marcia said...

Great line, by someone who understood her audience! That means everything. I don't think teens today would get the Carrie reference; it's just not one of the more quoted Stephen King titles anymore. BTW, I remember when that book was brand-new and SK was a nobody. He didn't really take off till Salem's Lot. If this were Verla's board, I'd have to use that old-guy smilie with the cane. :)

PJ Hoover said...

And I don't even feel old at all! That's the great thing, Marcia!
I loved Salem's Lot! But the coolest is when I saw the Shawshank Redemption and though, "wow, this seems familiar," only to then see his name in the credits and remember I read the short(?) story.

Keri Mikulski said...

Great example of show don't tell..

Love the positive thought. :) Back to work.

Ronald L. Smith said...

Speaking of Carrie, this reminds me of Project Runway, the fashion designer reality show (don't hate!) The host is looking at a young designer's, er, design, and says: "I don't know...this is very Sgt. Pepper." The designer says: "I have no idea what you're talking about.

Which, actually, some people here may have the same response.

*Hint* It's a reference from that Band from The Olden Times, the Beatles.

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks Keri! Can't wait to order your book and post the cover!!!!

LOL, Balthazar, on the Sgt. Pepper reference! That is perfect! "I have no idea what you're talking about." Love that!

Anna Lefler said...

Great blog! I loved your positive thought for the day. Believe me, that's exactly what I need to hear this week. I'm tempted to write it across my monitor in Sharpie right now...

(And thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment! I hope you'll be a regular visitor... :^) Anna)

PJ Hoover said...

I've been tempted to get my Sharpie out on more than one occasion, Anna! I'm thinking I could write positive stuff on the walls of the shower. Would that be weird? Maybe I should go with a dry-erase marker.
Your blog is awesome! I'll definitely be coming back by!