Thursday, February 19, 2015
One of the most common errors in story telling is naming a character wrongly. That is, after writing for some time about different characters and how they interact with each other, you accidentally misname one or more of them.
For example; David and Charlie both have designs on Cheryl. David arranges a casual date with her. While on the date, Cheryl asks David’s character a question. “So tell me Charlie, when will you be done shooting the scene?” Charlie ran his fingers through his hair. “It’s been pretty rough, but we should be done in a day or two.”
Do you see what I mean? David is in the scene, not Charlie. This happens more often than you’d think. It usually doesn’t occur until after you’ve been working on something for some time. In the beginning, you’re very clear about your characters, what they look like and how they act, etc. But after you’ve lived with them for awhile, you start typing automatically and sometimes your fingers just misname someone.
Obviously this can be a real problem for the reader as it leads to confusion. It can also take away from your credibility as a writer. If you have an editor they’ll most likely come to your rescue. If your goal is to self-publish or to become an Indie writer, it’s entirely up to you unless you hire an editor/proof reader.
How do you avoid this? Often mistakes such as this are caused by fatigue. When you’re tired your mind doesn’t work as well, you aren’t as sharp and alert as you should be. Take a break. Lie down. If you’ve been up most of the night writing, call it a day and go to bed. Proof read! Don’t wait until your project is finished, you’ll be sadly disappointed. You don’t have to read all that you’ve written over and over, but it’s a good idea to proof read your previous days work. It’s also a good idea to have someone else read over your work. Fresh eyes can pick up errors before yours will.
Another common error which is related to this is description errors. If ‘Isabella’ has long thick, wavy black hair don’t suddenly make her a blonde with straight hair. This often happens when we leave a character for some time and then bring them back into the story. Refer to your back ground document, often. That document that has all of the character descriptions, locations, and miscellaneous things that are important to your story.
I hope I’ve given you some helpful information.
Good luck with all of your writing endeavors.
Thursday, February 5, 2015
You can describe a characters physical appearance in order to give your readers an image of him or her. Hair color, eye color body build and facial descriptions all let your reader know what your character looks like.
None of those things tell what the actual character is like. Simple things like their preferred dress can help. A character that traditionally wears dark or black clothing might indicate that the character is a ‘dark’ person. If a woman repeatedly dresses in flowery dresses or frilly clothes, she might have a fun, flirty personality. Or if your female character usually wears sophisticated business suits, then she must be intelligent and business like. If she adds a blouse the shows a little and pairs it with a smart skirt with a slit, then she’s also has her feminine side.
Facial expressions often indicate characters traits. Men leering, women walking provocatively, smiling, sneering, etc. all give clues too a particular characters personality. Help the reader understand what your character is all about by using clues.
Provide some background information. Maybe your character has flash backs to an earlier time in their life or a particular event. This can help the reader understand your character better, help them understand why the character acts the way they do. Perhaps they had a devastating or traumatic event that made them completely opposite to what you’d expect.
The protagonist in a series of books by one of my favorite authors is an Italian female. She loves to cook, especially if she’s under stress. You can often ‘see’ her shopping for select ingredients for a meal later that night. The character is under stress a lot. While she’s a chief medical examiner, she’s almost always in the middle of a dangerous situation, coming close to being a victim herself.
So beyond the physical descriptions let your reader know what each particular character is like through their mode of dress, facial expressions, how they carry themselves, and language use or dialogue.
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