To tell or not to tell

To follow any narrative the reader needs information, obviously.  However, the process of how much information to reveal, and when, has to be carefully judged.  There needs to be a balance between comprehension and interest.  Putting everything out there may ensure that the reader is crystal clear about plot, setting, character and motivation but it takes away from the enormous pleasure that they derive from trying to figure out for themselves what is going on and from the delicious surprises that can be unwrapped along the way.  Withholding information, setting false trails, including flashbacks and dropping in nuggets of new information are key devices that a writer has at their disposal to tease and engage and get the reader re-evaluating.

Dave’s preferred writing style is to go simple and minimal.  Which is all very laudable, especially, you’d think, for a graphic novel where you don’t want the panels cluttered with reams of dialogue.  Unfortunately, our first printed version was a bit too minimal as far as information-giving was concerned.  In fact, it was downright niggardly.  For some, finding the basic information they needed to make sense of the story became a bit of a where’s Wally challenge.  Consequently, certain pages left readers more confused than interested.  For the on-line version, therefore, we made sure that there was no lack of prompts, labels and signposts to ensure the reader didn’t have to slow down to work out where they were and what was going on.  We also included a certain amount of redundancy so that if someone missed a key piece of information in one place they had a good chance of picking it up somewhere else in a different form.  For example, Casanova’s childhood discovery of his mother having sex with a strange man was referenced in the Prologue, a flashback and one of the dream sequences whereas previously it had only been referenced in the flashback.

‘The Prologue’, and chapters 1 and 2 of ‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ are now freely available here.

6 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.

#flashback #graphicnovel #behindthescenes #storytelling