Beginning writer problems: how much scenery does one put in? how much background information? How much of the character’s thought process? I personally struggle with this problem, but there are many tips for helping writers learn to bring their scenes to life. Here are some of the tricks I use:
- Direct your readers like they are watching a movie. Imagine you’re holding a video camera and show your reader what you see, but don’t settle for the panoramic view. What small detail can you use to convey the mood of your scene? Don’t focus on a city going up in flames, zoom in on the intimate details. Show the doll on fire. The bucket over-turned. Make your readers see the world through a lens they would not expect.
- Get into your character’s head. What catches your character’s eyes first? Don’t think about what you would see. Put yourself in your character’s job/profession and image how he sees the world. What does a painter pay attention to? The colors, the movement, the shape of things. What about a carpenter? An office worker? Show things from that perspective.
- Ask yourself why you are using a specific detail. Is it advancing the story? Is it helping your character and audience discover the setting and plot points? Or are the details distracting from the important things? Your character, and therefore reader, will only notice so much, so make sure every detail matters.
- Let the action be true to your character. If he’s is a soldier, how would he handle a conflict? Will he run or take care of the situation? Does a head-strong, rash individual stop and think before she enters an argument, or does she blurt out anything on her mind? The same way you want to show the world through your character’s perspective, make sure he or she acts appropriately.
- Get to the good stuff. Don’t make your reader sniff the lavender blooms when people are arguing or fighting nearby. You are the bow. Your readers are the arrow. Your plot is the target. Shoot smart, straight, and quick, but with elegance and craft.
Employ these tricks and see how it can make your story come alive!
Learn more about Rose Vanderley here.