Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It’s all in the details

Today's guest post is by Erika Talbot. Erika will be our guest in the chatroom Sunday, July 3.)

As writers, our job is to paint a portrait for our audience. The brush strokes of world-building, characterization, and action are what entertain the reader. Yet, many times we pass up the chances to really show the story as strong as we see it in our brains. And we must share the story, or the characters will come after us.

Characters talk. That’s a no-brainer, but does the dialogue put the reader next to the characters? Does it make them feel like the third person in the conversation? Or does the reader only feel like a reader? Add some spice, pizzazz, neon excitement to your characters. Does Sally “say,” or does she “grumble?” How about Don? If he is arguing with his boss, how does he argue? Is he loud and harsh, or is Don more timid and conservative, merely murmuring? These kinds of details can really propel the reader into the scene. Now, don’t get me wrong, Sally can “say” from time to time, but in the more emotional/epic scenes, painting broader strokes will make it come to life and keep the intensity.

To bring Sally out more so the reader sees her, what does she look like? Sally is a middle-aged woman with blonde hair and freckles…boring. It feels sterile, written without the pizzazz (can you guess my favorite word yet?). How about Sally’s face is covered with lines of wisdom, potato chip blonde and spots only a day at the beach can give. Keep in mind, this is straight off the top of my head…but you get the idea, right?

Bringing more to your writing can only make it stronger, and let’s face it; it’s a blast to add some craziness into your world.


At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouragement ~ would that editors read your comment and perhaps leave a vivid tag or two in the midst of a story ~ despite the current trend towards santizing to streamline for ebooks and such the very characters who would bring the stories to life.
Write On!


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