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Our October Author Interviews--10/4 Wendy Tyson, 10/11 Marilyn Levinson, 10/18 Earl Javorski, 10/25 Linda Lovely. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.
October Saturday Guest Bloggers: 10/7 Mark Bacon, 10/14 Elaine Orr, 10/21 WWK's Margaret S. Hamilton, 10/28 Kait Carson, and E. B. Davis 10/31 to fill out our fifth Tuesday.
WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla! Look for Carla's blog this month to find out the winner.
Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:
Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.
Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.
In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.
Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
How Sharp a Fictional Character?
Because I saw an eagle yesterday, I could speculate that the eagle I hear—but don’t see—is not fully mature, its head and tail lacking the telltale white. I could ruminate about how the process typically starts with a first white feather at around age three and takes two to four years to complete, when the head and tail are completely white.
Or I could simply tell you ducks are quacking on the lake and that I feel the air pressure increase with each wing beat as the unseen eagle flies overhead. You would probably picture a mallard for the duck and a mature bald eagle with snow white head and tail.
Does it matter if you picture the wrong kind of duck or eagle, and does the answer change if we’re talking about people instead of wildlife?
Yes, No and Maybe—at least by my preferences.
If it is really important for the reader to understand what the POV character is seeing, then by all means provide as much detail as possible. If the animal sets the stage, defines the location, then give enough specifics so an astute reader can place the action. If the ducks and eagle are an aside and their description may delay the action of the scene, then who cares if mergansers have webbed feet?
For me, the same is true for human characters. I like a broad brush that allows me to fill in my own details—to make my own picture of the character, even for the main characters. I get bored quickly and skip ahead when each new character is painted with a paragraph of detail. Give me a trait or two; I’ll do the rest. When I am jogging people’s memory about who I am, I often refer to myself as “the tall bald guy with the beard and ponytail.” Invariably, that is enough. If I were to try to disguise myself, all I need to do is wrap my ponytail over my head like a squirrel in the rain and cover my pate with a wig. No more Jim Jackson.
For minor characters, all I need when reading is enough to keep them straight. For a main character, feel free to work in a few pertinent facts along the way to help me fill out their picture, but heaven forbid you give them a feature totally conflicting with my personal projection of the character. If you do that, I might abandon your book right there and choose something else to read.
Needless to say, I don’t spend much of my leisure time reading Thomas Hardy and his ilk. What I’ve described is my preference in reading (and writing). What about you?