I got an interesting email today from one of my loyal readers asking about those pesky MRUs. If you don’t know what an MRU is, you can read all about them in my article on Writing the Perfect Scene. Or you can get into them in great depth in my Fiction 101 and Fiction 201 courses.
The question (thanks to Jason Epperson for this question, which I have sharpened up slightly) is the following: “Is it really true that every single scene you write should be composed of MRUs and nothing but MRUs?”
This question really boils down to this one: “Is it really true that you should always show and never tell?”
Jason pointed out an example in my own novel OXYGEN which was not written in MRUs. (I don’t want to quote it here because it’s near the end of the book and would be a spoiler for some people.) He apologized for pointing it out, because he didn’t want to be rude, but he did want to understand this thing. It didn’t bother me to see this example of my apparent hypocrisy, because my coauthor, John Olson, actually wrote the paragraph in question.
But I didn’t change John’s paragraph, because . . . well, I won’t tell you just yet why I didn’t change it.
There is more here than meets the eye. I have some tentative opinions on the “showing versus telling” question, but first I want to hear from you all, because the collective wisdom of you folks is pretty high, and I’d like to hear what you think before I go pontificating. What do you think? How would you answer Jason’s question?
The best answer (in my sole judgment, by midnight Pacific time on Wednesday) will win a free critique by me of a one-page sample of your work in progress. (The value of this prize is somewhere between 12 cents and $7 billion.)
So tell me what you think! The clock is ticking . . .