We all know the “show don’t tell” rule, that can frankly be annoying at times, and we must do the same when our characters are involved.
For example, when we are trying to introduce the psychological description, we must remember that it would be dull for the reader to be presented with a list of neurosis and quirks. It is far better to reveal their inner machinations through their actions, reactions and through the eyes of other characters. My detective – Eva Squires – twirls her hair around her finger, or chews it (yuck) when she is feeling unsettled – it’s subtle, but there for the reader to pick up on.
It is necessary, however, to outline the physical description of a character, just enough for the reader to “see” them. They will fill in any blanks with their imagination.
We hope that the reader will like or relate to our protagonist, and feel afraid or annoyed by the villain. We must, however, seek to avoid stereotypes, such as an ugly, muscly villain, or a waif-like, doe-eyed heroine. I try to have a male character who is not always tall and broad shouldered – they don’t appeal to everyone after all.
In my current WIP (crime thriller), the reader is not aware of who the villain is, so that I can reveal their true-self and flaws in the denouement. I also give my detectives flaws – as no one is a saint – they may smoke, they may lack confidence, they may have a short fuse or they may be hedonistic. Readers can relate more to characters that are deemed “ordinary”.
Naming the characters can be tricky, and at times, I have changed a characters name part way through the WIP because I ave two characters with a name beginning with the same letter and having a similar sound, which can lead to confusion for the reader. I use a baby names book so that I don’t fall into the trap of using familiar names that I know of – it helps me think outside the box.
Welcome to Sarah – thanks for following.
Happy Word Flow One & All