Mapping Spinning


In my time as a writer, I have felt frustration at being able to identify what is good writing, but not possessing the concrete knowledge to write well myself. One factor that has been brought to my attention as a distinguisher between good and bad writing can be seen when the writer shows the reader something, vs when the writer tells the reader something. These thoughts were floating in my head when this assignment was described. So, I set out to make an objective display of whether Walden was showing vs telling. In traditional, alphanumeric writing, it isn’t very difficult to decide whether a sentence is showing the reader or telling the reader, but you would have to read the sentence in order to find out. With Graphic Novels, however, it can be seen at glance whether text is considered a speech bubble or a text box directed at the reader simply by the shape. I made the assumption that the speech bubbles represented Walden showing us what it is like to be her by transporting us into an interaction she’s had in real life: thus leaning heavily on show, not tell. When the text was boxed, it was clear that this text is more explanatory of the general scene and communicates something that dialogue alone simply can’t.

This of course is only addressing text in a graphic novel, where visuals are a significant aspect of the book. In a long stretch from page 300-318, Walden abandons almost all use of words and instead depends on the pictures to communicate a feeling. I think this counts as an additional form of showing and not telling, but it will not be included here due to the fact that it is difficult to objectively measure such aspects of Spinning.

Another thing I had to trade off with convenience was the actual amount said in each speech bubble and boxed text. Typically, the boxed text would contain more words, while some of the speech bubbles I counted would only have a few words each. This is probably due to the fact that when Walden uses boxed text, she is writing in an expository way to let the reader know what is going on. When Walden uses speech bubbles, she trying to mimic speech. Speech naturally has a shorter gait compared to actual writing.

Link to Mapping Spinning Assignment