Friday, July 31, 2009

Be Careful What You Say

“The trick is to realize the reader always learns more about the character offering the description [via dialog] than about the character (or object) being described.” -- Bret Anthony Johnson in “Character Study: 5 Ways to Flesh Out Your Story’s Protagonists, Warts and All.” [The Writer’s Guide to Fiction published by The Writer Magazine, 2007]
In the current story I’m working on, the narrator is a son talking about his father. It dawned on me after the first draft, that the reader learns as much about the son (or according to today’s quote more) as the father by what the son chooses to share with the reader about his dad. I thought I was describing the father! This is true for the entire story, not just the dialog. I’m going to reread some of my favorite stories to see what I learn about the characters from what they say and think that I may have missed before.

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