Wednesday, 23 May 2018

The Royal Wedding and Showing and Telling

Were you one of the millions around the world who watched the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle? I know I did and I thoroughly enjoyed the romance of it. It all went off very well, as people are forever saying about weddings.
Ever since King Richard III cried 'A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse' in Shakespeare's play everyone has been associating the Royals with horses. The Queen and the Queen Mother all owned racehorses and attended Royal Ascot, arriving in a horse-drawn coach. Prince Harry and Meghan were driven in the Royal coach with the Windsor greys pulling it. Did you see that one grey horse of the escort behaving badly? He really gave his rider a hard time the whole journey to and from Windsor Castle. It is those little things on the fringe of events which interest me because they make it all so much more human.

Writers very often use these little snippets to illustrate a point. Anton Chekhov famously wrote "don't tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass". His advice has been passed on countless times to aspiring writers in order to demonstrate "show don't tell".  A smile, a frown, can all convey so much more than a whole paragraph of writing. Everyone with lip-reading talents craned to see what Prince Harry might have said to Meghan or she to him during the ceremony. I would have preferred to see the faces of some of the other Royals, or at least more of them, as the ceremony progressed. In general, though, when the cameras were trained on the invitees, it all appeared to be the same as a normal gathering of this sort.  People chatting easily with people they knew, somewhat stilted looking small talk among other groups (I'm going by body language here!) and one or two guests in the background not speaking to anybody. This is meat and drink to the writer. Watching people in conversation whether in the shops, on the bus or in a restaurant is an excellent way to learn how we all interact. Even a debate on television can be very illuminating and provide loads of ideas for writing conflict into situations in your novel or short story. Like all writers, you just have to be aware of the world around you.

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