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At what point should an author hold the reader's hand or explain things to them?
Hey guys I'm still wading in the water of writing and I had a question I wanted to kick around with people that have a "higher level" at this then me (you guys groaning over how I used a video game reference yet?).
So in entertainment involving writing--games, tv shows, movies, books, etc.-- a specific rule is that of Show don't Tell, which as I understand it means that you need to present the reader with clues or subtle facts to them and allow them to piece it together themselves. That can be totally wrong, so I'll just say that I understand it as a short way to say you don't hold the reader's hand, you have to respect them.
This comes in a lot ways with like subtle clues describing a battle torn landscape, a character's physical description, to even secondary characterization or their actions in the story that reveal their inner workings. That good ways of revealing someone's character is subtle, not them stating," I am a warrior, I fight things and help people." When a better way would be a warrior giving the last of his provisions to a starving child on his journey.
What I would like to know is if there is ever an appropriate moment to reveal more about a character through dialogue then action alone? Like would two characters discussing a third in idle conversation seem like a bad or amateur means of revealing more character or would it be acceptable, because it would reveal more about the third party and those that are talking about them?
On top of that in high fantasy and sci fi settings at what point do you need to break to explain the logic of the world? Or would it break the immersion to explain it?
I apologize if these are amateur of vague questions, please quote or PM me and I'll try to explain what I mean further, but I'm really hoping to expand upon this sorta thing.
At any rate, thank you for taking the time to read and/or comment on this!