Posts Tagged ‘showing and telling’

The mystery of character

I’ve been thinking about characterization today, and how often our protagonist just does not engage emotionally–no matter how hard we try!

Writing classes go on at length about characterization, and much of it is helpful, but doesn’t sink  the put. For example, we’re told to create a hero the reader can root for; to make clear the stakes for the hero; to make him/her fiercely desire or fear the thing at stake. The list of advice goes on endlessly. I was recently coached to lay bare my hero’s emotions. Let it all hang out. Don’t hold back.

But today I’m feeling stubborn. I’m gonna hold back, so there. I’m going to hang out this proposition:

Suppose the missing ingredient to make characters “work” is not how much we show or tell, but what is withheld? Read More…