Friday, December 19, 2008

Make It Real, Be Specific

"Be specific in your writing. The more specific the detail, the more real the story will seem to the reader." James A Janke in Creative Writing Tips
This is something that sounds easy; but I miss opportunities to be more specific in my writing all the time, especially in early drafts. I’ll have a character drive a car, instead of a rusted Ford Escort. Writing the character drives a car is easier. To be more specific means I have to think about what kind of vehicle my character drives and why. I suppose a character’s name might give me a clue. In one story, I determined what the man drove based on how he dressed. His overalls, flannel shirt and mud-caked boots seemed appropriate for someone who drove a Dodge Ram pickup. But what if he drives a BMW or Mercedes? This fact about the character shows the reader an unexpected dimension. Of course, I can’t simply put him in a fancy car and move on. As I stated earlier, I need to know why in case this is important at some point in the story.

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