Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Writer's Plague - Where the Heck Are These People?

Yes, it's true, we writers have to consider every angle, every nuance of every scene we write.  Not only do our characters have to speak in a manner that matches their personality, no only do we have to describe them, their quirks and wardrobe, but we have to make sure everyone reading knows exactly where they are.

Country, city, ocean desert?  Which and we have to  make it interesting, colorful and engaging.

Think about this simple sentence.  Mary ran after Jim.

Well, yes, maybe she did, but how did she run?  Did she limp or trot or lunge or pound?  And even more important to this piece, what was she running on?  Grass, concrete, gravel, pavement, snow, sand, pine needles?  Can she feel it under foot?

As for Jim, why's she running after him; I mean how is he moving away from her?  Walking, driving a Ferrari, a VW bus?  Riding in a carriage or taking off in a spaceship.  Maybe he was kidnapped by Aliens?  Is he moving at a 'furious' gait, simply strolling, or being whisked away?

Another thing to consider when describing your location is to keep in mind the sensory details that make it the place it is.  Are leaves and twigs slapping Mary in the face as she runs?  If she's running in an old warehouse is there a distinctive smell?  Is she following in the wake of Jim's Old Spice aftershave?  Maybe, if they're in a zoo there are animal smells wafting on the air.

Are there any sounds that might be heard.  Machinery clanking in the background, the sounds of the surf pounding the shore, rolling thunder, the sound of the engine as Jim starts up his Ferrari, the wind in the trees?  

All of these things add flavor and texture to your story. 

And, again, that famous tightrope.  How much is enough and how much is too much?  That, dear writer is for you to decide.  You want enough to be engaging, but not so much that the reader is thinking, "enough already, get on with the story!"

And, by the way, a great cover on my Ebook adult fantasy, Stormrider.  This was one where I really  hand fun with laying in the background. Check it out and follow the link to an excerpt. 


  1. The cover looks great! Nice post too, well said.

  2. Hi from an old INster! Great post. Gorgeous pix too. Rowdy gave your blog a plug in his newsletter. I'll stop by often.

    Come on over and visit mine at I'm talking Literary vs. Genre. I'd love to hear your input as a Genre writer.

  3. Nice cover design. Your post is right on. Thumbs up to to go plug details into my own writings.


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