Les Misérables

Many famous and successful writers – tell. “Show don’t tell,” is not a fixed rule; just an advisable one. Historical Fiction has a major dilemma, telling – covers much more ground. I love Victor Hugo’s, Les Misérables, but he took me out of the story in the sections where he tells about history. I enjoy history books, but I rather not see them embedded inside fiction.

I’m not a natural storyteller; I rely on gimmick. Many popular and successful writers use gimmick, so I’m not alone. Victor Hugo knew how to tell a story, but he still wrote sections as textbook history. I use a big show then tell strategy. I let the reader chew on an interesting image as I dish out portions of history.

I found a chapter, in my novel, in need of rewrite. The story bogs down in history. My fix will involve an image. Descriptions can bog down a novel, too, but a literary image can break the rut of historical fact. How powerful is a literary image? You can see the cover of the Les Misérables and a major theme one simple quote:

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables