It's harder then it sounds, because at this point I want to set my manuscript on fire.
Hopefully with some polishing, I will be able to send it off with confidence, fingers crossed.
I have been getting varied feedback on my story. It's nice to get different opinions on it. The one constant bit of praise I have been receiving is for my characters.
I'm glad that people enjoy them as much as do. They're all a bunch of hellions.
I want to say, I don't think or claim to know much about writing. All my experience comes from being an avid reader and writing as a hobby for twelve years. I am an amateur, I just thought I would give my opinion on what makes a character come to life, and what makes one flat.
1. Description Dumping.
I feel like everyone already knows about info-dumping. It's one of the big writing no-nos. I don't think I've heard anyone mention this. This one is going to take some explaining and maybe some examples.
For starters, just know I love description and I use and perhaps overuse it. You do need description. You do have to describe your characters for your readers. It's all in the execution, how and when you do it. I for one hate when I open a book and on the first page the author feels the need to describe the character in excruciating detail. Down to their slightly crooked nose. It drives me nuts, especially when we are in that character's pov.
You might be thinking, isn't that a good thing. You want the reader to know what your characters look like.I know, I used to do the exact same thing. The day I started treating my characters like actual people was when my writing improved dramatically. I for one have never woken up and acknowledged that, I was of average size, with large brown eyes, and long chestnut colored hair. I don't acknowledge it because I am already well aware of the fact. So is your character.
Use other characters to sneak in bits about your character, but make sure you don't over do it. Think of what runs through your head when looking at another person. It usually isn't poetic and gooey.
2. Telling us what your character is.
This one might bug me more than the first one. I see this way to often even in popular best selling books. Never tell us your character is brave, smart, beautiful, courageous, cool, intelligent, evil... etc. The second you say it, er write it. I can't take it seriously. I won't believe it, especially if the character's actions contradict it. You can have a different character imply things about your character, but never tell us. Show us.
I was reading 'Stalking Prince Dracula' we are constantly told by the character and others how clever she is.
She is not.
(Cringing because I probably do this all the time)
3. Superficial characters
On to my third and final point. Because I could honestly rant about this for hours, and I needed to stop myself somewhere. You know those character worksheets that people fill out with things like your characters favorite color, birthday, and favorite food. Scrap it!
Okay, let me explain. These are fine things to know about your character, they are. They just don't matter in the grand scheme of things. They also turn your character into a bunch of facts on a piece of paper. Don't do that, it's okay to not know everything about them. Treat them like people, they have layers, emotions, and heart.
Focus on establishing their voice, their quirks, and mannerisms. That's what will make them stand out. Also let them be human, let them be awkward, make dumb mistakes. Sometimes they won't know the reason they are behaving in a certain way. You don't have to explain their every move.
Rant over, I now realize this was for me. I have victimized myself.