Monday, October 20, 2008

Lessons on Characterization

I had the pleasure recently to attend a workshop given by the great Alicia Rasley - author, editor and educator. She presented a program about using point of view to sharpen characterization and I learned a lot from it.
One thing that really stood out in mind dealt with how you write emotion into a story. Rather than say what the character's feelings are head on, come in through the side door. In other words, instead of writing that the deserted husband misses his wife, have him choke up when he realizes he's made enough coffee for two, or have him sniff the clothes she left behind and catch a whiff of her perfume. This made so much sense because it lets the reader experience the anguish and relate to the experience. Rather than TELLING them what the emotions are, it SHOWS them.
If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of Alicia's workshops, I'd highly recommend attending. You won't regret it.