This morning is COLD.
Am I complaining? Or, am I stating a fact. And, how do you know the difference?
Unless I tell you more, you never will know,will you? Unless I flesh it out for you with details, you will consider this simple sentence–well, simple. But if you saw me shivering, then you would definitely think I was complaining. Or, if you saw me looking out the window with a cup of hot chocolate in my hand, while I was smiling, then you would know I was merely stating a fact because I was happy because you saw me comfortable and warm.
That’s what we have to do for our readers, isn’t it? We have to let them “see” the character’s actions and surroundings ,so they can figure out how what the characters mean when they utter words. It’s our job to let our characters express anger without saying, “She was very angry.” We’re a guide so those feelings of happiness, sarcasm, anger, joy, contentment, etc. etc. comes through without blatantly saying so.
So how do we do this?
I’ve been reading several accounts from other bloggers about the subject and came across a couple I thought were excellent. I hope you think so, too. One blogger discussed, ““The Trick of Particularity,” which is to be specific about the character’s surrounding. Was their room cozy or stark? Was it comfortable or cluttered? Did it send a message of “come in” or “stay out”? The details are small, but significant; and the odder the detail, the more believable the character becomes. After all, we have our quirks, don’t we?
Another tip came from, Diane Gray–one of my favorites bloggers (or as they would say in her native Australia, “favourites”). She expressed when she’s creating characters, she asks her friends and writing buddies to interview her as if she was the character, preferably over a glass of wine. Their questions help her see things about the character she may have not considered or missed. This sure beats simply writing a character sketch, doesn’t it?
With both of these tips in the foreground of my mind, I’m going back over the two novels I have “in the works” and scrutinize the details. I need to see if I’ve done a good enough job to add oddities that will help the characters become real.
And then I’m going to bribe my friends with a margarita and ask them to interview unlovable Stephania. Now that I have a few more tricks in my toolbox, this tough character better watch out!