Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Tuesday's Inspiration triggered by John Gardner
Re-reading On Becoming A novelist always inspires me. What I read last night once again made me think. "The novel's unashamed engagement with the world--the myriad details that make a character come alive."
Details is were a writer makes the world and the character come alive. Using the specific for example the vast shade created by the tree becomes the vast shade created by the massive oak. Or the sun shone through the trees. Sunlight dappled the ground filtering through the stand of maples. Choices of words can bring the setting into view and draw the reader into the world the writer had created. For me, this was a lesson hard learned. I often wrote about hospitals and from working in one the familiarity didn't translate into words or translated into lists. Lists don't draw a reader in.
Take bringing a character into a scene. He was tall with broad shoulders, dark hair and green eyes. The reader might see this character, or they might not. But to say something like. He towered over the other men in the room. Then later to add His dark hair nearly matched the beads of jet around Miss Mary's neck.
Adding touches of reality will draw the reader in and bring them into the world where the character resides, even if the world is truly one of the imagination where no one but the characters reside. Using terms like hardwood or conifer trees and then go on to build a picture in the reader's mind.
So engage your reader with specific. The car becomes a sedan, a low-slung sports car, a rattle-trap or many other choices that make the car real and thus making the world you're creating become real.