Breakin’ the law…
And here we have another egregious example of writer exaggeration in effect. This isn’t about bank robbery, or public nuisance, or even parking at an expired meter, I’m talking more about the nebulous laws of storytelling, especially one in particular: show, don’t tell.
In this week’s comic, I broke that law. Through the unwitting assistance of a fictional executive assistant, I quickly summarized a few ”not pictured” outcomes of three episodes’ worth of chaos and conflict. Brett’s alive. The zeds are (mostly) contained. Popcorn the Zombie Horse will ride again.
Will we be showing these things eventually? Of course, but with the end of this episode and our Summer vacation looming, I turned things over in my head and came to the conclusion that these were not elements I intended to keep people in suspense with while they awaited the resumption of the narrative. I had actually wanted to show Popcorn getting up and out of the way after briefly teasing his end, but artistically it didn’t work out with the flow of the pages. Ditto for Brett, there didn’t seem to be any pressing need to bring him and/or Lacey back into an already crowded climax (and I can once again hear the chorus of “Who are Brett and Lacey?!”… which I believe supports my point).
But there may have been some people wondering about them. Certainly I know there were people in suspense regarding Popcorn, and I felt like extending some mercy after all the weeks of emotional wringers I’ve been throwing out. Now should be the time for the readers, as well as us, to be able to relax and catch a breath.
So I have indulged in what could certainly be considered a cheap shortcut, although out of the best of intentions. I know of course that good intentions are what the road to Hell is purported to be paved with, but there are enough other existing mysteries to chew over (*cough*Zeke*cough*) that I figured I could afford to sweep a couple into the “done” pile and make a bit of room for more.
I broke the law. But heck, the TV Tropes entry does state “it’s not an ironclad rule, and knowing when to break it to quickly explain minor details is a major aspect of learning to write.”
Did the end result justify the nefarious means? Hell if I know, I’m still learning. Then again, every writer is always learning. Every “law” of writing, every rule, has been broken by fiction authors more than once. Fiction writers are an unruly bunch, ready to flaunt tradition at a moment’s notice if they feel it best suits their purpose. I suppose in that sense… whether I succeeded or failed, whatever hot-footed road I might be traveling… I can count on some decent company.