Showing for me has been a way to get readers to pay more attention. If you are showing, the reader has to constantly be picking up clues about the characters. Readers are also more likely to get engrossed with the story that is shown. The details are more engaging on a sensory level. It makes the suspension of disbelief work better.
What I realize about showing a story, however, is that it forces your characters to act a certain way. Or, to be more precise, it forces your characters to ACT. If you are trying to show emotion without telling it, you are forced to make your character reveal the emotion through some action.
This is a problem for me.
See, for the few of you who have read a lot of my work, you may have seen that I'm often fascinated by characters who are frozen by their own fears. They're stuck because they either don't know what to do or they don't know how to do it. With these inactive characters, I had to tell a lot because the external view of them wasn't nearly as interesting as the internal view.
If, however, I start showing all the time, my characters aren't allowed to do nothing anymore. They have to act, otherwise it's 300 pages of a man (or woman) sitting in a chair (or couch). Forcing a character to act sure does make a story more interesting. (Hey, don't panic, but I think there's a plot standing...right...behind you.) On the other hand, I feel like I'm losing those characters that interested me. Or, maybe I'm just not providing as much insight into them as I would have liked. For example, though I wanted to provide insight into my cannibal character, I think a lot of that was lost through my decision to not tell. We'll see what the critics say on that.
Let's face it, a lot of people don't act. A lot of people are on the verge of acting, or wish they could act. I've been trying to capture those people, because I think there's a wealth of emotion bottled up inside of them. And, I wonder if I lose the depth of those characters when I show instead of tell.
So, the question I'm asking all of you is: Does showing (and not telling) force you to write about a certain type of character or a certain type of story?
My answer at the moment is yes, unfortunately.