Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Psychic Distance

I saw these excerpted recently and, along the lines of show-don’t-tell, thought they did a better job of communicating differences in narrative psychic distance (“the distance the reader feels between himself and the events in the story”) than two pages of exposition would have.

It was winter of the year 1853. A large man stepped out of a doorway.

Henry J. Warburton had never much cared for snowstorms.

Henry hated snowstorms.

God how he hated these damn snowstorms.

Snow. Under your collar, down inside your shoes, freezing and plugging up your miserable soul.

[From John Gardner’s "The Art of Fiction."]

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