Telling a Story Without Words

Clara BowShushingOne comment I hear often is that an important story element is too complicated to explain without resorting to dialogue. Now, yes, the fastest way to provide backstory is through dialogue. Another great device is flashbacks, which have become controversial. Both devices run the risk of being too obvious, plus dialogue can sound very clunky if it’s too “on the nose”. But before dismissing or eliminating an important aspect of your story for fear that it can’t be told simply and effectively, I suggest that you open yourself up to the possibility that it IS possible to do so — you haven’t discovered the solution yet. After all, as soon as you believe that something is impossible, you make it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Think of it as a creative challenge. Here are some ideas to help you stretch your narrative muscles.

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