Tag Archives: descriptions

The characters and myself

A writer often starts writing about himself or his experiences. Our first characters are usually some kind of reflection of ourselves… what we are, what we wanted to be, what we hate and love about ourselves.

This is normal, expected and actually good practice. It’s important for you to know yourself and explore your own personality, since, when you create a character, you need to explore it and it would be harder if you’ve never done that before. The words, descriptions and everything else you’ll craft around these first characters are kind of who you are, which makes them special.

However, this is just the beginning, and eventually, it comes time to evolve and create something else entirely. You do not want every single character to become a different version of yourself, do you? So, when you finally reach this point, what should you do?

It’s never easy, no matter the circumstances, to see something from other people’s point of view. However, as a writer, this is your job, so you need work at it, and practice it a lot. Empathy is the key here.

So, start freeing your mind from all of your beliefs and prejudices and look at your story from different points of view. Try to write the same scene, narrating it with the different voices of the several characters that take part in it. They surely have different thoughts and feelings and you must write the same scene according to these differences. Is it hard? It very well might be, at first.

Let’s see, there are several ways to accomplish this. Even in real life, you can train this ability with and on other people who cross your way. Try to understand and perceive conflict, disagreements or debates from several of the different perspectives. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who might disagree with you. Why? What’s his or her point of view? Try to understand, empathize with that person and his or her ideas and you’ll realize that you can truly start to understand what he or she is thinking.

Besides, you can’t flood your readers with extensive and exhaustive descriptions, you need to be a bit more subtle and the best way to learn how to achieve this is by actually observing other people and their behavior. People don’t usually lend themselves to be read very easily. You actually need to read in between the lines and realize what they are really thinking to start figuring out who they really are. And, in the end, what helps you get to know that? What was the sign that elucidated you? Keep at it and you will soon find out what stands out.

That’s the one thing you need, to find that something that’ll help you read people, better see a story from different angles and be able to make and write more interesting and realistic characters.

What did I miss? 4 quick tips to improve your stories

What is lacking in my story? – The more you write, the more you’ll be asking yourself this question, and if you aren’t careful, it probably means that you’re not getting any improvement.

It’s really important for any professional try getting better at what it is they do, to improve themselves and the quality of their work. As a writer, you sometimes need to stop and really try to analyze your work and find some points where definitely have room to improvement.

Sure, this is not an easy task, but I can give you some tips that might help you through it.

1. Read your favorite authors.

Read your favorite books and authors again, and again, and try to find out what made those works some of your favorite. What made you want to read it in first place? What kept you reading that particular piece? What’s your favorite part? Why? Why does that story seem so good, at least for the reader, and maybe even the author in you?

It’s important for you to understand what makes a good first chapter, a good conflict and how the ideas they consist of, were organized. Is that something that would work for you? The style, the rhythm… the more information you have, the more you can improve your own work.

2. Organize and plan.

Yes, you are probably thinking that what you really like to do is write. Just sit and start writing… and that’s important, but often enough, a good story needs a bit of planning.

You need to organize your ideas and there are plenty of options to do it. Use them. Try different mixes of organization and work methods until you decide which ones are the best for you.

Organize your ideas, plan what will happen, when, how… Are you writing a mystery novel? Do you want the readers to have some hints that might make them curious? Every single detail is important and the more carefully planned it is, the better prepared you’ll be when you really do start writing.

3. Read it out loud.

Sometimes, what seems to work really well inside your head, turns out to be a bad idea on paper, and the best way to see if that is the case is to listen what is written. You’ll be easily aware of the narrative rhythm, the structure of the sentences, the way ideas are connected…

It can be a great experience and very insightful to ask someone else to read it out loud for you.

4. Focus on main character.

The main character is fundamental in any story. You must take some time to analyze it and improve it wherever or whenever possible. It should be remarkable and deep, good and evil at different times, and ideally, you want your readers to be able to identify with the character regarding several situations or experiences.

The main character should be an intense and active person, that either has something to win or lose. It should be someone your readers would actively care about, so they will read the story until the end in order to find out what happens to this character.

But be careful with the enthusiastic descriptions… There are other ways to show how your character looks like, the kind of person he or she is and the things they like, without describing them exhaustively. You can show or shine a light on all of these things through your character’s words and actions, the way in which he or she reacts to some situations, and how he or she talks to or approaches people…

This is a subtle way of giving people some knowledge about your character and, believe me, it is highly effective and way more powerful and interesting method of doing so.