Friday, November 05, 2021

Writing: Setting The Stage

As I began thinking about what to write on Friday, I thought about character descriptions. Does your heroine have brown eyes, or blue, or green, or hazel? And does it matter? The old trick of looking in the mirror and telling the reader about hair color and style, and all the rest of it, may work once--but not much after that.

I just received an advance copy of Patricia Bradley's latest, and she does a good job of describing her main characters to the reader in the first couple of chapters--as well as telling us who they are and what they do at the onset. Which brings up another point. The reader may not have read the books that precede this one in the series, so it's incumbent of the author to "catch them up," without revealing the entire plot of what's gone before. (By the way, I'm looking forward to reading more by Patricia--so far, so good.)

Of course, if you've chosen to write free-standing books (as I have), you'll need to set the stage for your reader in every one--occupation, quirks, the whole works. So you have that to look forward to with each of  your books

So, my advice is to set the stage carefully, and in the first couple of chapters if possible. Is this important to you? What do you want to know? What don't you care about? Let me know.

PS--don't forget to set your clocks BACK one hour at bedtime Saturday, and enjoy the extra hour we get back.


Priscilla Bettis said...

Yes, Patricia is a talented writer! I don't need to know what the characters look like. A general "she's tall" or "he's red-headed" will do me just fine. Preferably, I like to know something about a character that comes back into play later in the book. Like maybe that tall woman can see a clue way up high on a shelf that no one else can see.

Richard Mabry said...

My wife knows that, if she puts something on a high shelf, it's safe from my prying eyes. Funny you should mention that.

Patricia Bradley said...

Thank you, Richard, for the kind words! Crosshairs was probably the hardest book I've ever written due to the pandemic. I had a hard time getting my mind settled down, and close to deadline I was at the computer ten hours a day.

I hope you enjoy the rest of Crosshairs, and I'm so looking forward to getting back my hour that was stolen in November!

Richard Mabry said...

Yes, it was good to hear about your struggles as you wrote Crosshairs--misery does love company, I guess.