One Writer’s Journey

January 9, 2015

Introducing your character

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:46 am

character detailsHow do you introduce readers to a new character?  Whether this is your main character or a secondary character, there are right ways and wrong ways to do it.

One thing that many of us do wrong is rely heavily on physical description.  We tell how tall the character is as well as their eye and hair color.  We give great detail about their build and how they dress.  This is especially problematic if you are a non-illustrating picture book writer.  How things look falls into the territory of the illustrator.

Instead, we should save our word count to tell the reader what type of person the character is.  It isn’t enough to tell your reader about the character’s likes and dislikes.  In fact, telling them is another way we go wrong.  Instead of telling them, we need to show them, building scenes that let them see our characters in action, displaying their most important traits.

Instead of saying that your character is terrified of dogs, show him edging past a yapping dog to climb a tree to fetch a frightened kitten.  This would show readers that, although he is afraid of the dog, he still likes animals and that he is brave enough to push past his own fear to help the helpless.

Take a look at your work in progress.  Do you show your reader what is most important about your character or do you spend a lot of time on hair and clothing and appearance?





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