By: Drew Chial
When I started writing, I was more concerned about what my characters were thinking than what they were doing. I wrote uneventful chapters, where the
most of his time talking about his feelings. He rarely explored settings or
exchanged dialogue with other human beings. His conflict was internal, his
journey was cerebral, and his musings floated free from any kind of story
My narrators weren’t passive observers, giving accounts of events as they happened, they were philosophers whose ideas read more like blog entries than stories. Their selfish nature was made apparent by an avalanche of I feel statements.
After some eye-opening criticism, my writing veered into another direction. I traded narration for strict description, play by plays of what my characters said and done. These stories read like screenplays converted from present tense into past tense. While my writing improved, it felt like it was missing something.
Compensating for my early first person sins, I’d let the plot reign over characterization. At their worst, my descriptions were so devoid of emotion they read like crime scene reports:
“One armed protagonist entered the room, shortly after sunset. He fired several rounds.”
leads had lost their edge. I tried to smuggle some of their attitude into the
dialogue, but it felt forced, especially when they weren’t sharing scenes with
characters worth confiding in. I didn’t want to resort to soliloquy, so I
tossed their clever musings into the waste bin.
It took a while before I realized I wasn’t taking full advantage of the medium. I was applying the limitations of movies to
written stories, denying myself the
tools that set the format apart.
Whether you’re writing in the first person or the third person, books let the reader see inside your characters’ heads. The trick is figuring out when to show what they’re thinking through their actions, and when to tell by getting beneath their skin.
Sometimes Telling is the Best way to Show
. . .
Read the full article HERE!
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