Translation to the Page

It’s always something about real life that doesn’t translate well to the page. Ever tried translating an actual conversation word for word? How about giving someone a blow-by-blow of something that happened?

Readers don’t want all the details. There is a point where you have to speed things up to make it – or keep it – interesting.

On the phone with someone you know, you ask about others to be polite or because you’re interested. In a story, your reader is going to wonder what the heck is up with Aunt Edna. If it doesn’t advance the plot, it shouldn’t be included.

Sometimes writers get so caught up in the characters, we see the whole thing about Aunt Edna, but we forget that it isn’t part of the story where Judy meets Robert and they save a dragon from the hunters.

I’m sure it’d be different if we needed Aunt Edna starting in Chapter 7 with a hideout or some other plot device. Always a good thing to check for during a rewrite to see if some of those things run away with you. They always seem to run away with me in the first draft(s).

A Question of Character

Do you know what makes some characters memorable and some not?

Everyone seems to be looking for character-oriented stories. It’s about being memorable, getting the reader to identify, and having a unique voice. Sounds easy when you state it that way, doesn’t it?

But some characters grab us from the first page and don’t let go. Something is the missing link – the part that really hooks a reader. There are actually four types of stories out there – Milieu, Idea, and Event often take the backstage with publishers.

I suppose it makes sense. When we discuss stories, we talk about the characters. We look into the minds of the characters when we read. As readers, we talk about who’s interesting, what’s happening, and sometimes why.

As an author, I struggle to show my characters as well on paper as I see them in my head. I do notice the more I like my characters the worse I make it for them. Poor characters… Not really. As important as the characters are, there must be a plot, and nothing drives a plot like the conflict of giving them such trouble.