Reading Into It

Here’s a writing exercise for you:

Write a short description of a scene or action with one character in the scene. Don’t describe the character, or avoid as much description of the person as you can.

Now give someone else the scene to read. What do they think the character looks like, sounds like, etc? Is it anything the same as you pictured the character as you wrote the scene? Give the scene to other people to read, get a few opinions about what the character looks like.

It’s interesting how people can read the same thing and see it in different ways.

When you write fiction, especially romance, mysteries or some other genre where people tend to identify themselves with the heroine/ hero of the story it’s a good idea to avoid a lot of description of that person. Think of how jarring it is to be reading a book and remember the heroine is a redhead after all, not a brunette like yourself. People do put themselves in the story, usually as the star. Let them get into your story. As a writer we bring them new adventures they might never do themselves.

2 thoughts on “Reading Into It”

  1. I recently a fairly lousy paperback novel in which the writer clumsily reminded us, not once but several times, how green the heroine’s eyes were and how tawny her skin. In an otherwise decent plot, his attempts to add any element of seduction fell flat, and were simply annoying. BR/BR/I could Iso totally/I be an editor in a publishing firm.

  2. I recently a fairly lousy paperback novel in which the writer clumsily reminded us, not once but several times, how green the heroine’s eyes were and how tawny her skin. In an otherwise decent plot, his attempts to add any element of seduction fell flat, and were simply annoying.

    I could so totally be an editor in a publishing firm.

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