I guess the idea is that readers don't care what the author has to say, they want to see what the characters do. The Scottish novelist William McIlvanney intrudes on his own narrative far more than most crime writers do, often with thrilling results. Here's McIlvanney getting inside his protagonist's head in The Papers of Tony Veitch:
"He could recall giving up any belief in an overall meaning to living because any such meaning would have to be indivisible, unequivocally total, giving significance impartially to every drifting feather, every piece of paper blowing along a street.
"Eck was like one of those pieces of paper. You couldn't say the meaning of things was elsewhere and Eck was irrelevant. That was a betrayal. All we have is one another and if we're orphans all we can honorably do is adopt one another, defy the meaninglessness of our lives by mutual concern. It's the only nobility we have.
"Laidlaw tried to reinstate his energy by declaring war, over his whisky, on all brutalisers of others, all non-carers. Yet the very thought embarrassed. He would have been such a compromised champion, a failure opposing failure."
And now, two questions: 1) How do you feel about showing vs. telling? and 2) Is it any surprise that authors of hard stories about hard men should be attracted to compassion as a theme and a human attribute?
(Read about William McIlvanney here.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2010