Rule Number One: show, Don’t Tell

I have been working on the third book in the Question trilogy in between working on the final edits for “A Question of Loyalty” and other things. Things like competing the program booklet for our upcoming Carolinas Writers Conference in April and writing up the pages of minutes for the organizations I belong to that somehow think because I am  a “writer” I must yearn for the position of secretary. Not that I mind, I just snicker because when I worked in the bank everyone thought I must want to be treasurer.

Anyway, I was reading over some chapters that I’d managed to produce when I noticed a glaring lack.

My characters were like cardboard cutouts, stiff and lacking any semblance of personality. Things happen to them and they react, but more like puppets than real, living people. (Writers always think of their characters are real, living people and are startled if someone points out that no, they are words on a piece of paper.)

I’m glad I noticed this myself and didn’t have to have it pointed out by a critique partner or editor. I can fix it.

I need to go into what we writerly folks call deep point of view.

This is more than saying “He was worried” or “She was frightened.”

I could say, “I am really frightened,” Caroline thought.

So what? We don’t feel her fear. We’re only told about it.

No, I have to show the gut-wrenching, throat-stopping, sweat-producing reactions of fear. Her heart must pound, the little hairs on the back of her neck must rise, she must forget to breathe.

Most of writing is rewriting. I’m getting the bare bones of the story written and the next step is to go back and flesh it out. Setting scenes, describing details, and most of all, bringing my characters to life.






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