In order for readers to enter the fictional dream, the activity must be shown. Instead of following the Mass, she used to gaze at the azure-bordered religious drawings in her book.
One well-chosen physical trait, item of clothing, or idiosyncratic mannerism can reveal character more effectively than a dozen random images. Which items is she practically giving away?
Techniques abound for describing a character indirectly, for instance, through the objects that fill her world. The details must appeal to our senses. When I write about Uncle Leland, I describe the wandering eye that gave him a perpetually distracted look, as if only his body was present.
No identifying marks, no scars or tattoos, nothing to distinguish him. They weigh nothing; they have no voice. What items would your character pack for a weekend away? Living among those white-faced women with their rosaries and copper crosses, never getting away from the stuffy schoolroom atmosphere, she gradually succumbed to the mystic languor exhaled by the perfumes of the altar, the coolness of the holy-water fonts and the radiance of the tapers.
What has she overpriced, secretly hoping no one will buy it? If your main characters are divorcing, how will they divide their assets? Verbs are the foot soldiers of action-based description. We learn about Madame Bovary through concrete, sensory descriptions of the place that formed her.
Was it a stormy afternoon? Here are 11 secrets to keep in mind as you breathe life into your characters through description.
Writers of effective dialogue include pauses, voice inflections, repetitions, gestures, and other details to suggest the psychological and emotional subtext of a scene.
Then, because setting implies time as well as place, choose a particular time in which to place him. Early environments shape fictional characters as well as flesh-and-blood people.
Notice the strong verbs Robinson uses throughout the description. But they do not exist until we describe them on the page.Suzannah Windsor is the founding/managing editor of mi-centre.com and Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing.
Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Prairie Fire, Geist, The Writer, Sou'wester, Anderbo, Grist, Saw Palm, Best of the Sand Hill Review, and mi-centre.comah is working on a novel and a collection of short stories.
The characters in our stories, songs, poems, and essays embody our writing. They are our words made flesh. Sometimes they even speak for us, carrying much of the burden of plot, theme, mood, idea, and emotion.
JANET BURROWAY is the author of plays, poetry, essays, children’s books, and eight novels including The Buzzards, Raw Silk (runner up for the National Book Award), Opening Nights, Cutting Stone, and Bridge of mi-centre.com other publications include a collection of personal essays, Embalming Mom, in addition to a volume of poetry.Download