Everyone has heard the old montage “Show, don’t tell” so many times that it’s become stale. And, what does it mean, anyway? It’s an easy phrase to say, but how does an author achieve a resonant, meaningful description that will make his words come alive?
This is especially important when writing a fantasy novel. More so than any other genre, the fantasy novel must invite the reader to experience the fantasy world using a pallet not of colors, but of words.
In From Under a Tree, I provide the reader with rich imagery that will hopefully have readers clamoring for more. For me, it is important to show the reader what I am envisioning. Here is an example, a description of the city of Mistmere.
“Mistmere was quite a sight to behold, built from the white sillar rock tossed out by a volcano that overlooked it, one of many mountains in the eastern and desolate rim of the ancient mountain range known as the Old Hills. The city’s name was inspired by the fact that the sun shined upon it every single day, a sunlit city almost lost at the end of the severe mountain range, and for the magnificent whisks of clouds continuously feathered through the top of the valley. It was a city of cycles, a city of layers, and a city of rings; and as it grew outward, the city accrued rings much like a tree. Unlike other Harrow cities, Mistmere’s corners and towers were not geometrically even. The circumference repeated the ups and downs of the hills, forming a picturesque wavy line, as though a necklace had been thrown onto a hillside, with the towers representing the largest white stones. And within its rings were fascinating villages with stepped terraces, ornate fountains, and hanging gardens from the terraces and almost every rooftop. Streams of water emerged from elevated sources and flowed down sloping channels. These waters irrigated the whole of Mistmere saturating the roots of plants, keeping the whole area moist, and providing a veil of mist that blanketed the city throughout the day.”