Sunday, March 23, 2014

A moment with greatness.

Every once in a while, I remember that this blog is supposed to be about writing mysteries. My presentation (see the previous entry) includes several examples of the craft of superb story-telling, and now, thanks to PowerPoint, the audience can see the words up on the screen instead of having to listen to me -- or a hapless participant -- read them aloud.

So in the spirit of exposing you to the best (and exposing my meager graphic design skills), here's one of my favorites, from Laura Lippman's What the Dead Know. It continues a description of a defense attorney, already described as an "alcoholic old lizard."

A brilliant instance of the "show, don't tell" mantra. From three sharp sentences ostensibly describing Bustanante's appearance, we see her entire life -- once-elegant past, decrepit present, and a fair anticipation of a future as a serious thorn in the narrator's side. Nothing's wasted. And nobody does it better.

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