Dec 9, 2006

Word Painting Gets Me Thinking

I’m currently reading two excellent books for Fiction writers. Rebecca McLanahan’s Word Painting –A Guide to Writing More Descriptively and the ever so wonderful Lawrence Block (must have manual for fiction writers) Telling Lies for Fun and Profit which has an intro by Sue Grafton. I’ll discuss the Block book at a later date.
Both of these books are must haves. Buy them, borrow them, and check them out of your local library or whatever just, Please READ them!!!

I’m on Chapter Six in Word Painting:
Bringing Characters to life through description.
Rebecca talks about moving past the mere “christening” of the character. The naming of the character is the easy part. Now they need to begin to breathe. Are they plump, or middle-aged, do they wear saggy socks? Be sure to “look at the character through the eyes of other characters”. Wow.
Makes me want to go back to my Silent Darkness novel again. Ditching a project after so much effort was the wrong choice. I’ve invested in my characters. I’ve given them life. I’ve delved into my protagonist’s inner world. I know how she thinks, what she likes and dislikes, what she eats for breakfast and what kind of laundry soap she uses.

Rebecca tells us to be careful about physical descriptions. If we go too far the reader may be overwhelmed and not know what to focus on. I’ve felt that way a few times when reading fantasy novels. She goes on to discuss the character’s environment and surroundings.

“Characters reveal their inner lives-their preoccupations, their values, lifestyles, likes and dislikes, fears and aspirations- by the objects that fill their hands, houses, offices, cars, suitcases, grocery carts and dreams” (page 126) .
This woman makes me want to pick up my pencil and write!!!
On page 11 she gave a list of The Rewards of description which just made my day
(can you tell I love this book? (look for it here at amazon)

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the titles.